We take this shirt for granted, no doubt. It was our introductory shirt in April of 2016 when Scratchpad Tees was launched, along with a few other shirt designs. We forget sometimes that selling 10,000 of these shirts in the intervening 4 years ain't that big a deal in a state of 800,000 people. Have you got yours yet? We didn't think so!
The original designer was a talented creative named Carmen Dyar, who designed it for woodworking purposes, but we saw it immediately as a tee shirt. Since those early days, the shirt has been re-designed a total of 13 times. Yup, you read that right. The original was missing a lot of important towns and had a number of misspellings, and as we went on, we continued to find opportunities. And mistakes.
For example, who knew that Harrold has two "R's" but Philip has only one "L"? It's discovering things like that, that can ruin your day as a screen printer, since every change means a new screen. My hometown Huron is spelled right. Check.
We now produce this design on tees, tanks, sweatshirts, toddler tees, Youth tees, baseball tees and Long sleeve tees. We used to produce coffee cups but not any more; kept breaking 'em.
Along the way, we've had literally hundreds on conversations with folks about which towns aren't on the shirt. They always want to know why a community isn't on the shirt. Here's some of the answers we've floated to them as a response..."because we don't care about that town"; "because the neighboring town paid us not to put that town on there", "because we don't like that town", and finally, "because we saw no reason to have it on the shirt". None of them work, but we have a few laughs.
The honest truth is that these hometown shirt designs have an immense amount of human toil involved. It's no surprise that people think we simply adjust our computer settings and presto - we have a new shirt, but that isn't the case. Every change is adjustment after adjustment by Jim, our graphic designer who knows this shirt better than anyone (he was born in Iroquois, by the way). There are now over 400 communities on the shirt and we're pretty well satisfied at this point. We hope you are too.
We're really proud of this shirt design and hope you have one if you're from South Dakota. We think it should be mandatory that everyone own 1-2 of them, but we've had trouble getting that introduced by our state legislator (who owns several of them himself). We do know that both Governors during our history own several of the shirts. That's Duagaard and Noem, but it's not like they can endorse them while they're in office. We've asked. Darn.
One last thing. It's not a map. Please don't call it a map shirt. There's nothing on the shirt that attempts to guide you from one place to another. It's a geographic rendering of our hometowns in proximate locations, that's why we call them hometown tees. We hope we spelled your hometown correctly. We hope it's north of whatever is south on the shirt, and not west of your hated rival high school team. We really do want to get this right, and it is genuinely a labor of love to sell you one of these tees. We hope you wear it with pride, because we make them with love.
South Dakota is our home, so this shirt will always have a special place in our hearts and memories.