Turning t-shirt making into a profitable business


Caffes shows off one t-shirt he designed.

Taylor Kenyon, staff writer

In an effort to raise money to buy a new bike, junior Levi Caffes has been using his silk-screening skills to make and sell unique graphic t-shirts to fellow students. He aspires to start a company with his uncle called True Images.

Growing up in South Minneapolis, Caffes drew inspiration for his designs from the environment around him including graffiti and old buildings. Biking, another hobby Caffes enjoys, has begun to inspire his newest designs. “Jeff from Bike Jerks has been a big inspiration for me when it comes to biking shirts,” said Caffes.

Caffes worked out a deal with Ms. Main––paying a few dollars in exchange for use of the art department’s silk screening supplies––to kick-start his newfound interest in graphic t-shirts. He immediately began to wear his own designs, and soon many of his friends gained interest. “I just started making and wearing my own stuff and people started asking if I could make them one,” said Caffes.

Since the beginning, Caffes has made more than 50 shirts for both himself and his customers. The popularity of his t-shirts gave Caffes the idea to make his hobby into a company. “My favorite t-shirt has a Minneapolis skyline on it with the letters MPLS printed underneath it,” said Caffes.

In the meantime, Caffes looks forward to purchasing his own supplies and the possibility of becoming a published artist in the upcoming publication of Apotheosis, as well as being the owner of a new bike if business continues as planned. “Right now all the proceeds from the shirts are going towards a new bike,” said Caffes.

Caffes’s passion for design has prompted him to try crafting more than just t-shirts; he will soon try his hand at more practical items for his biker lifestyle. “I’m currently trying to design a pedal strap system for my bike,” said Caffes.