Gettin’ The Skinny is back with another great interview! Today, I’m happy to turn the tables on Threadless’ intrepid content manager/writer Carlyn (aka Carly) Hill.
. . .
GTS: Welcome to Gettin’ The Skinny, Carlyn! Thank you for taking the time to chat.
Carlyn: Of course! You’ve turned the tables, I’m usually the ones asking the Qs!
GTS: You’ve certainly set a high bar! What does a day in the life of Carlyn Hill working at Threadless look like?
Carlyn: I like to start it by ceremoniously diving into a pile of t-shirts I keep near my desk. After that, every day brings its own unique things to do! That’s one thing I love about working here – the daily routine usually consists of writing (or coming up with) blog posts for the week or month (I do a minimum of five a week), sending out interviews, looking for new artists to feature, etc. But because all of our artists are so different, every day feels wholly unique! That and cracking up about stuff on Slack – that’s always a fun daily thing.
GTS: What are some of the biggest hurdles about producing so much content?
Carlyn: Creative burnout! That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for when I started writing professionally. I’ve always been a writer – whether we’re talkin’ a 90 page Avatar: the Last Airbender fanfiction in high school (for real) or personal essays, I love to write. It’s like that line in Chekhov’s The Seagull – “I must write, I must write, I must!” But I’ve definitely needed to make sure I’m recharging my creative brain. Because the way I see it, ANYTHING can be potential content inspiration, so it’s hard to turn off the working writer brain. Also, drawing actually really helps. I’ve been doing a lot more drawing outside of work when I’m too tired to write my own personal pieces. It’s like productive procrastination.
GTS: You definitely have some solid illustration skills. What got you into drawing?
Carlyn: Thank you! I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon – Instead of socializing at family dinners, I would bring paper and pencils and draw at restaurants. Pretty sure I could’ve benefitted from the social skills, but it built up my drawing skills pretty well! I think actually Avatar: The Last Airbender kicked my art into shape because I fell in love with the style, and actually working at Threadless is what got me drawing more regularly for the first time since maybe college.
There are so many inspiring artists in the online community, but also in the office! I’m surrounded by artists who are all really encouraging and awesome and inspire me everyday to keep drawing.
GTS: What artists (Threadless or non-Threadless) inspire you?
Carlyn: Oh man, so many. For Threadless and Artist Shop artists, I’d have to say Anna Syvertsson, Eliza Gauger, Tara McPherson, Haypeep, Maggie Chiang, Camilla Chew, Hillary White Rabbit, Lisa Hanawalt. and Steven Rhodes. They all just have such awesome and unique styles that inspire me to try to find my own. As far as non-Threadless artists, Loish and Grace Liu are two that always inspire me.
GTS: In addition to pen and paper, I see that you’ve added a microphone to your creative arsenal. Can you shed some light on what Threadless fans can expect from the brand new podcast?
Carlyn: Indeed! We’re all so excited about the podcast here and I’m so stoked to be a part of it. What’s so fun about the podcast is that we’re not just talking to artists – we’re talking to musicians, actors, writers, game developers, creatives from ALL fields. There’s so much that can be learned from creatives in other fields separate from our own. And you never know where a conversation is going to go. We’ll start a ‘cast talking about one thing – like game development with “Journey’s” Robin Hunicke – and end up talking about mindfulness, or how to live a full life. So on the podcast, there’s going to be something for everyone.
GTS: Speaking of everyone, I’ve asked fellow Threadheads to submit some questions for you. Ready?
Carlyn: DO IT!
GTS: sleepydolphin wants to know: What Internet thing gives you a belly laugh every time you see/read/watch it?
Carlyn: I’m gonna have to say 1: The Titanic theme song being played on a recorder, that never fails to make me grow abs from laughing so hard, 2: Jeff Goldblum’s Jurassic Park laugh extended, 3: anything Britanick does on Youtube (they’re writing for SNL now and totally deserve it), and 4: bird videos. Birds crack me up, I’ve probably watched the birds of paradise part of Planet Earth 30 times.
GTS: csweiler asked: What’s your favorite city to visit?
Carlyn: As far as cities, I think Vancouver and San Francisco have left the biggest impressions on me – and right here in Chicago, I’m a sucker for my own city! But favorite place to visit would have to be New Orleans, hands down. I visited there for the first time this year and oh man…there’s no place like it!
GTS: This one is from your Threadless colleague lxromero: If you had to pick 3 Threadstaffers to survive the zombie apocalypse with, who would they be and why?
Carlynn: I was just waiting for a Luis question! Haha, this is a tough one! I think it would have to be Luis (FINE!) because we would probably just drive the zombies away with bad pun battles, Betsy on our digital team because she’s a badass rock climber and would be the designated fighter of this apocalypse team, and Nikki our photographer, because she would take awesome pictures of the whole thing (and is also a badass).
GTS: Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite game of judgment…PICK ONE. I’ll give you two things to choose from and you pick one.
Carlyn: YASSS! LET JUDGMENT DAY BEGIN!
GTS: Owls or Vowels?
Carlyn: Owls, which also starts with a vowel! Best of both worlds!
GTS: Tornado or Hurricane?
GTS: X-Ray Vision or Super Strength?
Carlyn: Super Strength.
GTS: Grill or Chill?
Carlyn: Grill (then chill).
GTS: Pins or Buttons?
GTS: They Way Things Were or The Way Things Might Be?
Carlyn: The way things might be.
GTS: Chicken Wings or Onion Rings?
Carlyn: Some sweet sweet bbq chicken wings.
GTS: Rick or Morty?
GTS: Cabernet or Merlot?
GTS: Fire or Ice?
GTS: Carlyn – thank you for taking the time to chat today. Before we unplug this jukebox, are there any words of wisdom you’d like to share with the Threadless community?
Carlyn: Thank YOU! And words of wisdom hmm…create work for yourself! I think we can all get wrapped up in creating work we think other people want to see and while that’s ok sometimes, always be sure you’re doing work for you too – feed your own creative soul.
Andrew Gregory (aka lunchboxbrain) is a creative mastermind living and working in Upstate New York. View my work at www.lunchboxbrain.com.