An NYC Entrepreneur to Watch: Interview with Tees and Tats founder Jeremy Parker


Termeh Mazhari: Tell me about Tees and Tats.

Jeremy Parker: Tees and Tats is a high-end limited edition t-shirt line, designed by world-renown tattoo artist Marco Serio. There are 7 designs in the first collection, and we produced a limited run of each design (700 tees of each).  Each t-shirt is individually signed and numbered. The shirts sell at boutiques across the USA and Canada and on our website

Termeh Mazhari: How did the company come about?

Jeremy Parker: I started Tees and Tats a year ago after I graduated from Boston University, where I majored in Film business. I made several films, including a feature length documentary titled One Per Cent, featuring Russell Simmons. The film won the Audience award at the 2006 Vail Film Festival. When I graduated from college I knew that I wanted to go to business school, but I wasn’t so sure that top tier business schools would except me based on my film past. So I set out to start a company, which would test me on all facets of the business world, and at the same time would give me a first-hand business knowledge. I approached my first cousin Ben Parker (He goes to University of Maryland) to help me with my business idea. Ben and I have always been fascinated with the art world, especially tattoos. The intricacy, confidence, creativity and dedication that a tattoo artist must possess always inspired me. One of our favorite tattoo artists that we followed was Marco Serio, originally from Portugal and now residing in New York City at the Invisible tattoo and art studio on Orchard St. I contacted him and pitched him my idea for a limited edition t-shirt line.  I wanted it to be different than any other tattoo apparel line. I wanted the artwork to be at the forefront of the t-shirt. I wanted the piece of artwork to look and drape around the body like a tattoo.

Termeh Mazhari: When the recession hit and your sales started to slump, you changed your business strategy into something quite creative…

Jeremy Parker: We realized we had to take quick action to help us with our sluggish sales. Now, when a customer buys a shirt on our website, they are told the price of the DOW. For every 100 points that the DOW drops within two months after the time of purchase they receive $5 dollars off of their purchase. For example, if a customer buys a shirt for $55 dollars and the DOW is 8200 (I wish) and two months later the DOW is 8000 – the customer gets a check in the mail for $10 dollars. The reason why people aren’t buying high-end fashion is that they are nervous about affording food, rent and other necessary living expenses. Obviously very understandable. So by assuring them that if the economy deteriorates even more they would get some money back – it made it very enticing for many customers. Our sales have been up significantly since we started this.

Termeh Mazhari: Tees and Tats is based in New York. How have New Yorkers received your tshirt line and marketing tactic?

Jeremy Parker: We have received amazing feedback from New Yorkers.  Since we launched our line last July, over 20% of our sales have been to New York dwellers. The line has an amazing rock n’ roll feel that New Yorker shoppers really relate to. Our sales have doubled over the last month since we started this marketing tactic – and many of the customers have been NYers, so I guess they like the new deal.

Termeh Mazhari: You’re donating a portion of the sales to the ArtWorks foundation. Why that particular foundation?

Jeremy Parker: For every t-shirt sold in the initial collection, the company will donate a percentage of proceeds to the non-profit ArtWorks Foundation. Based in Englewood, N.J., ArtWorks provides children and young adults suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and their siblings, access to creative and performing arts programming which encourages the use of the creative process as a vehicle for healing, communication, self-expression, and personal development. I know the founders of this charity, and I have seen the amazing work that they do. I felt it would be a perfect fit for what Tees and Tats is trying to accomplish.

For more information about Tees and Tats, or to buy a t-shirt from their collection, visit

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at 10:28 am and is filed under Art, Interview. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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