Tuesday, September 27, 2011

one thousand days

One thousand days ago today, my boyfriend started wearing t-shirts for a living.

Everyone always talks about what a great idea IWearYourShirt is. I wish I could come up with an idea like that, they always say when I explain what he does.

And it's true, to make a living working for yourself, to film fun YouTube videos every day, and to basically make a career of being you, it does take one great idea. But looking back on all Jas has accomplished in the past 1,000 days, it's not the idea of IWearYourShirt that makes me beam with pride. It's the vision.

Jason's always been a creative person. I know this because I've listened to story upon story from his mom, his dad, his grama and grampa, his sister and his friends, about the creativity that has been apparent in him since childhood. And from the moment I met him, it was not just that creativity that I admired about him (though I could sense it immediately), but it was this indescribable quality that he has to break the mold. No matter what boundaries are presented or what rules are provided, it is a pure, inherent instinct for Jason to push beyond what is generally accepted. I know that these are the qualities that have enabled him to not only come up with a great idea, but to believe in the vision that stems from that idea (not to mention they are the qualities that keep me around despite his vehement refusal to partake in the watching of any romantic movie whatsoever. Trust me, I'll break him eventually.)

IWearYourShirt is not about wearing a company's logo on a t-shirt; it's about turning advertising on its head. It's about recognizing the fact that people don't tend to believe words anymore when they're written by, planned by, engineered by, perfected by, and paid for by the company that benefits when you buy their product or use their service. You know what words people do believe? The ones that come from people they like. Honest people. Transparent people. People that communicate those words in a way that's less of a brand message, and more a form of entertainment. (Yes, I'm aware that as an advertising professional, this makes me a bit of a hypocrite. However, I'm also a social media professional, which I think still allows me to support this position while also being in advertising. Whatever helps me sleep at night, right? Right.)

I knew Jason as "the t-shirt guy" before I knew him as my boyfriend, and I was an IWYS fan before I could even call him my friend. I would tune in at 3pm to see what he was up to, and find out about the daily sponsor. (Jason hosts a live internet TV show on Ustream every day at 3pm EST, for those of you who don't know what the heck I'm talking about. He talks about the company he's wearing a shirt for, but mostly he just has a conversation with everyone watching. There is a chat where all the viewers can talk to each other and talk to Jason. It may sound a little odd, but it's fun to hangout and it's always entertaining.)

Those first couple shows I watched, I never said a word. I would just casually watch the show and laugh when Jas would do something or say something ridiculous (this was often.) But before long, I couldn't help it - I had to join in. That's just how engaging he is, and it's too much fun to miss out on by sitting on the sidelines. There was another thing that struck me in those early days, and that was just how much Jason knew about the people watching his show. He knew their birthdays and their interests, where they were from and how they found out about him. How did he know all this information about virtual strangers (literally strangers he met virtually)? He asked. And he remembered. It absolutely blew my mind how much he cared about people that he had never even met before. I think that is the key to what has kept him successful, wearing shirts for 1,000 days straight. He cares about the people that make up his community, and he makes it personal. That's why they keep coming back, and that's why companies will pay to get their names in front of them. Where else can you say people come in swarms every day to actually hear or see an advertisement? It's rare. He's created something special, and he's worked day and night without stopping for almost three years because he believes in it.

And from the day I met him, I believed in it too.

I couldn't be happier to say congratulations to my best friend and the hardest-working person I know, on this milestone of a day that deserves to be celebrated.

1,000 days of shirt-wearing, 1,000 days of a vision worth believing in.


  1. This means more than you know Carol. I love you and thank you :)

  2. This is so great! What a great story. Congratulations, Jason - on your vision, creativity, drive, determination and success. I know you will have many more thousands of shirts to wear in the future!!!