“The .cat domain is a way of identifying your home land, where you’re from and where you work”
We spoke with Jordi Costa, founder of samarreta.cat that deals in the design, production and sale of t-shirts
In 2009, the 10mil Platform organised a demonstration in Brussels and Jordi went with a group of friends. On the return trip (12 hours by van), Jordi starting thinking about an idea. On his return to Molins de Rei, he set up a small on-line shop to sell a t-shirt with the slogan “Jo hi vaig ser, Brussel·les 2009” (I was there, Brussels 2009). The t-shirts sold quickly, so he decided to buy the samarreta.cat domain and commit himself to his project.
What is the goal of Samarreta.cat?
The goal of Samarreta.cat isn’t just commercial, as we work with different organisations, associations and institutions. We’re currently implementing a campaign and have started selling a t-shirt with Jordi Cuixart on it, the profits of which go entirely to Òmnium Cultural.
We’ve done plenty of this kind of thing. We’re also arranging our collaboration with the Sant Joan de Déu Childrens’ Hospital charity shop and finalising things to produce a charity t-shirt for Open Arms.
Who is behind Samarreta.cat?
A family from Molins de Rei is behind samarreta.cat. My kids Oriol (9 years old) and Mariona (5 years gold) help as much as they can and do some modelling for the website, as does Laia, my wife, who is always behind the scenes, helping wherever she’s needed. She helps me on the stand at fairs, and she gives me all the strength and support I need, as she’s been a firm believer in the project right from day one. And lastly me. I produce, design and manage all the machinery and the on-line shop.
What is the process behind designing the t-shirts?
There are several designs, of which some work better than others. Some are very successful right from the word go, which are the best sellers, others come and go, and others are made depending on the news each day, such as the current problems and injustice we’re experiencing in Catalonia with our exiles and political prisoners.
Do you only sell over the internet?
On the internet we have the on-line shop samarreta.cat that has been running for 10 years, but we sell most at the stand during fairs. You meet people, they can touch the product, and the treatment is much more personal. What’s more, people love watching how we make the t-shirt in front of them, as we take the heat press, the transfers with the designs and the t-shirts with us separately so that people can choose. We also sell products through the VilaWeb shop in Barcelona.
Why did you choose the .cat domain?
I didn’t hesitate. I never even considered using a domain that wasn’t .cat. I think it’s a way of identifying your home land, where you’re from and where you work. Of course I have every respect for all the other domains, but I was born in Catalonia, I speak Catalan, and I love my home.
Do you think the internet helps small businesses?
It’s becoming increasingly complicated, apart from the huge competition that exists in our sector, I think the internet is flooded. What with the social networks, on-line shops and other things, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach more people.
What do you think Samarreta.cat will look like in 5 years’ time?
I imagine myself doing the same job and hopefully improving step by step. Reaching more and more people and continuing to collaborate in everything possible for as long as possible.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting their own business?
Be brave, believe in your product and don’t pay any attention to the competition.
Patience, drive and a bit of luck.