Yummiewear was born when I participated in my first fitness competition. It was 10 grueling weeks of training, and my diet was reduced to grilled chicken and steamed broccoli. Though this diet is the nature of the game, I struggled with satisfying my raging sweet tooth and burger cravings! I pretty quickly began to lose steam. One day after an innocent slip up and a chocolate muffin, a chocolate bar and a slice of pizza later, I realized my diet was anything but balanced, and in fact what would have added sustainability was the very foods I had to stay away from. This epiphany led to the birth of Yummiewear. Now, I work with my sister Martina, who is the artist of all the designs, to create t-shirts that positively celebrate the very foods that are typically seen as the antithesis of any diet. Each t-shirt represents an even broader message; that anyone who is working towards a goal needs to embrace balance as part of the journey.
As a junk food-themed brand, we are definitely inspired by comfort food! We use our taste buds to guide us first, and then we ask ourselves “would this food look yummy on a tee?” There are many foods that are delicious, but they look unappetizing when they are drawn out. For example, chicken wings are delicious, but putting them on a t-shirt just doesn’t fit with our brand aesthetic. Certain colors definitely inspire us more than others. We love to draw foods that have fun, bright and complementing colors; we want them to elicit yumminess as well! Finally, we are inspired by pop culture and past trends. When drawing our designs, our artist Martina always tries to find a way to transform a comfort food into something that is beyond the food itself. This season, for instance, we have a ‘pizza record’ shirt coming out. It’s a pizza on a turntable with a backdrop of 90’s geometry art. We find that transforming our foods into something fantastical adds a little element of unexpectedness that keeps our customers guessing.
Our brand identity starts with our shirts. We make sure that all of our shirts are super soft - the idea behind this is that we want our shirts to feel as delicious as the food they represent. We also keep our color palette light and bright to ensure the appearance of tastiness. To further drive home our food theme, we feature "nutrition labels" on the inside of our tees that describe the material and origin of our shirts in a fun and sassy way.
Pro tip: Sustainability can often feel like a dense topic for consumers. Explaining it in a quirky and memorable way like Yummiewear makes product information much easier to digest (pun intended!) and also feeds back into your brand identity. You can read more about sustainable branding on our blog!
The final element of our brand identity is our packaging, and this may, in fact, be the most important part. We brand every element of our packaging with our logo and colors. We wrap each shirt in our beautiful bubblegum pink noissue tissue paper, which features outlines of our designs with snippets of customer reviews collaged across the entire paper. Our tissue paper is then sealed with a customized sticker that has our logo on it, and we ship the whole presentation in our branded poly bags. Our goal is to make everything from the t-shirt to the packaging look yummy!
Our mantra is balance over sacrifice. From our experience, we've learned that we can achieve our goals without depriving ourselves of the things that make us happy. In my personal experience, caving in and having my ‘cheat day’ didn't hinder my success; in fact, it made me mentally stronger. I even went on to win that competition! In the end, it all boils down to moderation with all things, not just food. We see instances of this in our day to day lives. For example, when you are studying for an exam it’s is a great idea to take a break, or when you are trying to save money you can still buy yourself something nice but perhaps less often.
When it comes to our business, we work very hard every day to make our dream a reality, but we also know to turn off to recharge and gather new inspiration. We thrive on inspiration and creativity, so this balance is essential to our success. Sustainability for us means sourcing as locally as possible. All of our t-shirts are printed in our home state of New Jersey. Having our printer close to us has been a key ingredient in our business, because we are able to have a face to face relationship. This face to face relationship helps us to communicate with our printer on how we can improve our product and process. We also have a better understanding of what goes into printing each of our shirts and thus we are able to make good decisions. Just recently, we have been working on an illustration with the help of our printer that will allow us to use less ink on a t-shirt by using the color of the shirt itself as part of the design.
When it comes to the shirts themselves, we source them from a manufacturer in California that abides by and maintains the state’s highest standards of eco-friendliness. Their dyeing process allows them to use 7 times less water than competitors, saving 24 gallons of water a week. They also ensure that none of the water is getting dumped back into rivers and oceans. We believe it’s important to partner with businesses who are conscientious and efficient. Not only is there conservation at play, but there is a lot of creativity in working smarter and better.
We chose noissue because of the ease of designing our custom tissue paper. In fact, we can go as far as saying that they really inspired us to create tissue paper in the first place because they made it so accessible. noissue also has a fun and playful vibe which we feel akin to, and we find that partnering with like-minded companies can inspire you in ways you may not otherwise have thought of. In our case, noissue not only helped us create the actual tissue paper. They also helped with the brainstorming process by featuring a beautiful inspo library on Instagram of what other brands are doing with their custom tissue paper.
Finally, using noissue’s custom packaging has helped us slip in an unexpected artwork into our delivery process! The tissue paper is an extension of our line, just like the art that is our shirts. Our customers absolutely love it! Many have told us that they hold onto the tissue paper, and others have said that receiving our order is that much more enjoyable.