Last fall, while I was on the Tor Books Fall Flights of Fantasy tour, I brought along WordNerd t-shirts for my fellow authors Ilana C. Myer and Seth Dickenson (Geeks bearing gifts, get it?) and we got into all sorts of authorshaming shenanigans.
The velcro-emblazoned t-shirts with the interchangeable letters just kind of lend themselves to shenanigans, what can I say?
I’m so happy that the inventor of these shirts, the word-nerdy Gabrielle Miller and her family agreed to answer a bunch of questions about the Wordnerd’s shirts – which include children’s and adult sizes, as well as different color letter packs. Gabrielle’s also generously offered a free kid’s shirt and letter pack to GeekMom readers at the end – so stick around! (Get it? Stick around?!! hahaha.)
GeekMom: Where did you get the idea for WORDNERD APPAREL?
Gabrielle Miller: T-shirts on the market are hilarious, but to buy them all would be expensive. I kept thinking that someone is going to make them–but then no one did. Now we are. We decided to use hook and loop to bring the best to the world of customizable apparel. We started with our own shirts and got so much positive feedback we researched and decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge. It’s been madness ever since! Pure wordy nerdy madness.
GeekMom: What are some of your favorite sightings & things you’ve seen happen with the shirts?
Gabrielle: People are so clever! We love seeing how people use them: wedding parties, honeymoons, birthdays, etc. are all fun to see. The Helen Kate Furness Library uses them for their new “First Line Fridays”. They wear a Wordnerd with the first line of a book written on it and post on Facebook. They ask people to guess the book. Awesome! I saw one kid wearing one and his said “Mondays + Mornings = :(” Loved it! When people start brainstorming about how they want to use it, it’s like a magic spark goes off. Superb.
Of course, my ultimate favorite shirt was Greg’s when we went to the Shark Tank Philly audition. His shirt was a tribute to Daymond John, Founder of FUBU. FUBU can mean “For Us By Us”. Greg wrote “For You By You”. I thought it was brilliant, but I am quite biased about my spouse’s cleverness…
GeekMom: Tell us a little about a typical day at WORDNERD APPAREL?
Gabrielle: Well, I wish it was more glamorous but alas it’s RISE AND GRIND! We fulfill orders and answer a lot of questions online. Our shirts do better in person–they are soft and so comfortable. We have been fortunate recently getting some special orders and trying to find ways to use our letter packs and shirts to help foster literacy and creativity.
Being an entrepreneur is extremely gratifying, especially when you truly believe in your product, like we do. But every day is a challenge. Two steps forward, one step back. Your mind is constantly shifting ideas around…we aspire to inspire.
GeekMom: You have a really cool studio: How does it inspire you?
Gabrielle: I live in a 100-year old library, so it’s amazing to be surrounded by three stories of books! I have lots of books on linguistics and boxes full of things that have inspired me throughout my life. If my kids are home, they always inspire me. They love to read and it warms my heart. I know that words matter.
GeekMom: Geek or Nerd?
Gabrielle: Nerds, nerds, nerds, nerds…
GeekMom: You give part of your profits to local libraries. Why?
Gabrielle: We believe in the power of words! We have so much gratitude to our local library for inspiring and encouraging a love of books in our kids, we know others feel the same about their libraries! For Wordnerd, the literacy component is a strong part of why we started the company. Getting kids excited about language and expression is the real gift.
GeekMom: What is one piece of advice you’d give to your kids?
Gabrielle: Just one?? Ok. Be yourself. It’s the lesson our son got out of the new Star Wars movie. He thought it’s main message was to be who you really are. Not who people think you are. Good message!
GeekMom: What is one piece of advice they’d give to you?
Scarlett: She heard it on the announcements at school: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” MLK
Hudson: Just get Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg or Taylor Swift to wear a shirt…then everyone will see a Wordnerd and want one!
GeekMom: What’s the future look like for WORDNERD?
Gabrielle: It’s so exciting to think about…we would love to see the spirit of Wordnerd catch on. There are so many clever and fun ways to use our apparel, we know we have only just begun to realize them. People are so incredibly unique, and we hope to see Wordnerd help start the clothing revolution! Viva La Nerd!
So, to sum up: one shirt, many letters, lots of fun! Thanks so much to Gabrielle for joining us!