A Letter From Our CEO.
There are some questions as to my whereabouts this weekend and the forty-three hours of “radio silence” on the JeShirt Twitter feed and Facebook Like page. It is my intent with this note to clear things up.
Early Friday, we released a statement about the “Turkey shirt” debacle. It marked the end of a difficult (to put it mildly) first week, which began with a flurry of confusion over the image on our popular "Che Leno" novelty T-Shirt and the hasty release of our follow-up, the "Jay Guevara". I had the hope that it would also mark the beginning of a new chapter for this company, one in which we were defined by the fun, clever products we offer and not by mismanagement and my own personal struggles. I began Friday with a new sense of purpose and a firm belief that things were looking up.
This feeling did not last long.
For one, the cold reality of the financial situation that this company has put me in is still a very real concern. This in mind, I took a meeting with the manager of the storage unit in which I am keeping the shirts to see if I could get a discount because the door of the unit was severely damaged last week. He listened to my pleas silently for a good ten minutes, then told me he had read our company blog and knew full well that it was me who damaged the door, backing into it with my car while inebriated. This was extremely humiliating. He also demanded that I pay for a new door. Strike one.
I took this gentleman over to the unit itself to show him that the damage was only superficial and we got into a dispute because he disagreed. It was at this point that I noticed the smell. It became clear that one or more vagrants had been lured to the unit by the sandwich and chips I had hurriedly left on the pile of shirts when I ran out in a panic Thanksgiving evening. With easy access because of the busted door, they had turned the place into their personal bathroom/”F-palace”/what-have-you. The result is a massive amount of damaged T-Shirt inventory, some of which is, at this point, borderline unsellable. Strike two.
I spent the next hour making a temporary door out of nearby scrap wood and nailing it to the unit. I then returned to my car to check some sales numbers on my laptop. To my surprise, the JeShirt inbox was blowing up! I tweeted, with a momentary (false) sense of hope. But instead of orders, this is what I found:
So apparently, whoever runs the "Kenny Powers" twitter feed promised his followers a “free signed Jersey” to the hundredth person who emailed the company account to fire me. I was literally in shock. Now, I have worked in comedy for a while and I’m friendly with some of the “Eastbound and Down” guys, and as far as I know they do not run that twitter account. So I have no idea who this is or what he has against me or my company. And he wants me to step down? Let’s get this straight:
I will do no such thing. I built this company. I am this company.
I went into a rage. I basically flipped out. I drove to 7-11 to buy some alcohol. There was a cop on line in front of me who noticed the "Che Leno" shirt I was wearing and asked me, with a smirk/chuckle, if it was a picture of “Ron Perlman or an ape”. I was not in the mood to joke around about something that has literally turned my life to shit. I got in a verbal dispute with the officer and allegedly assaulted him. While he was still on the ground, I fled and drove back to the storage unit as fast as I could. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. Strikes three and four. (hitting the cop and fleeing the scene)
At this point, things took a real turn for the worse.
Before you read further, please understand that I was out of control. I was panicking. I was not myself. I am not proud of this behavior. I snapped.
I barricaded myself in the unit as sirens approached. In an insane frenzy, I attempted to fashion a makeshift noose out of four JeShirts. The cops were sadly able to get the door open before I could “finish the job”. I was arrested and spent the weekend locked up. Perhaps the most bitter part of all of this was spending “Small Business Saturday,” a day which I had hoped would be spent celebrating everything we have achieved with JeShirt so far, in a depressing jail cell. A day also during which, might I add, not a SINGLE order was placed for ANY of our shirts, so thanks a lot for that.
I was released on Sunday but was - shocker - not exactly welcomed with open arms at my home/JeShirt HQ. Last night, I decided to move operations to my new room at the Claremont Home For Men in Claremont, CA. My buddy Ray works there and has been kind enough to let me stay while this is all being sorted out.
It is no easy task to launch a small business, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this endeavor has been particularly trying. But I am steadfast in my resolve and I will not waver. Yes, I have made mistakes. Big mistakes. But I cannot spend my entire life apologizing.
I have a T-Shirt business to run.
If this company is to continue to grow and evolve, we must begin the process of putting this bumpy first week behind us. We are on the cusp of the next big step in the JeShirt journey. I do hope you’ll take it with me.
Also: In an attempt to have at least some good come out of this, we have decided to offer the actual one-of-a-kind JeShirt noose for sale on our site, for a limited time.
Please check it out, and please, PLEASE buy some of these shirts.
- Jason Samuel Woliner