Bill Windsor Created Shirtcans – a Paint-Your-own T-shirt

Bill Windsor Created Shirtcans – a Paint-Your-own T-shirt.

After a trip to Atlanta where Bill Windsor saw hand-painted T-shirts in boutiques in Buckhead, he came up with the idea of a do-it-yourself hand-painted T-shirt.¬† He wanted a catchy name, and ShirtCans was born. “You wear what we can.”

Bill Windsor invented ShirtCans in1976
Bill Windsor invented ShirtCans in1976

A variety of designs were offered.  Each can contained a white T-shirt printed with a black outline design, four acrylic fabric paints, a paintbrush, and instructions.  After a test at local K-Mart stores, Bill flew to New York and wore out the soles on a pair of shoes walking all over town to make sales calls on apparel buyers.  Then he flew to Chicago where he received a large test order from Sears.

Bill returned to Orlando very excited, and he opened a manufacturing facility at 119 W. Kaley Boulevard in Orlando.  Business #10.

1976 ShirtCans ad
1976 ShirtCans ad

In addition to manufacturing and distributing ShirtcCans to retail chains, the product was also offered to the advertising specialty industry and to premium companies.

Rich Sarver was a very talented artist who did all the art for ShirtCans
Rich Sarver was a very talented artist who did all the art for ShirtCans

Rich Sarver was the talented artist who created the designs for the ShirtCans and the labels and promotional material.  Incredibly talented!

Bill Windsor Launched a Company to Distribute Products to the Advertising Specialty Industry

After several years as a retailer, screen printer, and manufacturer, Bill Windsor launched a company to distribute apparel products to the advertising specialty industry.  The business was called The Shirt Tale.  Business #11.

The Shirt Tale brochure 1976
The Shirt Tale brochure 1976

The Shirt Tale had beautiful catalogs to promote its line of imprinted sportswear, heat transfers, and related products.

How to Sell T-shirts book 1976
How to Sell T-shirts book 1976

Bill Windsor published a book titled “How To Sell T-shirts.”

ShirtCan distributor Robert Grant with Bill Windsor in Brussels Belgium
ShirtCan distributor Robert Grant with Bill Windsor in Brussels Belgium

Bill and Barbara began exhibiting at advertising specialty trade shows.

Bill met people like Robert Grant, who signed a contract to distribute Bill’s products in Belgium and France.

 

 

The Wear-House expanded to a 6,000-square-foot store in Winter Park, Florida.

New location of The Wear-House on 17 -92 in Orlando
New location of The Wear-House on 17 -92 in Orlando

Bill divided the 6,000-square-foot space into a 4,000-square-foot retail space, a 1,500-square-foot screen printing shop, and a 500-square-foot office.

It was a big freestanding building on Highway 17-92 in Winter Park, just South of Fairbanks Avenue.

 

1976 Wear-House staff opening party
1976 Wear-House staff opening party

The Wear-House staff at the grand opening party.

Wear-House view from McDonalds of early days in 1976
Wear-House view from McDonalds of early days in 1976

The building was located right next door to McDonald’s.

Bill decided he should try to attract the customers from McDonald’s.¬† He cut a window and door to the McDonald’s parking lot, but it appeared to be tiny on the 120-foot long building.

So, Bill had Rich Sarver create some cartoon characters wearing imprinted sportswear.

Mural drawing on side of The Wear-House
Mural drawing on side of The Wear-House

The characters were 10-feet tall, but the mural still seemed really small.

More mural work on The Wear-House 1976
More mural work on The Wear-House 1976

Bill had Rich Sarver continue to create characters.¬† Rich painted the outline of the art on the wall, and people were invited to come paint.¬† When it was done, the 120-foot x 10-foot mural became the World’s Largest Cartoon Mural.¬† And most of the customers for The Wear-House came in from the door next to McDonald’s parking lot.