‘Obama mania' good for T-shirt business - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

‘Obama mania' good for T-shirt business

Lani Isherwood Lani Isherwood
Kim Roces Kim Roces

By Leland Kim - bio | email

KALIHI (KHNL) -  "Obama mania" continues strong in Hawaii.  The first batch of a locally produced Barack Obama t-shirt sold out in a matter of days.  Tuesday, the manufacturing company made more.

The T-shirt was designed by a local graphic artist, who wanted to make a shirt celebrating Obama and capturing the essence of Hawaii.  She had no idea it would be as popular as it's been.

Print Proz in Kalihi is serious about T-shirts.  They crank out as many as 3,000 a day.  On Tuesday, more than half celebrate president-elect Barack Obama.

T-shirt designer Lani Isherwood, who works as a marketing director for Town and Country Surf Designs, says Obama's historic run for the presidency inspired her.  

"I was definitely stoked for him," she said.  "And I was stoked for Hawaii because he was someone from our state and I thought it was a really great thing that Hawaii people will get behind."

These machines imprint the design right on the shirt.  Then they go into this high pressure dryer, which dries and cures them.

And once they're done, they come out of here, ready to be shipped to the stores, where you can buy your own.

Isherwood says she wanted to make an Obama shirt specific to Hawaii.

"So I came up with the idea of putting the Hawaiian lei because you often see that draped across Iolani Palace," she said.  "And so, I thought, if I put that on the White House, that might be a unique starting point."

She also added a bunch of local sayings around the border of the design.

In this second run these workers cranked out 1,600 shirts and tank tops in three different colors.  They printed 500 shirts last week, but they sold out in three days.

"They called us yesterday and wanted to know how fast we could print them," said Kim Roces, production manager at Print Proz. "And we said, bring them over and we're going to rush it out as fast as we can.  So we should have them done within a day, and back out and into the stores for Town and Country."

Getting them out just in time for the holidays.

"I want them to be proud to wear it," said Isherwood. "Proud to buy it as a gift for someone to give to someone who lives on the mainland."

These shirts should be available starting Thursday at the latest, only at Town and Country stores on Oahu.  They're not available anywhere else or on the mainland.  If they continue to be popular, more shirts will be made.

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