How did blueOriginals come about?
The idea came about following the NIT tournament loss to The University of Robert Morris and a lot of deep set disdain for Christian Laetner. It was a couple of months after that devastating moment in Kentucky basketball history while wearing my “I Still Hate Laetner” t-shirt when I had the idea to design something that reflected my more current mood which birthed the “I Hate Robert Morris” t-shirt. After several hours of what I call the University of YouTube, I purchased the cheapest manual screen printing press I could find and cranked out 50 pretty decent t-shirts. I gave them away to my friends and fellow wildcat fans, then a stranger stopped me during Thursday Night Live and asked to buy the shirt off my back. I declined but took his contact info and told him I’d get him one. Within 24 hours I had blueOriginals.com up and running and that guy was my first real customer.
Is blueOriginals a hobby or your full-time gig?
blueOriginals began as a late night hobby while I worked full time as a graphic designer specializing in product development. Soon those late nights became later and more important as designing and printing t-shirt was my true passion. Many locally inspired designs later and I began selling wholesale to a handful of boutique shops in the central Kentucky area. After about a year and a half of printing all night, working a demanding 8-5 and struggling to make deliveries on my lunch breaks, the opportunity presented itself to walk away from 13 years of corporate servitude. At this time I chose to pull everything I had out of my savings and open, blueOriginals Craft Tee Shirt Boutique, now located at 301 E. Vine Street in downtown Lexington (which just so happens to be the original home of The Market 301 hence the 301.) My life currently consists of being a stay at home dad Sunday-Tuesday while I personally run the boutique Wednesday-Saturday. Unfortunately the tiring late night print sessions have not subsided.
What is your short-term plan for blueOriginals?
The short-term plan for blueOriginals is simple: Keep our customers happy by giving them what they want while staying current and flexible with our product lineup. Continuing to stay true to being as local as possible by utilizing designs from local Kentucky artists as well as printing all of our products by hand right here in Lexington.
The future might even hold a second…or maybe even a third…boutique location. Kentuckian’s love to show their pride and blueOriginals is proud to support that cause!
What’s your favorite thing about Lexington?
The sense of community and inclusion among Lexington’s young and thriving entrepreneurial network and the target base…which feels more like family than customers would most definitely be my favorite thing about Lexington. Even while on the other side of the register I never feel like a customer, I’m just Tim and that goes a very long way with me and I try to make all of my customers feel that same way.
Where are you originally from?
My family is originally from Lexington and all seven (yes I said seven!) of my siblings were born right here in Lexington but I happen to be the odd ball that was born during the short stint of approximately six months when my father took a job in Louisville…but don’t tell anybody or I’ll be forced to deny it.
Are you married, have kids, dogs, cats?
I just recently celebrated my two year anniversary with my strikingly beautiful wife who’s given me the best two little man cubs that a guy could ever ask for. We have a very loud and territorial miniature Yorkie too who I am convinced he hates me…but that’s his loss, right?
Now most importantly…your Lexington favorites:
This is by far the hardest question to answer as Lexington is full of local gems that I really do not think I could live without!
But if forced to choose (which is totally an unfair question by the way) I have to go with Lexington Diner located at the corner of Short & Upper. Everything that Chef Ranada West-Riley works up in that beautifully creative brain of hers is nothing short of culinary perfection…from the delicious French toast options on the brunch menu to the wildly creative (and almost 100% locally sourced) lunch items.
I hope that coffee bar counts! A Cup of Commonwealth is by far, hands down my favorite. The warm and friendly atmosphere should be packaged and sold to all of the national chain coffee places. They can keep their baristas as all I need is Salvador! If you’ve never been I suggest the “Cold Brew”… just make sure you save room for a little cream & splenda …oh and a free hand to bring me one too.
Late night grub?
#eatwelldiehappy AKA The Gastro Gnomes and their sometimes elusive food truck. I never know what they’re serving as the menu is ever-changing but never disappointing. But that surprise menu is just part of what makes them one of my favorites. If only I find them parked outside of my house one night!
I cannot just pick one. It’s a tossup between Crank & Boom and North Lime Coffee & Donuts. Both have zero fear in being creative and trying flavor combinations that sometimes simply just do not make any logical sense whatsoever but that’s what takes them both from just being good to great in my opinion.