No one is comparing Jason Sadler, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based entrepreneur, to Ted Turner or Jawed Karim just yet. But at a time when some media-mogul types are losing their shirts, Sadler's "Iwearyourshirt.com" is selling out.
The idea was simple, if sartorially limiting: Sadler, 27, decided that on Jan. 1, 2009, he would wear a company's logo t-shirt all day, broadcasting video and photos of himself on various social media, including ustream.tv and Twitter for $1. On Jan. 2, he would do the same, charging $2, and so forth, until he got to Dec. 31, when the price would be $365. (We'll spare you the math: He has earned $70,000 this year -- $66,795 in shirt-wearing fees, with the rest from other contests and deals.) Soon, there was media attention.
And 24 hours after launching his 2010 calendar, the former Web designer has sold more than 163 days, at double the price. Marketing Daily asks him how he's holding up:
Q: When did you get the idea?
A: One night, around 3 a.m., I was lying in bed with my brain churning. I thought about all these shirts that companies give away for free, and I thought -- I bet I could get some of them to pay me to wear them, if the amount was small enough. So I became a human Jumbotron.
Q: Frankly, a lot of the shirts you wear are ugly.
A: I know. It's true some of them are very unattractive -- there have been some that made my girlfriend, who was pretty skeptical about the whole idea at first, not want to go out to dinner with me.
Q: Is she on board with it now?
A: Yes, very. She helps a lot with my video content, and my mom, my sister, my grandmother .... They all watch my video shares every day. They're very supportive.
Q: What are you wearing right now?
A: Well, there was an iPhone Velcro'd to my shirt earlier, part of a giveaway for Geary Interactive. It got pretty hot, though, so I took it off.
Q: Are there mornings when the thought of wearing another t-shirt bores you?
A: Yes. When the year started, I went to Target and bought 365 hangers, and took everything else out of my closet. They are all hung up chronologically.
Q: Will you ever wear them again, when all this is over?
A: No. I've got a contact lined up so I can donate them to people in Africa. Anything left over, I'll send to Goodwill.
Q: Are you allowed to call in sick?
A: Knock wood, I've been extremely healthy for the past 231 days. I guess if I got sick, I'd just have to do my video from bed, moaning and groaning in the sponsor's shirt.
Q: What's new for 2010?
A: Well, I wanted my idea to be scalable. So for 2010, I called Evan White, a buddy in L.A., and he'll do exactly what I'm doing. We'll wear the same shirt each day, and develop a different following on the West Coast. And I think there's room to showcase some products in our video -- and sponsors will understand that I'll say a product sucks if it does.
Q: In adding a partner, you double your revenue?
Q: Why do you think your company has been such a hit?
A: It's cheap. This year, the most expensive day will only cost $730. And sponsors get two YouTube clips, Twitters, about 1,000 video viewers per day -- you'd never get that kind of exposure from, let's say, a banner ad.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: Well, it's kind of nice to wake up and know what I'm wearing. My decisions are all about whether to wear jeans or shorts, or if I should wear underwear.
Q: No offense -- this is a pretty gimmicky way to make a living. Do you imagine this will be a lifelong career?
A: Wouldn't that be awesome? And I do think it's a sustainable idea.