Well, this is how it all went down…

2006: It began with an idea that art should be affordable and visible to all. Using t-shirts as our canvas and ink as our medium, I created Alternative Motive. The name is a positive play on ulterior motive. This new t-shirt company was to be different. Not only was this to be a hip new designer t-shirt line based out of Cincinnati, OH, but there was to be an underlying alternative motive behind the shirts and the company itself. Our “Good conscious company”, as we coined it, was to among other things, be eco-conscious, positive and to embrace philanthropy. Our first line of t-shirts was called the Choose Your Belief series. Each shirt contained the text “I Believe in”, and below it, included a graphical/typographical representation of the chosen belief. There were three designs of the initial Choose Your Belief series, Cincinnati, Cure (Breast Cancer), and the Environment (still one of my favorites.

We were chosen to be a part of the Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure by selling our original “I Believe in a Cure” t-shirts. They were a huge hit, and we felt a strong since of accomplishment for supporting Komen and Cancer survivors financially and mentally with our shirts that celebrated triumph over one of the most prevalent of Cancers.

Initially, each design had a non-profite that we partnered up with to donate a portion of each t-shirts sale back to. Word spread fast as to what we were doing and how the company was handling its business, and within 3 months of starting the company, MTV asked if they could feature our shirts on it’s show called The Big Ten. Here’s a clip of that show for your viewing pleasure;)

Now, although the opportunity may have come a little premature for us to take full advantage of, it did however give us a launching pad to promote Alternative Motive and it’s (very small) product line. We continued to be frustrated by our online presence and grew tired of sitting around at Cincinnati’s Findlay Market peddling t-shirts every Saturday.

2007: Sales were slower than expected, but I think our lack of designs most likely had something to do with that:). Our one year anniversary party, at owner Logan Wallace’s house in beautiful Price Hill (that’s Cincinnati sarcasm) was a success. We celebrated with an ugliest t-shirt contest, music and adult beverages. With a growing number of local wholesale customers and positive newspaper and magazine press, there was a growing optimism that maybe we were on to something, with our sub-par, incredibly basic t-shirt designs! We can’t thank our dedicated Cincinnati supporters enough.

2008: This is the year that our most striking and popular design was produced. The Cincinnati, OH dot design. The idea was a combination of an admiration of the simplicity of Alexander Calder and Charlie Harper (the artist), combined with a spin on a map’s “You are here” visual aide. More importantly, we wanted a design that would stand out, insight curiosity and most importantly, promote our awesome city of Cincinnati, OH. We wanted to, “Let the cotton speak”, instead of typing out I heart OH.

2009: The summer of 2009 brought about Cincinnati’s first T-shirt Festival on it’s beautiful Fountain Square in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. Their were only a few vendors for the inaugural festival, however, it was a blast and attendance and sales were great! We released our Who’s Your Nati t-shirt at the 2009 festival.

It was in the late fall of 2009, that Alternative Motive was contacted again by MTV to be a featured sponsor of it’s independent music awards, called The Woodie Awards. The East Side and West Side designs were produced with it’s “Together we are independent” tagline on the back, and over 200 of them were included in celebrity, presenter and performer swag bags. It was an awesome night filled with killer music and shots of Honey Bourbon that we snuck in inside our underwear and socks. Ahhh, memories…

2010: We simplified our philanthropic efforts by joining 1% For The Planet along-side the founder of Patagonia, Jack Johnson and many others. Cincinnati’s T-shirt Fest was bigger and better, and our wholesale account list was up to 8 local shops, including our first three: Mustard Seed Boutique, Park + Vine and Kismet. Our Website was on to it’s second makeover, and we really began to work with local Cincinnati clients to design and print custom t-shirts that didn’t suck! Our bulk printing focused on quality and service over quantity and price. However, we soon found that we were one of the least expensive t-shirt printers in town!

2011 – The year of the Events: This was the year that our marketing and sales efforts were focused on participation in events. In addition to another fantastic T-shirt Festival, we also participated in Cincinnati’s new City FleaThe Crafty Supermarket and Cincinnati’s Beer Fest, in which we designed, produced and sold the official 2011 Beer Fest t-shirts. Funny story though, on the morning of the Beer Fest load in, my wife went into labor with our first child, Burke Robert Wallace. I’ll take that experience over Beer Fest any day!

Our wholesale client list was now at 10 local Cincinnati retailers. Oh boy! During October of 2011, we transitioned into a new brand/apparel line/website called City State Tees. We took the recommendation of many customers and based on our top-selling t-shirt design, Natiland (Ohio dot design), and expanded our line to eventually include all major cities in the United States. Additionally, we also offer a small line of some of our old designs and random funny designs called Randomositees.

We finally had our focus or niche, and it would not have been possible without the help of Spreadshirt and their incredible software, printing services and customer service support for our online retail shop site, CityStateTees.com.

2012 – The Official Launch of City State Tees and Cincinnati Custom T-shirts and Apparel: It’s a constant evolvement that requires constant design and updates, but we now have the ability to offer designs for any city and any state. Now, anyone can promote their city and state with an awesome t-shirt in the color and style of their choice from City State Tees. Maybe you’re not feeling the City State thing, or you are looking to create your own t-shirt design for a gift or for yourself. We now have our own online custom t-shirt designer, where you can choose the design, it’s location, apparel item and it’s color, customize it with text, or even upload your own picture, logo or design to be printed on a t-shirt or apparel item of your choice.

Our new site, combined with the new branding and custom t-shirt designer, gives City State Tees the kick in the ass it needed. It may have taken 6 years to realize it, but we’re now seeing the true potential Alternative Motive began back in 2006. With the Midwest and Cincinnati as it’s hub, we plan to be represented at retail shops in most major cities soon.

Additionally, we also launched our Cincinnati Custom T-shirts and Apparel website. It’s not only full of silk screening and garment printing industry news and information, it also hosts pricing and contact information for our wholesale and bulk printing services for our Cincinnati custom printing services. You can also check out the custom t-shirt designer there as well. We also offer logo and graphic design, vectorization and consultation services. Personally, I love helping customers create shirts that are as graphically eye-catching as the shirts are comfortable. Gone are the days of stiff, boxy-fitted, itchy white promotional shirts. It’s all about creating an affordable product that people will want to wear time and again and will also in turn give you the best return on your investment.

None of this could have happened without the incredible support of my wife, Christie. Although she may doubt me a little bit from time to time, she has been there from the beginning to ground me when I voice crazy and outlandish ideas, consult me on color and styles, be my critic on designs and be my partner at events. She is mine and this company’s backbone. Thank you my wonderful and beautiful wife of 7 fantastic years.

Logan C. Wallace