Consider this article a wake-up call. Stand up, stretch a bit, take a deep breath, and read the following lines out loud, wherever you currently may be. Because Thomas and Thomas from the fashion label YYY – a homegrown company printing shirts and bags from 100 % bio cotton- are a darn good example for young Viennese entrepreneurship.
Take two young, open-minded and intelligent guys with a knack for photography, design, web design, and a conscience for the environment. Have them spend days, weeks, months together, talking the whole time of grand ideas, not so grand ideas, having a laugh, the obligatory banter of bullshit that comes with any mates conversation. Give or take 3 eggs and a bit of flour and there you have it – you’ve got the recipe for YYY.
“We were at the gym one day, just chatting, and we both stumbled upon the phrase ‘Schau ma mal’ (Let’s wait and see – an expression of the laid-back Viennese attitude),” says Thomas.
“We immediately realised that are so many similar phrases or words in the Viennese dialect that have a certain aura about them. Printing them on t-shirts seemed like a cool idea, so we started researching both the words and the materials for the business.”
That was in February 2014. Only one month later, they had over 200 potential lines for their shirts, the first designs were ready and the suppliers for t-shirts made from 100 % certified bio cotton sourced. Sounds like the work of a large team that works double-shifts, night and day in a overheated factory in Bangladesh, doesn’t it? Far from it.
Thomas and Thomas still do everything on their own – from programming and designing their website, taking their own photography, down to dedicating a little poem or song text to each t-shirt they create.
“We even mastered the graphic program Illustrator and now consider ourselves half-pros”, Thomas laughs.
They do this all while finishing the last semester of their university studies, working full-time, and taking care of their social surroundings, of course.
One thing that has been consistent from the beginning is that when it comes to finding the next artwork, they rely heavily on their friends and family. Or as Thomas puts it:
“All new designs have to be first approved by people we trust.”
So are they making millions already? “That’s the plan for 2015,” they both say with a smirk.
At the moment, they’re producing their shirts and bags just in time, meaning that as soon as there are enough orders, there’s a new batch in the making.
“The badges are still small, but we’ve only started business a mere three months ago, so the last thing we’ll do is complain.”
But according to the thomaseses, this business’ success is measured not by wealth, yet rather by the laughs it generates and the statement it makes.
“The first and foremost thing we want to achieve with YYY is to have fun.”
“We care greatly about the environment, and thinking responsibly and sustainably will become more and more important. As long as we can work on this with passion, love and laughter, we’ll consider this business successful.”