For Mike Yrabedra, the word ifuni has always been synonymous with iMacintoshi.
"It started out to be a fun business and it just so happened that the Mac was really the nucleus of the whole idea."
And so in 1997, Mr. Yrabedra started MacSurfShop.com to make Mac-related T-shirts. Today, the company is known as MacShirt.com and there isnit an Expo convention where you donit see someone wear one of his companyis offbeat and humorous walking billboards.
"When we started out back in 1997, I owned my own screen printing shop and I made a shirt for myself and a buddy that simply said, ireal designers donit do Windows.i And he said to me, ihey, you should sell those.i And that was really the start."
Now, however, the 34 year old Yrabedra has decided the fun is gone and its time to move on. Mr. Yrabedra announced Thursday MacShirt.com is ceasing operations after nearly five years in business and will clear out its inventory of remaining T-shirts for US$9.95, while supplies last.
For Mr. Yrabedra, the fun is all but gone.
"When we first started out nearly five years ago, it was a good time," he told The Mac Observer. "The iMac was just introduced, there was a lot of hype and excitement about the Mac and Apple. Over the past year or so, weive seen sales go down a lot and frankly, it just hasnit been fun. We never really did this business for a living because, to be frank, it never made enough money to live on. It was just something fun to do and provide the Mac community with something you couldnit find anywhere else, especially since the demise of appledesigns.com. The fun is gone, Iim sorry to say."
Mr. Yrabedra said another reason for his closing the business was less than enthusiastic responses as of late from people about T-shirt designs, made mostly by himself and his friend, artist Von Glitscha.
"It had gotten to the point where weid release a (T-shirt) design and weid get more complaints about the design than we would actually sales," he said. "Itis not one of the reasons weire closing, but it got to the point were the complaints were wearing us down because we were just trying to have fun and be part of a really cool community."
For Mr. Yrabedra, heill primarily miss designing T-shirts.
"The screening the shirts and coming up with cool designs and seeing them take off. Thatis what Iill miss," he commented. "Weive always tried to keep our designs tasteful and not malicious as far as bad-mouthing anyone, except of course Windows. Even then, weive tried to keep it kind of itongue in cheeki...We sold quite a few shirts to Apple employees and I feel good about that. In fact, from what Iive heard, a lot of employees wear our shirts on casual Fridayis and you see them all over the (Cupertino, CA headquarters) campus."
Although MacShirt.com is closing, Mr. Yrabedra is keeping the door open halfway to a future return.
"Iim not saying MacShirt or MacSurfShop will never come back," he commented. "Itis just that right now, itis not going to. We are closing. This isnit some type of gimmick to sell a whole bunch of shirts; but, you never say never."
Mr. Yrabedra might be leaving the T-shirt world, but heill never leave the Mac community.
"Iive always been a Mac user and nothing but. Nothing will change that."