Questions Diane Sawyer Might Ask Me

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Diane Sawyer: Why did your brain choose vintage t-shirts over other more “well-known” items to sell to make money like cars, diamonds, insurance, real estate or rare mid-century shrunken heads?

Chris: I can relate it to being a kid in the baseball card store in the late 80s or early 90s. Back then, I went into a store called “C&C Cards” and spent my hard-earned “crabgrass-pullin” money on wax pack after wax pack trying to get the last three or four players to complete a set. Flipping through endless racks of old t-shirts in someones closet and finding a deadstock Screen Stars t-shirt is equivalent to the rush I’d feel as a kid when I’d find a player I liked amongst the sea of other faces. 

Ancient photo of Chris obsessing over his baseball card collection

Ancient photo of Chris obsessing over his baseball card collection

DS: So, why would you want to suffer sifting through endless mounds of old t-shirts only to find a few nice vintage tees and subsequently sit on them until the right buyer comes along 10 months later?

C:  I guess because it’s just something I love doing. Its fun to see what I might come up with next. I honestly can’t come up with a better explanation than that. Call me odd or call me quirky but I think Joss Whedon said it best when he said, “Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.”

DS: What are your plans for the future of your business and can you please stop picking your nose for the remainder of this interview?

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C:  My bad. I forget where I am sometimes. I don’t even know if I know exactly. I just wanna get out there, get down in the trenches and find some rare, different, eclectic, eccentric, esoteric vintage t-shirts and document it. After that, I’m waiting for a sign.

DS: A sign? What do you mean by that?

C:  I don’t mean a voice from the heavens or getting struck by lightning or anything like that. Its more of like a feeling. A feeling that it’s time to move forward to plan B.

DS: Okay. So what’s “Plan B?”

C:  Plan B is everything that happens right after Plan A. Duh.

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DS: Alright, seriously. Quit fucking around with me and get to the point.

C: Has anyone ever said to you, “Welp. On to plan B!” after something goes wrong? There’s nothing they can do to go back and change what happened in plan A, so they move on to plan B. That’s kinda like life! Life is a continual game of rolling with the punches and moving on to plan B. 

DS: What’s that gotta do with Jesus?

C: What? I never said anything about Jesus?

DS: Well, it’s in your name: “Holy Idea Tees”.

C: No. No it’s not.

DS: Okay, so its implied.

C:  “Holy” doesn’t imply Jesus. It implies that I promised my personal God I would give back 10% of what I make from the business if I could work from home and support my beautiful wife and child and be present more in our family than if I worked a 8-5. The name stems from that promise.

DS: I guess that’s commendable. Lets see if you can keep it up.

C: By the way, just because the word “Holy” is in my name doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a Christian. I could be a Buddhist or Hindu and still be holy, right?

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DS: You are correct, but you live in Oklahoma and were raised Catholic. Common knowledge wouldn’t lead me to believe you were either Buddhist or Hindu.

C: Whatever. All I’m trying to say is don’t pigeon-hole me because of my name. To me, being “holy” is more than just being pious. It means doing right by one another, doing good business and just not being a dick. 

DS: Speaking of dicks, you have been known to dish out some cuss words from time to time. Isn’t that being a little “unholy”?

C: I’ll be the first to tell you I’m a hypocrite. Bad language is probably the least of my issues. Quite frankly, we’re all hypocritical to different degrees. I don’t want “Holy Idea Tees” to be a business that puts itself on a pedestal but one that operates on what my heart and soul is telling me to do and sometimes that involves the human aspect of cussing, doubt, worry, flatulence, etc. I want this business to not only involve helping myself, but others as well. Thus the word “holy” in its title name.

DS: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 15 years?

C: Well, The vintage t-shirt industry has been around a while and has a few big names. In five years, I want to be one of those names. In ten years, I want to be the biggest name. In fifteen years, I’m going to be 50 and I figure I’ll retire with my hot wife to the Bahamas or something like that. With all that being said, I just want to be happy. Like I said earlier, I still wake up every day to Plan B and continue following the signs.

DS: Okay, well we really need to wrap this up because I have to interview the president in about 30 minutes. Any final thoughts?

C: I’ve got a lot of really cool old t-shirts. I would encourage anyone who likes to flip through t-shirts to browse my obsessively categorized store in eBay or follow me for daily interests or funny/cool shit on Instagram or Facebook.

DS: Chad, it’s been a pleasure.

C: It’s Chris

DS: Oh, right. That’s what I meant. HA!

C: Oh HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Diane, the pleasure is all mine.

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That Moment When You Realize Why You Named Your Business “Holy Idea Tees”

When I took the plunge to self-employment, I made a commitment to my friend: the God of the Universe, that I would tithe and/or donate a portion of my profits. I did not, however, make a solid commitment to any one particular group or person. I decided I wanted the decision to donate to be made for me via an overwhelming sense of (said in deep booming voice) “You should give this person or place money… NOW!! THEY NEED IT RIGHT NOW!!”

I told my buddy God several times over the course of self-employment that I would like to have revelations on where to distribute my tithes and donations. But, aside from filling the palms of a few homeless folks, there hadn’t really been one moment where I said to my brain, “I think the God of the Universe had something to do with this.”

Until last week.

I was on my way to mail a giant, antique barometer I’d sold on eBay for my dad. It required me to go to a speciality mail store to purchase bubble wrap and packing materials to preserve it on the journey to meet its new owner in New York.

On the car ride to the store, I was having a one-way (that’s usually the way it is) conversation with my main homey God. Now, I like to continually thank God for what he’s done for me. Some may call it “praying” but to me its just having a conversation in my brain. Something like:

“Hey God, thanks for my life. Its pretty awesome.”

Or:

“Hey God, thank you for giving someone the idea for Reese’s Pieces.”

Or:

“Hey! What up God? You know, I really appreciate the fact that all my organs are still functioning properly.”

Or something along those lines. At this moment though, I asked for some clarity on what to do with the tithe money that was burning a hole in my pocket. I didn’t like holding on to it and I was worrying (something I do quite a lot) I may be missing my “cues” to donate.

Upon arriving to the mail store, I used my rippling muscles to carry this giant barometer inside and told the girl behind the counter what needed to be done. She wrapped it with bubble wrap and I strategically placed wrapping materials around everything to keep the barometer safe.

Now, I’m an introvert. I don’t dislike talking to people, but I certainly don’t go out of my way to encourage it. To my initial dismay, this girl started asking me questions about the barometer which meant I had to talk. After a few minutes of this talking which I so initially dismayed over, she shared with me about her friend’s three-month-old baby who had just died the previous night from SIDS. She was desperate to leave work to be with her and the empty look behind her eyes I hadn’t noticed earlier suddenly revealed itself to me.

This devastated me. I couldn’t imagine losing a child. I suffered through depression in my daughters early years partly as a result of an overactive brain with a tendency to imagine horrible, gut-wrenching things.

“I want to help!” I thought, “But I didn’t know these people!? They don’t know me how can I….

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*BING*

I quickly remembered the request I had made to the Master of the Universe (No, not He-Man) only a few minutes earlier. Perhaps engaging with people more often would reveal more opportunities to show grace as I feel I have been shown by my God in my lifetime. Could this perhaps be the “Holy Idea” behind “Holy Idea Tees”?

Yes. Indeed, I think it is.

The girl had inquired to me about PayPal as a source to accept donations for the family. I guided her on how to do so and requested her to email me once the fund was set up and I would donate. A few hours later, that tithe that was burning a hole in my “pocket” was now with someone who needed it far worse than I did. Granted, it is but a small consolation to losing a child but I feel there was a reason behind it and the fact I could touch their lives with some grace amongst so much grief was really special to me.

When I became self-employed, I didn’t have overwhelming confidence in myself. I wasn’t sure that selling t-shirts on eBay was a legitimate career! I can sit here now though and begin to realize that a guy like me can quit his job to sell t-shirts on eBay and actually make a legitimate business out of it. The excitement behind these words stretches far beyond monetary gain however. I feel as though there is a purpose behind what I do. I revel in anticipation to discover who I may be able to bless with my tithe in the future. 

“Thank you God for revealing to me why I am doing what I’m doing. Oh… and thanks for my wives boobs. Boobs are cool. Good job God.”

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If you’d like to donate to the family who lost the baby then click right here.