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I am often asked about how I got started making food pun tees. I’m not an artist and can’t draw or paint to save my life. I’ve always had a silly sense of humor that I credit my dad for. As a kid, I loved puns and still do today. Being in a food field, I seek out food-related swag for myself and for gifts for my colleagues.

I was in Old Navy one summer day getting a few things for my daughters when I saw a tee shirt that said, “breakfast, lunch, dinner” with the images of a doughnut, slice of pizza and a taco. Granted- these are all tasty vittles, but would I wear that shirt? Nope. For starters, it wasn’t very creative. I think I’d seen that same design somewhere else. Secondly, did I want to wear something that suggested eating more, less nutritious food? I realize the tee was a joke, but I failed to see the humor.

I started thinking about what tees would I wear? What would I want my messages to be? I met with a graphic designer and friend who had his own line of tee shirts. I wanted to pick his brain about how to start a tee biz and also bounce food pun ideas off of him. My mission was to make healthy food fun again. I wanted to use simple designs and font but have the messages be a tiny bit more cerebral and tongue and cheek, so to speak!

My first idea was Peas romaine seeded, which I made up while sitting on an airplane. I kept hearing the flight attendants say, “Please remain seated” so many times, that it just clicked. https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/peas-romaine-seeded-short-sleeve-t-shirt/ From there, I had a small run of 25 shirts printed for friends and family and had them test drive them. My printer is www.diyprintingshop.com/ in Walnut Hills. Aaron Kent has been great to work with and I highly recommend his print services!

Once Peas romaine was off the ground, the puns kept coming. This. Is. The. Wurst was made after the 2016 election results. It was my way of saying, “are you kidding me?” https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/this-is-the-wurst-short-sleeve-t-shirt/ Praise cheeses was also part of the initial collection because, I love cheese! https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/praise-cheeses-unisex-short-sleeve-t-shirt/

After a year of selling the tees in a few markets around the city (Clifton Market, EMC near Findlay Market (now closed), Jackson Whitacre (closed) and Kennedy Heights Arts gift shop, I decided they needed a purpose. I am passionate about food insecurity as well as nutrition education. Because nutrition impacts so many aspects of our livelihood and health, it’s important to have enough food and also to know how to prepare it.

The idea of Lettuce Beet Hunger hit me like a ton of bricks. https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/lettuce-beet-hunger-short-sleeve-t-shirt-2/ I decided to partner with Cooking for the Family in OTR. A program that provides a 5-week cooking class for $10 for families.Part of my proceeds go towards sponsoring students. While they are unable to operate currently due to the pandemic, proceeds that I have donated are going towards providing food for those who cannot afford it. https://www.sfsministries.org/our-ministries/cooking-for-the-family/

I initially had the tees in gray to give them a retro, gym class feel. I’ve since expanded to a few colors, but have kept the font the same for branding and consistency purposes. I started adding the puns to onesies, which I think make a great gift for friends, family or co-workers with new babies.

If you’re on the hunt for a fun gift, check out my shop and save 20% until Friday when you use code summer20 at check out. If nothing else, I hope the puns put a smile on your face!

A few styles of my tees can be found (in shops only) at the Civic Garden Center gift shop https://www.civicgardencenter.org/, Morsel and Nosh in Northside http://morselandnosh.com/ or at Kennedy Heights Arts gift shop. https://kennedyarts.org/

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