I Am Tim Hoover

Product, design and life in BK/SF.

2011 – 2014

The People's Pennant

The People’s Pennant elevated the pennant from the confines of sports to celebrate the greatness of everyday. A business created for the purpose of learning business, TPP was an experiment—one that ultimately succeeded in its failure.

Collaborators: Jessica Karle, Eric R. Mortensen

 

Kern and Burn allowed me to talk to the best design entrepreneurs in the world. I got to hear their stories, uncover their fears, and document how they overcame the challenges of starting ventures for themselves. The beginning of my project was filled with talking and writing and an attempt to learn by listening. Though valuable, I felt like I wasn’t taking the advice I was writing about. Halfway through the project Jess and I decided we needed to learn by doing and start a business ourselves. We created The People’s Pennant.

We wondered if we could recreate the nostalgia of classic sports pennants—felt triangles that hold memories of baseball games and county fairs, championships and college wins. Could these design artifacts celebrate the little moments in our lives too? Could we use pennants as a new medium for illustrative expression? Would people pay a premium for high quality, hand-sewn pennants? In a month long sprint we scraped together a bit of capital, pitched the idea to our illustrator friends, and threw together a brand and website. We located a factory and somehow convinced them to lower their minimums and become our partners. I learned how to develop Shopify templates and read some blog posts about inventory management. My friends Eric and Jess designed the brand and custom packaging. We opened a business account and anxiously placed our first order.

We collaborated with many of favorite illustrators including the Heads of State, Richard Perez, Ken Barber, Mikey Burton, Eight Hour Day, Invisible Creature, Always With Honor, and Brent Couchman. Each illustrator was asked to choose a uncelebrated moment in their lives and design a 2 color pennant.

We used the initial capital to run three pennants at launch and then released a new design every month after that. Staggering the launches allowed us to use the money from previous sales to fund additional inventory. At the time we were broke. But we learned a lot about inventory management and how to build buzz for launches.

Illustrators were open to make the pennants about anything they wanted to celebrate. Ken Barber celebrated the Coffee Break. Eight Hour Day celebrated Happy Hour. And Mikey Burton illustrated the crowd-favorite, Pizza Time pennant, complete with pepperoni, mushrooms, and peppers.

Brand & Packaging

We designed a system to bring a personal touch to each package and emphasize the hand-made quality of the pennant, and the people behind its creation. Each pennant was folded, wrapped, and delivered with a letter-pressed card, numbered for the edition. We printed the cards in bulk, made custom rubber stamps and inked each card with the name of the illustrator, and finished by punching a hole, much like you would a ticket, to mark the design ordered. Each pennant ran in an edition of 250.

Factory

After a few internet searches and phone calls, we road-tripped to western Pennsylvania and signed with a factory. They specialize in T-shirt printing and felt products for universities and big companies. We produced the video below to give our customers a peek into the manufacturing process.

Winding Down

After a few years of running The People's Pennant we decided it was time to close it down. Other pennant companies had spun up and offered custom printing and cheaper prices. The lessons we learned made the project successful in our eyes, but it started to take more time than it was worth. The site itself is closed but we continue to maintain a relationship with Best Made Co. and produce custom flags for their adventures.

Projects and Experiences

Canary

VP of Product and Design

Canary Flex

VP of Product and Design

Canary Apps

VP of Product and Design

Kern and Burn: The Book

Crowd-funder. Writer. Self-Publisher.

IDEO

Designer. Researcher. Learner.

The Infantree.

Co-Founder. Partner.

Hatch Show Print

Printmaker. Typesetter.