Fangirl Friday: Interview with the women behind Fangirl Shirts! PLUS GIVEAWAY!

AND the winners are…
Christina Baker and Brooke Dustin!

And please let’s do a round of applause for my neighbor, who agreed to draw the numbers out of a hat. 😀

Thanks, everybody, for playing and don’t forget to show fangirl love to Fangirl Shirts!

HEY, peeperas/-os! Welcome to another Fangirl Friday. This week, I’m super-duper excited because the powers behind the T-shirt company from which I’ve been buying nearly all of my fangirl shirts agreed to do an interview with me.

I follow the Wynonna Earp fandom, and that’s how I ran into Fangirl Shirts on Twitter (and as you’ll see below, Twitter is a major enabler of fangirls and fandom but WHATEVER WE LOVE IT) and started buying shirts. It might actually require intervention at this point…

Regardless, Rebecca and Sally are the women behind Fangirl Shirts, which they started out of a love for fandom, a love for fandoms that celebrate strong women, and a mission to give back to the communities that nurture all of us. To that end, as you’ll see, some of the proceeds of their shirt sales benefit particular charities. THIS, my friends, is why I love fandoms. So join me as we chat with the fab duo of Fangirl Shirts.

AND here is yet ANOTHER reason to luuuuuuv fandom and Fangirl Shirts. There are TWO FANGIRL SHIRTS up for winnin’! Winners’ choice of T-shirts from their main catalogue! If you want in on this groovy drawing, LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. Please provide your email address in the comment fill-out form but NOT in the comment body (we’re trying to save you from spam-bots). To peruse the shirts you may choose from,

FANGIRL SHIRTS MAIN CATALOGUE.

We’ll do the drawing WEDNESDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2016 at 9 PM EST. Good luck!

And now, without further ado, let us go hang out with the dynamic duo of Fangirl Shirts.

ANDI: So tell us how Fangirlshirts.com came about. Were the two of you just sitting around one day, watching specific programs wishing you had a T-shirt for a specific character or something and BOOM you had this idea? Inquiring minds!

FANGIRL SHIRTS: We met on Twitter because we were both fans of the show Lost Girl, and became fast friends. During the course of texting about anything and everything, we talked about something Rebecca had seen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – a segment where he seemed to be mocking fangirls and promulgating the stereotype that fangirls are vapid, overexcited airheads. She shared her idea with Sally – what about making a T-shirt that said “Fangirl” that everyone could wear proudly to reclaim the word?

Sally thought it was a great idea. Through many further brainstorming sessions, we hit upon the idea of making shirts in tribute to our favorite shows, using the font style of the show to make the shirt instantly recognizable. We hoped people would be able to identify fellow fangirls this way! So far, it’s working!

Fun fact: we formed Fangirl Shirts as a legal partnership before we had ever met each other in person!

This shirt gets Andi tons of comments and shared fangirling every time she wears it.
This shirt gets Andi tons of comments and shared fangirling every time she wears it.

ANDI: WOW about forming the partnership before meeting in person! Clearly, the planets aligned! And I will totally agree that it’s working. I’ve worn my FGS Star Wars tee all over the place and fellow fangirls and fanboys comment on it all the time. LOVE! So tell us about the philosophy (-ies) behind FGS.

FANGIRL SHIRTS: Both of us grew up knowing that we were nerds. We also each gradually came to realize that we were lesbians. Being a nerd has become almost cool these days, and being LGBTQ is more widely accepted in North America in 2016 than it was when we were teenagers, but it wasn’t like that during the 1980’s and ’90’s, and it took each of us some time to accept ourselves and reject everything that society had subtly inculcated about what was cool and what wasn’t.

So we know what it’s like to grow up feeling different. That’s a large part of why we wanted to create a company that makes space in fandom for women. We were tired of having to go to the men’s section of stores to buy our fanshirts. In fact, today it’s still difficult for us to buy our daughters a shirt with their favorite superheroes on them – something we hope changes during our lifetime.

It’s not only about T-shirts – we are fangirls and actively engage with fandom. If the thing you want doesn’t exist yet, then go out and make it happen!

Fangirl Shirts is about celebrating fangirls and strong female characters and promoting equality for girls and women. We want girls to grow up knowing that they deserve to be part of fandom just as much as boys do. We specifically design and create shirts for women, because our experience has been that most geek T-shirts are not designed for or marketed to women.

ANDI: I’d agree, though straight up, dudes’ shirts tend to fit me better because I’m a little broader across the shoulders and back than a lot of women’s clothing allows. Having said that, dudes’ shirts tend to be way longer than I like (I am not gifted in the lot-of-height department) so can I just say how much I love the V-neck shirts y’all have? LOVE! THEY FIT OMG. So tell us more about this community giving back you do.

FANGIRL SHIRTS: We both also feel a strong responsibility to try to make the world a better place. That’s why we earmark a portion of all the profits from our shirts to go to nonprofit organizations that are working to make the world a better place for girls and women. We chose four flagship nonprofits to donate to from all of our regular sales: The Women’s Sports Foundation, Girls Who Code, The Canadian Women’s Foundation, and Because I Am A Girl Canada. We wanted to put fangirl dollars to work both where we live (the USA and Canada) and internationally.

We also have done some special nonprofit fundraisers. When the character Lexa from The 100 was killed in a tired TV trope (lesbian killed after finally consummating her relationship in an eerie echo of how Tara was killed on Buffy), we created a special shirt for Lexa fangirls and donated half the profits to the Leskru’s fundraiser for The Trevor Project. As well, after the tragic mass shooting in Orlando at a nightclub for LGBTQ people, we created a special shirt inspired by Wynonna Earp to benefit Everytown For Gun Safety with 100% of the profits.

Peace Maker shirt to benefit Everytown, inspired by Wynonna Earp (courtesy of Fangirl Shirts)
Peace Maker shirt to benefit Everytown, inspired by Wynonna Earp (courtesy of Fangirl Shirts)

ANDI: I love that you do this, that you give back and help build community. That is one of the things that we here at WaW try to do, so I’m always on the lookout for others who do the same to get the word out. Thanks for all you’re doing. Also, don’t EVEN get me started on Lexa… ::ahem::

Your “About” page says, “We make T-shirts that celebrate being a fangirl.” So what, to you, is a “fangirl”?

FANGIRL SHIRTS: We think a fangirl is a girl or woman who is really passionate about something and is proud of it. Other than that, the term is pretty wide-open and fangirls get to self-identify and create their own identities. Do you like science fiction? A specific author’s work? Music? String theory? The sky is the limit.

ANDI: String cheese theory…hmmm…anyway! Fave childhood fangirl memory?

SALLY: Since I was in 7th grade, I have loved the mythic fiction written by Canadian author Charles de Lint. I read every book I could find of his in the library, and bought as many of his other books as my allowance would permit. My aunt taught me how to make dreamcatchers, and since dreams figure so prominently in his fiction, I made one for Charles de Lint and mailed it to him, along with a letter telling him how much I liked his stories and what they had meant to me. He wrote me back – a thoughtful handwritten letter, and he also included a signed chapbook. I hadn’t expected to necessarily get any response at all, but to receive a personal letter! I was blown away. 30 years later, Charles de Lint still has a fan for life.

ANDI: I love that story. And thank you to Charles de Lint for engaging with a fangirl.

REBECCA: I grew up with an older sister and a younger brother, and always thought that my brother’s toys and action figures were more interesting, and more fun, than the toys I had to play with. He-Man, Transformers, GI-Joe, Voltron, and Lego to name a few. We’d play for hours and make up all kinds of games and scenarios, but it wasn’t until I was given a Teela action figure from the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series for my birthday one year that I first felt like those toys were really meant for me, too.

Teela from Masters of the Universe (as far as we're concerned, she IS the master of the universe...source)
Teela from Masters of the Universe (as far as we’re concerned, she IS the master of the universe…source)

ANDI: I love that you regularly design new shirts and take suggestions and input from those of us on the outside. One of those shirts (which I own, because I’m pretty much probably supporting your company single-handedly) is the #FANDRAS shirt, and I LOVE this. That’s a fangirl shirt for fans of the TV writer, producer, and showrunner Emily Andras, of Lost Girl and Wynonna Earp fame, though she’s written and produced for Killjoys, among myriad others. I love the idea of fangirling over TV writers/producers that walk the walk when it comes to strong women and queer characters (without reducing them to that horrible trope to which Lexa succumbed). How did that idea come about, to honor a writer with a fangirl shirt?

FANGIRL SHIRTS: We have been fans of Emily Andras since we watched Lost Girl. Since relationships and portmanteaus were such a big part of the twitter fandom culture surrounding Lost Girl (think “Doccubus” and “DyBo”), it seemed only natural to start saying that we were Fandras (Fans of Emily Andras). Then during Wynonna Earp, we revived the term on Twitter and had tweeted it during the course of several months of watching the show. It didn’t really take off until we mentioned it on one of the post-show live chats where Emily Andras had joined (“Whiskey and Doughtnuts,” run by Bonnie and Kevin of @WynonnaFans and @WynonnaEarpPod). A few other Earpers jumped in and started using the hashtag along with us, and within a few days, @actually_layne tweeted out her awesome design and we fell in love with it. She agreed to let us put it on a shirt, and the rest is history!

The most awesome #FANDRAS shirt.
The most awesome #FANDRAS shirt.

ANDI: I’m #FANDRAS-ing all over again.

FANGIRL SHIRTS: That’s how it happened, but let’s also tell you why: Emily Andras is awesome. While writers and showrunners by definition work behind the (literal) scenes of a TV show, they also have a huge hand in some really important things. First, story direction and characterization for the show – both for individual episodes, and in the case of the showrunner, for the entire season’s arc and how it advances the theme of the entire series.

The writer weaves the characters into the story and gives the actors source material to bring the characters to life. The showrunner is the boss of everyone and creates an environment where people can come together to create something. Emily does both of these things for Wynonna Earp, writing and showrunning, and she does them both excellently. She’s written our favorite episodes. She’s created characters who we love, who have made us laugh and cry, who are brave and flawed and doing their best. She’s also written storylines that are interesting and keep us coming back to find out what will happen next.

FANGIRL SHIRTS would like to alert you, the readers, to spoilers in the next paragraph. But it’s okay because I already spoiled this in a different Fangirl Friday. 😀

And one thing that makes all of this extra-special to us is that she’s done all that without resorting to any tired tropes for the LGBTQ character in Wynonna Earp – Nicole Haught. Nicole gets to be a complex character. She’s Waverly’s girlfriend, but she’s also more than that – she spends time bonding with Wynonna and the other characters, as well. And in an especially tough year for LGBTQ characters on TV (2016 saw more queer character deaths than ever before), Emily had written an episode that had Nicole Haught wearing a bulletproof vest, which saved her life when she got shot. As Nicole said afterward, “Well, it’s standard procedure.”

Indeed.

Emily is also super-nice, super-funny, and super-good about interacting with as many fans as she can. She’s a very special person.

ANDI: I would agree with all of that. ALL.OF.THAT. And yes, it was a horrible year for queer characters on TV. HORRIBLE. And then along came Wynonna Earp and the #WayHaught ship and I tell you what, after what happened with Lexa, I can honestly say that Wynonna and WayHaught healed part of my broken-up Lexa heart.

Shameless gratuitous photo of WayHaught (Waverly Earp on the left, Nicole Haught on the right).
Shameless gratuitous photo of WayHaught (Waverly Earp on the left, Nicole Haught on the right).

Speaking of, I also love that you do fangirl ship T-shirts. You’ve got one for the Wynonna Earp WayHaught ship (and yes, I own one of these, too…any chance we can get a Clexa ship shirt? 😀 ) Anyway, whose idea was the ship shirt (say that 5 times fast…dare you) and do you have more of those on the horizon?

FANGIRL SHIRTS: Our friend Bonnie (@WynonnaFans on Twitter) had designed a really cool shirt that was a word cloud in the shape of a heart and had the names of characters and objects from the show. She made it for herself at first, but fan reaction was swift (“I want one toooo!!!”), so we approached Bonnie about helping to make her design available. While talking about that, Rebecca also suggested doing a WayHaught shirt as well. We’re a lesbian-owned company and we loved the idea of celebrating this relationship for many reasons.

The WayHaught word bubble, friends, that you can get as a sticker or on a shirt. source
The WayHaught word bubble, friends, that you can get as a sticker or on a shirt. source

We’re huge fans of the Clexa relationship, and we have some ideas in the works for a Clexa shirt. Stay tuned!

ANDI: I am totes staying tuned. TOTES. All right. FGS also does “ConPacks,” for the discerning convention-goer/fangirl. Are conventions something that FGS plans to make a habit of, and if so, how will that figure into long-term FGS plans? (plus, I want to come and help at the conventions…lol)

FANGIRL SHIRTS: We are excited to be able to offer ConPacks, and since we sell fangirl-branded lanyards, that’s really the linchpin of the ConPack, since anyone who has been at a con knows you need your badge on you at all times. We offer ConPacks for the fandoms in which we have both a shirt and stickers (along with a lanyard), and the more stickers we produce, the more ConPacks we can offer!

We would love to attend as many conventions as we can in the months and years ahead. We both are parents of three kids and have other full-time jobs as well, so it’s a balancing act right now. We’re thinking about what conventions we’d like to attend and in what capacity (panelists, vendors, attendees). Whatever we decide, we’ll definitely be fangirling and doing our best to Periscope, live-tweet and blog about our experiences so others can get a feel for the events.

Super Earper conpack!
Super Earper conpack!

We had the most incredible experience at SDCC [Andi note: Comic-Con International in San Diego] this summer, our first con together representing FGS, and that we had the opportunity to speak on a panel about the role that fangirls are playing in changing geek culture in positive ways for girls and women in fandom from the ground up.

ANDI: I have been a Comic-Can’t [those who can’t go to comic-cons] for SDCC for-evah, it seems. Trying to get into that. Maybe I’ll get a ticket as a holiday gift! LOL hint hint hinty-hint hint…

Anyway, what are your fave thing(s) about FGS?

FANGIRL SHIRTS:
Getting to do this dream job with our BFF
Getting to meet and interact with so many cool fans
Getting to create designs that help bring fans together
Contributing to a sense of community and family around the shows that we love
Designing products made specifically for fangirls, by fangirls

ANDI: All of that and more. So what’s in store (see what I did there?) next for FGS? That is, what new projects do you have in the works (don’t tell us if you’d have to kill us), and what’s your ultimate dream project?

FANGIRL SHIRTS: If there’s one thing we like, it’s a good pun! What’s next? We’re going to be proposing a panel idea about fan engagement to a couple of cons for 2017, and we’re working on some blog posts for fangirlshirts.com. And of course, we are thinking about what our next shirts and fandoms will be. The last time we made a batch of new shirts, we ran a poll asking people about their favorite fandoms, which was a fun way to interact with fans!

Fangirl Shirts *is* a dream project for both of us, so, more of that! Establishing Fangirl Shirts as a well-known entity within fandoms, getting to reach out at different levels of geek culture and help increase the visibility of shows that are giving us the strong female characters we love.
____
BOOM! What about THAT, my friends? How’s THAT for a business you can love? Great shirts, great owners, great community.

Thanks TONS to Rebecca and Sally of FGS for joining me at Women and Words.

So if you, like me, love to fangirl and wear it proud, please consider Fangirl Shirts as your shirt, sticker, and conpack stop. You’ll not only be supporting a great business, but all the great things they’re doing for community. And if you know fangirls in your circle, turn ’em on to Fangirl Shirts. Share the luv! And may the odds be ever in your favor.

WHERE TO FIND FANGIRL SHIRTS

WEBSITE
TWITTER (@fangirlshirts)
FACEBOOK (or, for you Lost Girl fans, faebook)
INSTAGRAM
PINTEREST

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57 thoughts on “Fangirl Friday: Interview with the women behind Fangirl Shirts! PLUS GIVEAWAY!

  1. I love Fangirl shirts so much and had the pleasure of meeting Sally at FanExpo. Reading this interview made me adore them even more. Coming out happens in so many different ways, and finding yourself surrounded by queer fangirls when you thought maybe you were the only one is a delightful experience. Thanks for doing this interview!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this interview – first came across fangirlshirts when they created the Peacemaker tshirt in the wake of the Orlando shooting and have been a big fan ever since and love Sally’s puns. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview! Really enjoyed reading it, thank you. The shirts and stickers are pretty amazing. I’m a proud owner of several shirts and this cool con pack. They ship international which is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great interview! I really enjoyed reading ever bit of it and the part on how they met. I just love their shirts, all of them are pretty awesome 😀 thanks for writing this interview and thank you fangirl shirts for making awesome t-shirts 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great interview! I’m a huge fangirl of Fangirlshirts. Couldn’t be happier with the t-shirts I got so far! Can’t wait to see what’s next in store. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great interview. Thanks for doing this, I have been a fan girl(see what I did there) of fangirl shirts since Lost Girl. I have several shirts from them. Sally and Rebecca are awesome ladies.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t been a fangirlshirts fan for long, but I can tell you now that I am one for life! I was repping them at NYCC and am looking forward to repping them at future cons! This was a great interview! So proud to be a fan! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Firstly I have to say a big THANK YOU to you Andi for making me find out about Lost Girl and The 100. It is because of you my wife and I have binged watched as many seasons of these shows as we can find! Now I’m fan-girling big time over Dr Lauren and Bo and of course Clexa!
    Now I have more thanks to give you for pointing me in the direction of FangirlShirts!
    How cool are they! Brilliant!
    Andi and Jove you rock!
    PS loved this interview and the one with Cheyenne Blue 🤓😍

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a wonderful company. I could relate to much of what the women talked about in the interview. I love my Peacemaker shirt and want to order more shirts. Hope they are around for years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think the real question is.. Is there a fangirls fan shirt? I had no idea of everything that they do WOW. Nd that fandras shirt is pretty funny 😂😂 and totally on point!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Stellar interview! Sally and Rebecca are the bomb, their T-shirts are phenomenal and fun, and they support the smartest and coolest fandoms. Just one quibble: Fandras is not a thing. It is an affront to Nature — the same Nature that gave us pretty, pretty actors to admire. Onscreen. Where the people who want to be famous go. So, y’know. Stop.

    But keep watching Wynonna Earp, let’s not get crazy here.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So…I’m guessing if you win, no #FANDRAS shirt for you. 😉 Although I have a feeling FGS has already hooked you up with several…

    Thanks for stopping by, secret identity person. 😀

    Like

  13. LMAO!!! OMG that was the funniest blog I’ve read in a long time!!! Yum, yum, want me one…a Fangirl shirt that is… what an awesome, smile-inciting biz😆😜👏 Loved reading this blog!!!

    Like

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