I am pleased to announce the grand opening of the Keatley Store, where you can buy prints of some of my favorite images, a Keatley shirt, as well as some other fun limited edition items. Just in time for Christmas I might add. After moving in and decorating our new studio this past year, I realized just how fun and meaningful it is to own and display artwork. I have so many images I would like to share with others in the form of prints, and the store provides an easy way to do that, at really reasonable prices. I will be adding new images and switching things up from time to time, so check back often. There are still spots available for the Un-Workshop as well if you are interested.
Keatley shirts are an exciting item for me because of the back story. Not many people know the full story, but I first made Keatley shirts about 10 years ago. My friend, Joe King, is the designer who made the Keatley logo, as well as convinced me to change the way I was branding myself. When I first started my business, I was doing business as John Keatley Photography. I hired Joe to come up with a logo for me, and in addition the many options he came up with, he created the keatley logo which felt more like a major brand than a freelance photographer. Just for fun, I made 10 Keatley shirts, and gave them to my friends and roommates. As people saw the shirts, I began getting additional requests, so I made a few more. This continued to happen, and demand grew pretty quickly. I eventually made a small online store to sell them and help free me up from meeting up with people and collecting cash. As the shirts got out into the wild, a friend at MTV passed a few out to some bands, and they began making appearences at concerts and in photos. I also had a lot of enthusiastic friends in Young Life and college helping me spread the word, and before long, I had sold a couple of thousand shirts. My good friend Bryan Pape sat me down at one point, and talked with me about getting serious about shirts and maybe making a business out of it. The truth of it was, it was fun to see the shirts on random people all over the world, but it was getting to be a lot of work for me to be shipping and everything that goes with it. I was also trying to grow a photography business at the same time which was what I was really passionate about. Keatley shirts helped a little as I did get some jobs from people seeing them, but I was spending a lot more time selling them than I had ever anticipated. After a couple of years, things died down a bit as I chose to focus on photography. Who knows what could have happened if I put more time into it, but I can’t say I have any regrets about sticking with photography :). The funny thing about the whole Keatley shirt craze was that most people who bought a Keatley shirt, had no idea what Keatley was. They just liked how it looked. Some of my friends made up a different story every time someone asked them what Keatley was. I’ll never forget the time I was walking through the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and I saw someone who I didn’t know wearing a Keatley shirt. Crazy!
I don’t expect to sell thousands of shirts this time around, but I still think it’s an awesome design and a fun shirt. Instead of printing on 100% cotton this time around, we are using tri-blend material which is even more comfortable, and holds up better than cotton. It also has a slightly heather look to it, which gives it a vintage feel. Pick one up for yourself in the store and see what all the buzz is about. Thanks for reading the story. It’s fun for me to share since I haven’t really shared that story with too many people.