RIPT Apparel: How We're Growing With SMS

Published: April 18th, 2020
TJ Mapes
Founder, RIPT Apparel
RIPT Apparel
from Chicago, Illinois, USA
started June 2009
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Email marketing
business model
best tools
Shopify, Twitter, Pinterest
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
14 Tips
Discover what tools TJ recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books TJ recommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hey everyone, I’m TJ Mapes, founder of RIPT Apparel. We partner with independent artists all over the world and sell their artwork on t-shirts, hoodies, posters, and more in our marketplace. A portion of every sale goes back to them and we’ve worked with 10,000’s of artists over the years.

Our bread and butter really are our daily deals. Everyday at midnight CST, three new designs by three new artists go live at a deep discount. T-Shirts start at just $14 for instance.


When I think about all we’ve done over the years, I am most proud that we’ve paid our artist community multiple millions of dollars. Many of our artists do this full time, while many do it on the side, and we want to help them no matter their situation.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since we last spoke, we’ve really been trying to tighten things up and become as efficient as possible. We’ve been testing out SMS. Right now we’ve only tested automated campaigns like abandoned cart sequences etc, but the results are pretty promising.

The faster you can launch initiatives, the faster you can measure the results and make decisions, and also find losers


I literally installed SMSbump, followed the directions for becoming compliant, and built out a quickly abandoned cart sequence and left it alone.

Our ROI in the last 30 days on the $11.05 we’ve spent is just, well, ridiculous. Suffice it to say, I’ll be doing much more testing with SMS and will be diving in much deeper in 2020.

We haven’t launched any new products or hired any new employees (unfortunately) but did recently launch a new charitable initiative I’m pretty proud of and frankly want more people to know about.

As a global community, we are battling something unprecedented and coming together to help one another has never been more important.

That’s why we partnered with Shop for Good by DailyKarma. They have an amazing Shopify app that makes it incredibly easy to work with charities.

Now when you checkout at, you can round-up your purchase and donate it to charity!


We’ve selected three charities: Meals On Wheels America, Greater Chicago Food Depository and No Kid Hungry.

We’ve had this live for a little over a week and have already brought in hundreds of dollars for these great causes.

I think we may continue doing this in perpetuity and have even talked about choosing new causes every month to help as many people as possible.



What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Right now, with the things going on in the world, I’m not able to think super long term so we’re staying the course and doing our best to navigate these rough waters so we can come out afloat post-pandemic.

I don’t want to talk about that all day because you can’t turn a tv or radio on without hearing about it, but it has been tough and has taken a toll on many industries, including ours. Our sales have been affected negatively, but all we can do it keep on keepin’ on!

My main short term goal is to explore advertising on google and even increase our budgets if possible on all other paid channels since inventory is high and costs are low right now.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

I have a lot of great podcast recommendations, here they are:

  1. The Commerce Lab
  2. Honest Ecommerce
  3. Future Commerce
  4. Wavebreak Podcast
  5. The Default Podcast
  6. DTC Growth
  7. The DTC Podcast
  8. eCommerce Fastlane
  9. Business Wars (great for easy listening and learning)
  10. The Pitch (audio version of Shark Tank)
  11. Next Level Facebook Ads
  12. Robinhood Snacks Daily

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

My advice to struggling entrepreneurs is just moving forward. Toss perfection out the window and “just ship” as they say.

The faster you can launch initiatives, the faster you can measure the results and make decisions, and also find losers.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!


I just want to thank all our loyal customers! We wouldn’t be here without you and we hope you are all safe and healthy!

Want to start an online t-shirt business? Learn more ➜