Twenty years ago, best friends Joni Hruska Fichter and Heather Brook reunited in Okinawa, Japan where Heather’s husband was stationed. For two weeks, the girls went site seeing, exploring, and shopping in the Far East. While on that trip, they had tux shirts with a twist made for their husbands.
The shirts were the hit of the weddings, parties, and other events they attended in the mid 1990s but then the shirts hung in the men’s closets for over a decade until their teenage sons found them and once again began wearing them to parties, cotillions, and proms.
Upon arrival in black tie, one would never have known that these men would soon be the life of the parties! When the music started and the jackets came off, the elegant tux shirt’s “crazy” side was revealed. Friends and other party-goers wanted to buy crazy tux shirts, too, and the rest is history!
After three years of research and having numerous samples made that didn’t meet Joni and Heather’s quality control standards, a reputable manufacturer was finally found. A former West University Little League Challenger player named Emmon and Facebook helped ultimately connect Joni and Heather to the manufacturer. Joni and Emmon’s family had remained friends via Facebook after their transfer from Houston and after yet another unacceptable prototype arrived one day, Joni asked Emmon’s father if he had connections in the manufacturing industry in their new city. He replied that he had just finished a round of golf with a friend who did exactly that and connected them. Feeling great about what the manufacturer could provide, the first order was placed and Crazy Tux Tales shirts are now available for purchase!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Our first sale was to a sorority friend who bought a Crazy Tux Tale shirt for a young man to wear at a wedding. We've sold shirts for auctioneers and musicians to wear on the job, for young men to wear to proms, cotillions, debutante balls, fraternity and sorority events. Men have bought them to wear to Mardi Gras, black tie fundraisers, cruise dinners, and other special events.
We sold 13 for all of the groomsmen in one wedding to surprise the guests as they went from formal to fun! At a grandfather's black tie birthday party, all then grandsons showed up in Crazy Tux Tales and one lady purcahsed one for her husband and he loved it so much that he bought each of their grandsons one for an event they were attending!
Most of our sales are by word of mouth to friends + social media has been a big help! We've done one "show" and are exploring other ways to highlight our Crazy Tux Tales!
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
Shopify has been a big help for processing orders and payment. Our "store" is located in Houston, TX so locals can pick-up their purchases if they want or we can ship anywhere. Orders are filled and shipped within 24 hours of receipt. Inventory is kept up-to-date so stock listed on our website is always current.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
Tell everyone about your product and ask them to tell friends! What better customers can you have than friends?
With eight custom fabrics in limited quantities, there is custom shirt to meet everyone’s taste. American flags, camouflage, stripes, and a variety of Hawaiian prints in adult sizes small, medium, large, and extra large make up this first shipment and can be ordered on-line at www.crazytuxtales.com.
Don’t let your belle of the ball out dress you! Order your Crazy Tux Tales today and let the shirt tell the story!