Tee Labs aims to redefine T-shirt shopping and make branded and quality clothing affordable

T-shirts never go out of style. They are all-time favourites that can be teamed up with anything, from the rugged jeans to the humble veshti. To add to the variety, Madurai now has a new address for whimsical T-shirt buyers.

A small kiosk on New Jail Road, called the ‘Tee Labs’ is now pulling people. At this make-shift store on the platform opposite the jail gate, mesh cot forms the counter on which the t-shirts are displayed and a folding umbrella printed with the logo and name guards you from the sun.

From the outside, Tee Labs may look like any other street-side stall but inside it stocks brands more than a swanky showroom. Latest designs of ‘Sean John’ round-necks and international sports and casual wear brands like ‘G-Unit’, ‘Rocawear’, ‘Vokal’ and ‘I-zod’ and spoil you for choice!

Inspiration

The concept kicked off last Diwali, when Rajesh Kannu, a former student of The American College and two of his friends Stanley and Bhaskaran started selling T-shirts for the festival. “We did it for time pass. We collected plain T-shirts, printed slogans and funny cartoons and sold 40 of them in a day during the festive season!”, says Rajesh.

Ever since, the store has been selling 35 to 40 Tees on an average each day. “We replenish our stocks twice a month,” says Rajesh. “Most of our products are sourced from Tirupur and Bangalore. The sports jerseys are from Ludhiana. Our daily turn over is Rs.3,000.”

The varieties include round-necks, polo T-shirts, sports jerseys, full-sleeves and turtle-necks and are between Rs.100 and Rs.300.

“We provide them at a cheaper rate as they are bought from export surplus. We also stock extra large sizes up to 5XL,” says Stanley.

Customized T-shirts

Tee Labs also customizes the T-shirt. They screen-print logos, graphics, captions, funky cartoons and slogans as per the customer’s choice. “The current craze is for ‘Che Guevara’ prints, Tamil captions and mood graphics,” points out Bhaskaran. “This is our in-house product line. We do it as both retail and wholesale.” The price range of customized T-shirts is Rs.300 to Rs.500. At present only men’s T-shirts are available and the youngsters plan to include for women and children soon.

They have also created a page for people to people place their requirements and orders. “We give online ads as the major chunk of our customer base is youth,” says Rajesh.

D. Ravi, a shopper at Tee Labs feels, “T-shirts are easy to wear and wash, are affordable and make you look younger.”

Rajesh says, “Picking up a T-shirt is impulsive unlike buying shirts or trousers where you think and plan. There are people who simply buy tees for the sake of having a huge collection. These days, everyone looks for brands that don’t pinch the pocket and that’s what we provide.”

Tee-Tips:

T-shirts or any other knitwear should not be wringed after washing as the colour may bleed and shrink the cloth.

Printed Tees should be only hand washed inside out so that the print remains intact. Machine washing erases rubber and screen prints.

Do not dry t-shirts on rope or hanger as they may expand. Instead, spread it on the floor under the fan.