a blog by sam christie. former home of "12 Months of Stuff"

Category: March

March’s Truth Tee Wrap Up: I…failed?

March. Stuff. Truth Tees. “Hand drawn t-shirts with meaning, with a % of the money given to charity”. All that sounds rad, right? Well, not enough people thought so. Chalk up the first “failure” in the 12MOS canon. 

As the end of March approached, I knew I had a long way to go. With two t-shirts sold, I needed 8 more to print so I kicked it into high gear. I took out Facebook ads, pinged bloggers, and tweaked the ads to get as many clicks as possible. But it wasn’t enough. I felt a little defeated, which explains the beginning-of-April hangover that will see me launching April’s project not on April Fool’s day (worst day of the year), but tomorrow instead.

A combination of work, personal, and extra-curricular hiccups lead me to trudge across the March finish line with my head down. But looking back, as I mentioned in my previous post, this may not be a failure at all.

Sure, I didn’t reach the goal I set for the project – “Sell enough t-shirts to print the Teespring campaign”. But 12 Months Of Stuff, at its core, is about doing stuff. And that, I did. So maybe this month wasn’t such a failure. 

I learned how to better manage a Facebook Ad Campaign on short notice. (Did I mention starting and finishing a project in 30 days is hard?)
I learned how to better market a Teespring campaign for optimum success.
I learned how to turn a scan of a drawing into a Photoshop file into an Illustrator file into a t-shirt. 
When I spin it that way, I got a lot done. 

“Comparison is the thief of joy” says Teddy Roosevelt, a quote I’ve heard before and have never been able to internalize. I’m constantly looking at super-successful people and comparing myself to them. “Why can’t I do that?” “What’s the real difference between me and them?” 

Then I listened to this episode of “Invisible Office Hours”, a podcast by Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis. In it, they explore how comparing yourself to others can sometimes be motivating, or hold you back. For me, it usually does the latter. After listening to this podcast, it finally clicked. Zook and Jarvis talk about what we all see—the results of hard work—as well as what it takes to get there—the process. When comparison is truly the thief of joy, we are comparing result to result. I didn’t print any t-shirts while sites like the Yetee and Threadless sell and print tons of shirts per day. But what about the process? How did they become so successful? I have no idea. 

But I realized, looking at my own process, I’m comfortable with where I’m at. The “result” of March’s tee campaign wasn’t just to sell shirts, it was to attempt to sell shirts. To do something. My process of weekly tasks, inspecting and adapting, and soaking up all of the knowledge I can gives me solace. A successful “12 Months of Stuff” isn’t twelve successful projects. It’s twelve attempts. Twelve times refining the process. Twelve chances to figure things out. Twelve blank slates to create whatever type of world I want. And so far, trusting in the process has been very fulfilling and worthwhile. So I’m going to keep it up and push on. The small psuedo-failures will be outweighed by the bigger picture. By the end of this year I’ll be closer to the person I want to be, even if it’s only twelve tiny steps closer.

Check back tomorrow for April’s stuff announcement. Thanks for the motivation, kind words of encouragement and support. 

In love & stuff,

Truth Tees Teespring campaign is almost over! + what I’ve done and learned

There’s only a few days left in the Teespring campaign for March’s stuff.

Truth Tees are hand drawn designs on t-shirts, with meaning, with a % of the $ going to charity., and this tee design reads “Maybe your nightmares are afraid of you”. I designed this to help empower people with mental health issues to take control and get better one day at a time.  I’ve paired this tee with Erika’s Lighthouse – a charity out of Winnetka, IL that “educates communities about teen depression,  eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and empower teens to take charge of their mental health.” With a little under 5 days to go, things aren’t looking so hot (which means it’s the perfect time for you to buy one!)

That said, I’m not giving up. It’s time to regroup a bit, look back at just how much I’ve done throughout this project, and some lessons learned.

Stuff I’ve done:
1. Designed the t-shirt
2. Launched the Teespring campaign
3. Reached out to bloggers about the campaign
4. Created Facebook ads for the campaign

And most importantly, here is what I’ve learned:
1. The more detailed your plan is, the better it’s gonna go…

Ad libbing aside, I’ve been doing 12 Months of Stuff for 3 months. It’s hard! Some of these projects are pretty involved, almost always more than I initially think. I know if I had 3-6 months to push this t-shirt campaign I would have hit the goal by now, but trying to break down a project into action items while also juggling life, a day job, and these updates has been tough. That said, I know if I get more detailed with my project plans I can hit the ground running and have a better chance at success.

2. Always ALWAYS have and keep a schedule.
When you block time for a task, there’s nothing to think about. You don’t get caught up in anything else, and it makes it easier to attack your to-do list when there’s a set time for everything. In straying from this, I find myself feeling like I have less time than I have, which leads to more stress, which leads to worse stuff overall. Not good! I noted how important this would be in month 2, and I mostly stuck to it then. I’ve trailed off on keeping a set schedule in this one and I think it’s time to get back on track for April’s stuff. 

3. Don’t be afraid to change on the fly!
Those Facebook ads I created plummeted performance-wise in the first day or so that they were running. I made a few tweaks and now the traffic is trending upward. It’s important to inspect & adapt and change once you realize something’s going wrong. It’s not that I didn’t anticipate the amount of work going into these monthly projects, but as I said before it’s pretty daunting to do something and do it well over 4 weeks. I’m making small tweaks where I can and going from there.

Regardless of how this campaign shakes out, I won’t consider this month a failure. The point of this year long journey is to do all of the things that I felt like I couldn’t do, or didn’t have time to do, and so far I am accomplishing that. I would love to have every project be fully polished and pristine, but the fact that I’m doing any of this stuff at all is success enough for me. I’m learning new things every week—things that are going to help me when I decide to expand on some of these monthly projects later

And there’s still time to hit the goal for this campaign! Buy your Truth Tee now at Remember, 25% of the profits are going to Erika’s Lighthouse. Watch the video below for more info including some more on the stuff I’ve done and lessons learned.

In love & stuff,

Truth Tees available now on Teespring! 25% of profits go to charity.

Available now at

Available now at

“Maybe your nightmares are afraid of you” reads this limited edition Truth Tee. I designed this t-shirt to empower people with mental health issues to take control of what they’re going through and get better one step at a time. If you change your perspective, sometimes you’ll notice that a “scary monster” is actually just protecting her child. 

Twenty five percent of the profits from this campaign will go to Erika’s Lighthouse, an Illinois charity whose mission is to educate communities about teen depression,  eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and empower teens to take charge of their mental health.”

You can snag this Truth Tee from now until March 30 at Watch the video below for more.

This drawing and saying means a lot to me and hopefully it will help someone else out there who may be going through some difficult times. 

In love and stuff,

I’m Selling T-Shirts And Giving $ To Charity For March’s Stuff

I’m super excited to announce that March’s project is Truth Tees – Meaningful, hand drawn designs on t-shirts, with a % of profits going to charity. 

Truth Tees started as a ridiculous idea between friends. I took it and ran with it in 2008, making a made-to-order t-shirt storefront through Spreadshirt. The designs focused mostly on typography, and finishing the phrase “The Truth Is…”. I’m bringing back the brand for this (currently) one-off run with a hand drawn look, and designs that have a bit more meaning. I‘m going to run a 2 week Teespring campaign at the end of March. (That basically means if I don’t sell a set amount of shirts before the campaign is over, then they don’t get printed.) 

Last week I posted a song explanation for “Get Over It” — the closer on my Young Professionals split EPwhich deals with mental health issues, how people perceive them, and how people experience them. The design I created (which you can get a peek at in the video below) deals with feeling empowered to take control of your mental health issues instead of them taking control of you.

The most exciting part of this for me is that I found a truly awesome non-profit in the Chicago area to pair this design with. Erika’s Lighthouse. Their mission is to educate communities about teen depression,  eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and empower teens to take charge of their mental health.” Super cool. Super necessary. Super important. Not only do they have programs to help teens get through their mental health issues, they also have programs to educate parents and friends on mental health issues too! 

I’m going to try to get in touch with them directly to work closer with them on this campaign. But regardless of how that shakes out, if this campaign succeeds they are the ‘charity in residence’ (not an official term) so to speak, for this run of Truth Tees.

For the first two weeks of March, I’m going to focus on planning and trying to make sure the campaign gets off on the right foot. For the last two, I’ll run and promote the campaign. Stay tuned to the blog or my YouTube channel for more info soon.

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