An Interview with SANSHEE: An online store for any Fan!
If you’re looking for unique and cool products to support your favorite fandom, check out www.Sanshee.com. The company is taking the pop culture merchandise world by storm with original, fan-inspired designs on a variety of items. Sanshee offers a variety of shirts, jewelry, stickers, and other cool items. Saturday AM caught up with Sanshee to talk about their fan centered business and comic convention invasion.
Saturday AM: The slogan “Wear the Culture!” is perfect, but how did you come up with the name Sanshee?
Sanshee: There were three business partners originally. It's a play on the numbers three and four, of a sort. Also, pretty much every name ever on the internet was taken, so this was the next best thing!
Saturday AM: What is your most popular product sold? Design?
Sanshee: Our most popular product sold would be our Vigor Pins, designed for Irrational Games' Bioshock Infinite. Coming in at a close second would be our Mabari plush, designed for Bioware's Dragon Age. As far as designs go, the N7 shirts that we have for Bioware's Mass Effect are great, because we have a male and a female version just like in the game; customers really seem to enjoy having the option to choose which version of Shepard they like.
Saturday AM: How do you decide on introducing new designs? What is your creative designing process?
Sanshee: Since Sanshee is a company founded by fans, a lot of our decisions on creating new designs are based around what we would like to see in products. The design process usually starts around someone (usually Arty) who brings up an idea. From there it's refined onto paper and then collaboration with an artist is done until a finalized concept is created and presented to the applicable company.
Saturday AM: I love vintage designs, but I also love bright, colorful designs. You seem to have the best of both worlds. What elements do you strive to hit with each design?
Sanshee: What we really try to do is match the designs of the products against the game or comic or show that we're designing for. Giving the same feel as the original while still putting our own spin on it is what we try to aim for when we're creating products.
Saturday AM: You have a forum section on your site, which is quite uncommon for stores. What was the reasoning to incorporate it?
Sanshee: We're a community based company. Having some sort of means to speak to the community and have the community speak back is important to us as a whole. We are working on revamping the forums and getting it up and running so it's more interactive, and we can interact with our fans even more—that’s really important to us.
Saturday AM: You attend many comic conventions throughout the year, in addition to selling online. Does this allow you to hear and work off of consumers and fans?
Sanshee: Our fans are a big source of inspiration. Some of the conversations we have at conventions are fantastic: someone will say, "I wish someone created X" and a lot of the time we have already put something similar through the design process, and we're able to say, "Hey, we're doing that!"
Saturday AM: Which convention is your favorite and why?
Sanshee: The PAXes—all of them—because the feel and the vibe of the convention is so fantastic. There are so many enthusiastic fans all gathered in one place, all excited about the same things. It's great to be surrounded by that.
Saturday AM: How did the Pax East Sanshee Block Party come about? Was this year’s party fun and bigger than last year?
Sanshee: We wanted to find a way to facilitate a hangout with all of our fans and thank them for their support. PAX is great because it allows a lot of flexibility in doing so, and so the Block Party was brought around. This most recent year's party was great, and next year will be even better.
Saturday AM: Are there products you hope to add to Sanshee in the future?
Sanshee: Yes! There's a lot of good stuff coming down the pipeline—nothing we can talk about yet, but expect to see some of it at some of the big summer conventions coming up!
Saturday AM: What advice would you give artists wanting to print their designs on shirts and other products?
Sanshee: Figure out what you like and what you want to see in the products you design, and speak to the community. Have an idea that you're passionate about and then listen to feedback as it's given, because the community will end up being the best sounding board as well as the ultimate end user/buyer for your product. If you're dialed into them, you can do a lot of great stuff.
This interview conducted by Frederick L. Jones and Kasey Michael