Design // shirts&words, a brand of trendy Curaçao T-shirts

Designing a brand of fashionable, good quality Curaçao wearables and accessories printed with words in Papiamentu.

shirts&words // from 2008 – 2012

Make a fashion statement in Papiamentu!

The concept of shirts&words was initiated in 2007 by copywriter Susanne van Sambeeck. She came up with the idea to print Papiamentu words on stylish souvenir t-shirts. Due to disappointing sales she halted the concept by the end of that year. Since the concept matched with my vision and mission, I agreed with Susanne to allow the concept a second chance. Read the full background story

shirtsandwords promo 2008
Promotion of shirts&words // 2008
2010 shirtsandwords T-shirt
Upgrading shirts&words to an apparel brand // 2010

Trendy apparel brand from Curaçao // 2010 – 2012

Simply devoted to you: To make you feel Rilèks, do Hopi Great and look Dushi.

Strategic goal // Increasing public awareness of the value and beauty of Curaçao and its local Papiamentu language to both locals and tourists by selling stylish shirts and baby onesies printed with words in Papiamentu.

shirts&words wearables // 2010 – 2012

shirts&words promotions // 2010 – 2012

2011 // Rilèks shirt Curacao
Promotion of shirts&words // 2011

Get Curaçao youth to work out on a regular basis

Charity in Curaçao // shirts&words set aside Nafl 1,00 per product sold to assisted Curaçao based non-profit organisations that aimed to get Curaçao youth to work out on a regular basis. From 2010 – 2012 shirts&words sponsored the t-shirts of a youth football team Orguyo FC in Brievengat.

football team Orguyo FC Brievengat
Sponsoring football team Orguyo FC Brievengat // 2011

shirts&words grew too big for me

It was somewhere in 2012 that I realised I am a designer and not a manager. Managing a brand like shirts&words was too much. I was more than happy to sell the concept of shirts&words.
When I started with shirts&words back in 2008, I had a dream: one day shirts&words would have its own store. That one day came when the new owners opened their shirts&words store at Curaçao Boulevard.

shirts&words store
shirts&words store of the new onwers at Curaçao Boulevard // 2014

Portfolio 2010 – 2012 // shirts&words, a trendy apparel brand from Curaçao

Upgrading brand shirts&words

Sale ad 2010
Newspaper ad shirts&words sale published before upgrading shirtsandwords // 2011

A6 flyers to promote shirt&words // 2011

banner at baby, kid & preteen expo
Banner at Baby, Kid & Preteen Expo // 2011

How to keep your shirts&words t-shirt looking hopi great & dushi

Wash your shirts&words t-shirt before wearing first time. Place in salt water or cold water with a cup of white vinegar.
Gentle wash cycle at 30 degrees. Separate colours from whites. Do not use bleach or dryer.
Turn the shirt inside out before ironing, best when slightly damp, do not iron the imprint.

Laundry tip wash before wearing
Laundry tip separate colours
Laundry tip: wash at 30 degrees
Laundry tip: do not tumble dry
Laundry tip ironing
Washed 25x

Campaign // shirt&words model 2012

Ad GoWeekly Model 2012
Ad GoWeekly shirts&words is looking for models // 2012
dushi pink T-shirt
legumai black T-shirt
legumai lilac T-shirt
aqua rileks t-shirt
hopi great lilac T-shirt
models shirtsandwords 2011
pink rileks t-shirt
aqua dushi t-shirt
hopi great black T-shirt

Apparel hang tags // 2011

shirtsandwords hang tags
shirts&words hang tags // 2011
man playing domino
Advertisement ‘Hopi Great’ Dushi Magazine // 2012
Advertisement Dushi Magazine
Advertisement ‘Rilèks’ Dushi Magazine // 2012

Postcards shirt&words // 2012

Newspaper ad 2012
Newspaper ad ‘shirts&words stops’ // 2012

Portfolio 2008 – 2010 // shirts&words, a souvenir T-shirt from Curaçao

Creating brand awareness

Dushi shirt
Promotion Dushi shirt // 2008
Newspaper ad kids shirts 2009
Newspaper ad kids shirts printed with Dushi // 2009
hanging tags 2009
shirts&words hang tags // 2009
promotion shirtsandwords 2009
Promotion T-shirts on social media // 2009
Website Header 2009
Website header with Dushi // 2009

Shirt sponsor FKP football tournament // 2010

football player
playing football
winner football play

shirts&words in the media // 2009 – 2010

newspaper article
Article in newspaper Amigoe
KikotaKiko magazine
Picture of shirts&words T-shirt in KikotaKiko magazine
Article in DolfijnFM magazine
Article about shirts&words in DolfijnFM magazine
DolfijnFM magazine
Picture of shirts&words T-shirt in DolfijnFM magazine

Campaign FIFA World Cup 2010

Win a special edition shirt during FIFA World Cup 2010 by predicting the correct number of goals scored by the Dutch team.

Promotion Orange t-shirt
shirts&words animated promo FIFA World Cup // 2010

Campaign // shirts&words promotion tour // 2010

Memento Vivi interns Marieke (photography) & Leonise (social media) did a marvellous job in 2010 when they organised a campaign to promote the shirts&words t-shirts in Curaçao.

Ballet class
stagiairs
boy at zoo Curacao
girl in a phone booth brionplein
dj dolfijn fm
diving

Campaign // Win a PSP with your shirts&words T-shirt // 2010

Promotion for the ‘Win-a-PSP campaign’ // 2010
Newspaper article about the ‘Win-a-PSP campaign’

Background story of shirts&words

You have seen the world and you know: there is no place better than Dushi Kòrsou

The concept of shirts&words was initiated in 2007 by copywriter Susanne van Sambeeck. She had planned to bring along some Curaçao souvenirs but wasn’t impressed by the oversized, traditional style of souvenir t-shirts. Sensing a gap in the market, she pondered the idea to come up with a trendier souvenir t-shirt to promote the Caribbean island in a more innovative way. Some brainstorming sparked the concept of using meaningful Papiamentu (the Curaçao local language) words to be printed on slim fit t-shirts.

shirtsandwords The beginning in 2007
2007 // The beginning of shirts&words, a Curaçao-based T-shirt brand

Initially Susanne selected the words: Kayente (hot), Yu di Kòrsou (child of Curaçao), Stimabo (love you), Dushi (sweet), Kumbai (how are you), Hopi Bon (very well), Ayo Kòrsou (bye bye Curaçao), Trankil (chill), Konta (how are you), Rilèks (relax) and Pssst (well, use your imagination…).

Susanne approached me to assist her in the branding of the product and the label styling. As of June 2007 sales started through my web shop books.an. Feedback was positive but orders only trickled in. Due to disappointing sales she halted the concept by the end of that same year.

Dushi, dushi, dushi

Since the concept matched with my vision and mission, I agreed with Susanne to allow the concept a second chance. The first collection taught Dushi to be the word that best expressed the feeling people had for Curaçao. It is the only word in Papiamentu that was perceived positively by anyone feeling a connection with Curaçao. The word Dushi, literally meaning sweet, is used to describe anything wonderful. The weather is always ‘Dushi’ in Curacao, a good meal is ‘Dushi’, a beautiful woman is a ‘Dushi’… Needless to say, staying or living in Curaçao is simply ‘Dushi’.

Finding a point of sale

In April 2008 I managed to convince a shop owner to add the shirts&words shirts printed with Dushi to her collection. Sales started out slowly, but after the collection had sold out, customers continued to ask when new shirts would become available. Following demands and customer inquiries, I expanded the collection and introduced baby onesies, kids t-shirts, ladies tank tops, and men shirts in various colours. Other shops started selling the shirts as well. A new, local Curaçao brand had been born.

Dealing with competition

The increased competition inspired me to rethink my vision and goals in 2010. I was unhappy with the quality of the t-shirts and started looking for a better supplier. Thanks to Susanne I met a Dutch supplier of good quality 100% organic cotton and eco-friendly dyed t-shirts. The first shirts&words organics collection, baby onesies and kids shirts in bright colours, was a success. Sold-outs had become a regular.

Too big for me

It was somewhere in 2012 that I found myself more and more disliking the times I had to deal with suppliers and buyers. I realised that the brand shirts&words had become too big for me. I was more than happy to sell the concept to Marcel and Miriam Bleeker, who took excellent care of my little ‘baby’. They expanded the collection with lots of goodies: caps, pants, towels, jewellery, flip flops. My precious little one has become a grown up.

My dream come true

When I started with shirts&words back in 2008, I had a dream: one day shirts&words would have its own store. That one day came when the shirts&words store at Curaçao Boulevard was opened. During my stay in Curaçao in 2014, I could finally visit the store. It was amazing to see that – although I had nothing to do with it – my dream had become reality.

Products // shirts&words, from souvenir to apparel brand

Products 2010 – 2012 // Upgrading shirts&words to an apparel brand

2010 Baby onesies dushi curacao
2011 // Baby onesies printed with Dushi and Rilèks
2011 Dushi bag
2011 // Bag printed with Dushi
2010 Lilac Legumai shirt
2011 // Men shirt printed with Legumai (whatever or never mind)
2010 Dushi Pink kid shirt
2011 // Kid shirt printed with Dushi
2010 baby onesie lilac beibi
2011 // Baby onesie printed with Beibi
shirtsandwords bellyband printed with Beibi
2011 // bellyband printed with Beibi
shirtsandwords kids shirts in store
2011 // kids shirts in store
shirtsandwords baby onesies 2011
2011 // Baby onesies with shirts&words clothing tag

Products 2008 – 2010 // a trendy souvenir T-shirt from Curaçao

2008 dushi shirt
Slimfit ladies shirt printed with Dushi // 2008
2009 Dushi baby onesies
Baby onesies printed with Dushi // 2009
toddlers 2009
Toddlers wearing shirts&words T-shirts // 2009
2009 Toddler T-shirts
Toddler shirts printed with Dushi and Hopi great // 2009
Skaters wearing shirts&words T-shirts
Skaters wearing shirts&words T-shirts // 2009
rileks shirt red
Red XXL T-shirt printed with Rilèks (relax) // 2009
Dushi shirt 2009
Student in Curaçao wearing a Dushi shirt // 2009
2009 Dushi ladies shirts
Slim-fit ladies shirts printed with Dushi // 2009
dutch stagiairs curacao
Dutch stagiairs curacao wearing a Dushi shirt // 2009
2010 bag yu di korsou
Bag printed with Yu di Kòrsou (child of Curaçao)// 2009
School kids
School kids wearing shirts&words T-shirts // 2010