Maui Man Plans Yearlong Shirt Showcase
A Maui entrepreneur is rebooting his life with the new year, wearing a different T-shirt every day in 2011 as he embarks on new adventures.
After dabbling in designing novelty T-shirts, car wash manager turned consultant Erik Blair is shaking up his wardrobe with The Year of Living Humorously (previously MyShirtForRent.com).
Blair says he was inspired in part by Jason Sadler's "I Wear Your Shirt" project (which also inspired Jenae Plymale's "Girl In Your Shirt"), but is more interested in storytelling than moneymaking. Rather than charging businesses for the privilege of having him wear their tees, he's hoping they'll donate shirts that he'll gladly wear for a day, simply to spark interesting conversations and discover new experiences.
"For the short-term, I'd like to have some fun, generate a lot of buzz and bring smiles to as many people as I can along the way," Blair says. "My long-term plans include writing a book about my adventures, continue writing online, getting into videos, and starting my own business here on Maui."
He's already secured shirts from Sansei Seafood Restaurant, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, Surfing Goat Dairy, Air Maui, 'Ulalena at Maui Theatre, radio station KPOA, and a few mainland companies.
Of course, that barely gets him through the first week.
"I'll need a lot of shirts steadily coming in so that I can keep the idea going all year," Blair admits. "I plan to get as many local businesses and organizations as I can so that the whole year is full of mostly local small-businesses."
In exchange for a shirt, Blair plans to take a few pictures every day, post a couple of videos a week, and of course share everything on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and other social media platforms. And if he makes it all the way through 2011 with 365 T-shirts, he hopes to auction the whole lot on eBay and donate the proceeds to charity.
Blair says he hopes his project helps him strengthen his connection to the local community, as he is relatively new to the islands. He moved to Maui last year with his wife, his daughter, and just seven suitcases after opting out of the rat race on the mainland.
"I grew up with a lot of confidence that everything would just fall into place, and when it didn't go so well the first 40 years, I decided I'd make some changes, look inside a little bit and reboot," he says. "I've been in Maui now for a year and a half and really love the people and the place."
He and his wife both have day jobs (in addition to consulting, he works at the Grand Wailea Resort), but also a mountain of debt. The T-shirt project isn't going to make anyone rich, but it could be the start of a better life. Blair describes it as a "coming out of the ashes" plan.
"If I can succeed with my T-shirt project in 2011, then I think a book about the adventure and the library of pics and video and blogging gathered during 2011 should give me enough boost to start some new adventures in 2012 that hopefully bring in income of some kind," he explains.
If you can spare a T-shirt to extend The Year of Living Humorously another day, send it to:
Erik Blair 415 Dairy Road #E228 Kahului, HI 96732
Blair notes that he needs just about the biggest size you can spare, 3XL preferably, or 2XL "if you want to wait 'till I shed a few pounds."