Success through T-Shirts: An Interview with Nektarinchen

Success through T-Shirts: An Interview with Nektarinchen

Nektarinchen (The Little Nectarine) is a bit of legend in the Marketplace community and one of the most successful designers around. But who is behind this sweet, unassuming name? And what is the secret of her success? You can find the answers here.

Oh how they grow up so fast. You look away for a second and suddenly Spreadshirt is about to celebrate its 20th birthday. It’s as if our teenager phase is over and it’s time to start washing our own socks. But of course, we’d never have got this far without our amazing designers and today we want to introduce you to one of our most successful creators. Nektarinchen (pronounced Nek-ta-reen-hyen) has been showing us how it’s done for a while. She is renowned for her designs which use Austrian dialect in a fun way. How everything began, which obstacles she has had to overcome and which successes she has had, will be detailed in the following interview.

For starters…

Hi Kerstin – the community knows you better as Nektarinchen – we are glad that you have taken time for us and our questions! Although you’re no stranger to the Marketplace, it would be great if you briefly introduced yourself to our readers, so:

Who are you? Where are you from? How long have you been putting designs on the Marketplace? What is your favourite fruit 😉?

Hey Kristina! I’m Kerstin, I live in northern Austria. I put my first design on the Marketplace in April 2006. Here’s the real plot twist: strawberries are my favourite fruit 🤪.

Of course we are very interested in how you came across us back then? What brought you as a designer to Print-on-Demand? And how did you find Spreadshirt?

Over 16 years ago, a product tester agency told me about you. Spreadshirt described itself as a new way of printing individualised shirts. They were looking for testers, so I was one of the first customers.

Shortly afterwards, it also became possible to propose or send in designs. As a thank you they sent you a shirt with the respective motif.

Surprising design hits & the first crises

When did you feel your work with Spreadshirt was becoming a success? Do you remember which of your designs went through the roof?

I was buzzing when I got 5 free shirts with my own designs on them. But to be honest I was really disappointed shortly afterwards when Spreadshirt suddenly introduced a monetary commission per sale.

Out of spite I immediately stopped dealing with the website. However, when I logged on 2 years later, I saw I could get a double-digit pay out – from that point on I was unstoppable 😉.

From the start, one of my best sellers was the hand drawn (roughly to the level of a kindergarten child) flower. I’ve no idea why this design sold so well.

Oh, that sounds like a couple of unexpected teething troubles. To be honest, we weren’t expecting to hear that. We’re glad you came back to us after the “little” break. But seriously: We know that all beginnings are difficult: Do you remember other dry spells or problems along your way? How did you deal with them?

The beginning was actually hard. I had no idea about vector graphics which were a necessary part of uploading at that time.

YouTube was only a year old at the time, so online tutorials didn’t exist and the tools themselves weren’t as smart as they are today. I would sit for hours back then and set each anchor point manually, these designs just take a few minutes today.

True, it’s easy to for us to forget how much easier the tools have made our lives. But apart from technological developments: Where did you get the idea to create and sell designs which use dialect?

Back then, a friend had just finished his studies and I wanted to gift him a t-shirt with the words “Gstudiada” (which means ‘academic’ in Austrian dialect) printed on it.

But as I looked, I couldn’t find it anywhere. That’s when I made it on Spreadshirt (I even drew the design by hand). We were all so impressed by the quality of the t-shirt that I opened a shop and started designing products with “Gstudiada” on them as well as other phrases.

Your recipe for success and hopes for the future

So that’s how a private joke became a box-office hit virtually overnight. We love stories like that! But your success isn’t exactly down to luck – quite the opposite: By now you probably know exactly what your customers want. How do you actually find your target group(s)? Do you proceed intuitively and trust your gut feeling? Or do you research extensively and then use tools for concrete keyword research?

For my Marketplace designs, I rely on extensive research – I want to know exactly what makes each target group tick. Only then can you create designs that actually appeal and stand out from the crowd.

To be honest, I am actually not really into Keyword tools. I prefer to just have a think to myself about what words people are likely to search.

Apart from on the Marketplace – do you use other platforms to advertise you designs? Like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok

You can find the „Gscheade Leibal“ shop in most of the usual places online: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and much more. We’ve not been won over by TikTok yet, but that’s probably due to the fact that I’m twice as old as the average users 😉.

Our designers are dying to know how they can make their designs more well known. In general, what would you recommend to anyone starting out? Do you have any concrete tips, things that designers can do, to make their creations stand out from the crowd?

Be different and don’t underestimate the workload.

Online there are countless groups, tutorials and coaches who assure you that “print-on-demand” is the perfect way to make extra income. Yes, of course, there is even passive income if you don’t upload any motifs for a while. But at other times you can also upload motifs for a long time without getting €1.

Times have changed. In the meantime it’s become quite easy to get involved without any prior knowledge. It’s become a tough business with strong competition.

Spreadshirt has been home to your designs since 2006. That means we’ve grown up together 😊. In your opinion, how has Spreadshirt changed over the last 16 years? What do you like about it? Are there things from the past that you miss today?

Spreadshirt has evolved from a start-up with a manageable number of employees to a large company. It used to be about a handful of people with a vision, today it’s about profit, job security & growth – but that’s the normal course of things.

Over the years, many things have been standardized and optimised from Spreadshirt’s point of view – with pros and cons 😉.

As we’ve already mentioned, this year we’re celebrating our 20th birthday. How do picture the future of Spreadshirt?

I’ve also grown out of the start up phase. My visions and wishes are therefore rather conservative:

  • A collection that corresponds with current trends, including fits and colours
  • A robust platform that’s easy to use
  • Expanding the design tool even more, to give us extra individual printing options

Thanks for this fascinating insight into your creative world and your honest answers. Here’s to the next 16 years and beyond!

What do you think about Nektrarinchen’s success story? Have you had similar experiences in the Marketplace or has your path been completely different? Tell us more – as always in the comments. You can find more about Nektarinchen and her designs at Facebook, Instagram, on her Shop-Site and in the Showroom.

2 comments Write a comment

  1. Merci beaucoup pour ces précieuses informations.. Je suis toujours un débutant, et ca fait plaisir de travailler assez dur pour réussir.. Merci encors 👍😁

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