Moodie Tuesday creative director Jon Thom with some of his
designer T-shirts. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Jon Thom has gone from selling T-shirts from the bedroom
of his Dunedin flat to seeing his designs worn by the likes of
model and television host Colin Mathura-Jeffree.
What was once a small side project for a university student
has become a much more serious business called Moodie
Mr Thom (22) started exhibiting his art while at Dunstan High
School in Alexandra. He was an Otago Daily Times Class Act
recipient in 2008.
It then got to a point where his friends could not afford his
art, yet he still wanted them to be part of it.
He had always been interested in fashion, although he
candidly admitted he knew nothing about it, nor did he know
how to sew, but he started doing some research.
In his second year studying at the University of Otago, he
started printing T-shirts featuring his art, selling them
from his flat.
The business kept building and at the beginning of last year
he decided to take it seriously. To do that, he needed a
business partner. Chris Brun, with whom he grew up and went
through school, became involved.
Mr Brun was now business director, while Mr Thom was creative
director. Josh Jeffrey had also recently been brought on
board to do some strategy work and build a new website.
Last year, it had been ''full noise'' for Moodie Tuesday.
''I just put pretty much everything on the line. I decided
this is what I wanted to do.''
Not that it had been very easy, but he was grateful for the
support of his family.
Moodie Tuesday signed to a public relations company in
Auckland, which was helping generate exposure for the label.
Model and television host Colin Mathura-Jeffree wore a Moodie
Tuesday T-shirt to the opening of New Zealand Fashion Week,
while Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce had been spotted on the TV3
show Jono and Ben At Ten wearing them.
Mr Thom still got ''goose bumps'' being able to ''create
something from nothing'' and then see people choosing to wear
what his company designed.
The company was focusing on online sales, building a brand
and building the customer experience.
Each T-shirt was dispatched, wrapped in tissue paper, in a
small pizza box and sprayed with cologne, complete with
message and a signed print.
''We're trying to emphasise that craft aspect and trying to
change experiences people have of buying online, make it ...
more personal. I don't like being sent stuff in a plastic
bag, like a machine's done it,'' Mr Thom said.
He was inspired by listening to a lot of music - ''if I
wasn't an artist, I'd probably like to be a musician'' - and
he also spent a lot of time on the internet looking at blogs
and also just sitting ''watching people go by''.
''I think I have quite a good eye for detail,'' he said.
The T-shirts were limited edition, with only 20 of each
design, so they were ''pretty sought after''.
''You are essentially a walking billboard wearing a T-shirt.
They communicate a lot about yourself to others,'' he said.
The T-shirts also made art accessible to people who might not
otherwise be able to afford it, he said.
Mr Thom, who had always wanted to have his own business, said
the aim was to keep growing Moodie Tuesday.
They hoped to get a strong basics range together and might
look at bringing in a sub-brand. They could eventually do
pop-up stores within bigger shops, both throughout New
Zealand and the world.
Ideally, in 10 years' time, Moodie Tuesday would be a label
that was known globally.
''That'd be quite cool, I think.''
This year, he was looking forward to Moodie Tuesday being
shown at iD Dunedin Fashion Week and also to several
exhibitions of his art, including one in Melbourne.