Monday, November 30, 2015

Me So Hapa Reviews 6 Degrees of Hapa!

One of the best things about being the owner of a small business that is focused on celebrating mixed cultures and spreading a little Hapa pride is that I get to meet other Hapas! 

I don't always get to meet other Hapas face to face, but with the world wide web, it's easy to talk to Hapas who live all the way across the country, or even in a different part of the world entirely! Recently, Hapa blogger and actress Alex Chester found 6 Degrees of Hapa's Twitter account and started tagging us in tweets saying she'd love to review our tees and hats.

It was an offer that would be hard to pass up, especially after taking a look at Alex's blog, Me So Hapa, and seeing what awesome posts she's written! 

Take a look at Alex's review of her new 6 Degrees of Hapa swag here and stay tuned for an interview Alex did with me about my small business and being Hapa!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Upcoming Bay Area Pop-Ups

If you're the type of person who likes to try before you buy, come get your 6º of Hapa fix at our fall and winter pop-ups!

Visit us at...

Asian Accents' 21st Annual Eden Holiday Craft Show
When: Saturday, October 3, 2015
Where: Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro, CA

Crafty Foxes
When: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015
Where: Joan Pisani Community Center, 19655 Allendale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070

Palo Alto Artistry Faire
When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015
Where: Palo Alto Buddhist Temple Gymnasium, 2751 Louis Road, Palo Alto, CA

JAMsj Winter Boutique
When: Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015
Where: Burnett Academy Gymnasium, 850 N. 2nd St., San Jose, CA

Kimochikai Silver Bells Arts & Crafts and Food Faire
When: Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015
Where: The Event Center at St. Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Gough St., San Francisco, CA

Keep an eye out, we may be squeezing even more pop-ups into our schedule!

See you there!

6º of Hapa

Behind the Scenes: Screen Printing with Naomi

Most of the time, I don't think people have much of an idea about how t-shirts get made.

This is a shirt.

Well, I'd always been interested in screen printing and last summer, I decided to teach myself how to do it. This involved a lot of YouTube videos, watching Ryonet's screen printing tutorials over and over again and pulling all-nighters trying to burn screens correctly. But after a lot of profanity (sorry, kids, but it's true) and trial and error, I got the hang of it. 

Each time I screen print, the factors change a little, such as what material I'm printing on, what consistency the color ink I'm using is, if it's too hot or too cold, etc. Since I print in my garage, the temperature isn't something I can regulate. It can be a little frustrating. 

So some days are good print days and some days are bad print days. But the days that are good print days make it all worth it -- especially when I get to see my latest designs printed up and looking crisp on new tees.

Unfortunately I can't do my multi-color designs myself, since that would be a very big investment in equipment and I definitely don't have enough space in my garage either! But all the one color tees you see are done by me.

Here's a little rough crash course on the process...

First, I draw up my design, usually by hand and then I re-draw it in Adobe Illustrator. I like to draw my designs in full color and then translate them into just black and white (this took some practice to visualize what would look best). 

This is important in order to create my silk screen. I have to print my image onto a transparency and any part on the transparency that is black will become the area that the ink pass through when I'm actually screen printing. These areas will become the design!

Next, I tape my transparency to my silk screen... IN COMPLETE DARKNESS... Except a little yellow bug light. Before this step, I had to prep my blank silk screen by coating it in a very viscous, pain in the bum emulsion that is light sensitive and let it dry overnight (By overnight, I mean I set an alarm for 5am so I can go put the silk screens in dark garbage bags before the sun comes up).

Then... LET THERE BE LIGHT! I expose the transparency and silk screen to UV light for 13 minutes (shown below), and this causes the areas of the silk screen that are being hit directly by light to harden.

It's almost as fun as watching a lava lamp.

The areas covered by the black portions of the design don't harden and I have to turn the UV light back off and, in the dark garage, wash the screen with a garden hose in a sink. The point of this is to wash it just enough for the areas of unhardened emulsion to rinse out. This is where I tend to get the most stressed out in the process and when bad things happen. Like when I go to rinse it off and the entire screen starts foaming and all of the emulsion starts flaking off. Good times.

If all goes well, I let it dry and ta-da! I have a brand new screen that's ready to print!

Success! Usually I have to go have a drink to calm
my nerves after this part. Just kidding.

Next up, I've got myself a little one-arm screen printing press that does the job pretty well.

For me, the actual screen printing is the fastest part, 
unless it's 100º outside and I forgot to check the weather 
before starting to print.

First, I prep everything, like taping the silk screen so the areas that aren't covered in emulsion and aren't part of the design don't end up printing on the garment, putting adhesive on the surface of the printing platen so the tees stick to that and not the screen, and all that sort of stuff. 

Then comes the fun part! I flood the screen with ink, lay down a tee or whatever I'm printing on and use my trusty squeegee to push the ink through the design portions of the silk screen and into the garment. After that, I lift up the screen to see if it needs one more pass, or, if it doesn't, I take the garment off and grab the next one. 

This is me screen printing. I'm very bad at posing 
and looking all cool and serious in photos.

So far, my record is finishing up eighty tees in one weekend--with the help of my mom, Christine. My mom helps me dry and cure all of the tees. Recently, she semi-jokingly told me we needed our own sweat shop, to which I replied, "Mom, we are the sweat shop."

The production line. #printlife

When we're all finished, we tag 'em, fold 'em, and take 'em to our events to sell. 

My not so little brother Matthew, me, and my mom at this year's 
Midori Kai. I'm lucky my family doesn't mind helping or letting 
me take over our entire garage.

I love hearing when people are excited about my designs and I extra love seeing people where them -- especially cute little kids.

Zella, one of our best and most fashionable customers.

Baby Jack kicking back in his Spam onesie.

Hapa girl Mae in her birthday tee.

I hope you enjoyed my little screen printing crash course, I'll be in my garage if you need anything.


Spring/Fall Editions 2015 Up Online!

If you haven't had the chance to check out our online shop, you've gotta take a look before all our new Hapa gear gets sold out at the festival and boutique circuit this season!

Introducing... Our Autumn Fox Tee! This fall we'll have a booth at a bunch of boutiques, including Crafty Foxes in Saratoga. What better way to celebrate fall than with a crafty fox leaping through a gust of maple leaves? These are a lot of fun to screen print, I've whipped up a small batch of adult unisex, women, and kids sizes in a few different color tees.

Our Maneki-Neko is back in full color! Before, I was screen printing these at home by hand in one color, but thought that our lucky cats were ready for a full color treatment--who can pass up that mischievous smile?

More posts to come with our latest fall looks! Can't wait to see everyone at our fall and winter shows, I'll be at all of them!


Monday, December 1, 2014

6º of Hapa's Gift List

Need gift ideas for the holiday season? Here at 6º of Hapa, we've been working away to create the perfect gifts for everyone...

The Meat Lover:

Our Spam Musubi tees look good enough to eat. Get it in our unisex adult tees in either Wasabi Green or Shoyu Brown and our kids tees in Wasabi Green.

The Dessert Lover:

Love shave ice? So do we. That's why we've got Organic Cotton Shave Ice tees in men's, women's, kids, toddlers, and infant sizes. For the holidays, we're keeping them on sale! The adult tees are $10 off, the kids tees are $7 off, and the toddler/infant tees are $5 off! At this price you can get a tee for just one or every member of the family!

The Beach-Goer/Yogi:

Get ready to hit the beach with our Circles + Waves and our Criss Cross Tanks! Not only is it great for the beach, they can be PJ's, workout tees, and layered with a bandeau or another tank. These tanks are created in small runs and are hand screen printed by Naomi. They've been popular as gifts for crossfitters and yogis!

The Fashionista:

Naomi hand stamps and hand makes all of our jewelry. They're tiny, subtle pieces that work with any outfit and look great as layering pieces. We use silk thread, sterling silver, gold-fill, and rose gold-fill to create our jewelry. As you can see from the photo, they're much tinier than even a quarter!

The Hapa Girl:

This was our very first design that Naomi drew on a birthday card for her family friend, Zoë, who looked like our Hapa Girl when she was little. We've got our Organic Cotton Hapa Girl tees in women and kids sizes and you can find her stamped onto our jewelry! We're keeping these tees on sale at $15 for the holidays. The adult tees of $10 off and the kids tees are $7 off!

The Animal Lover:

We decided to make a playful version of the Maneki-Neko (The Beckoning Cat), who is known to bring good luck, health, and wealth. Our little cat comes in either white or black ink on lucky red tees for women, kids, toddlers, and infants in select sizes. Naomi did a very small hand screen printed batch of these tees, so get yours while they're available!

The Hope Giver:

This holiday season, please consider supporting Be The Match, which is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, and one of its recruitment programs, Mixed Marrow. Mixed Marrow's mission is to find bone marrow and blood cell matches for patients of multiethnic descent. Hapas and those of mixed cultures are encouraged to register as donors, since our growing population is in need of more donors and public knowledge needs to become more widespread on this pressing topic.

Wishing you a Hapa Holidays from Naomi and the 6º of Hapa team!

Like what you see? Here's a button to take you to our online store!

Order Online

Mixed Roots Holiday Gift Guide

Check out Mixed Roots Stories Holiday Gift Guide that features 6º of Hapa and other great mixed businesses and media! Consider supporting us and our fellow mixed businesses when you're shopping this holiday season.

Mixed Roots Stories is a non-profit organization that celebrates the Mixed community through sharing stories.

Take a look here: Mixed Roots Holiday Gift Guide

Sunday, November 2, 2014

JAMsj Winter Boutique & the Aloha Poly Holiday Fest

After a great time at the Sacramento Aloha Festival, we've decided to have a booth at a couple more events this year. All of our products in our online store and a few others made especially for the events will be available at our booth, so come and get your holiday shopping done with 6º of Hapa!

Here are the two events and their info:

JAMsj Winter Boutique
When: Nov. 8th from 10am-4pm
Where: 640 N. Fifth St., San Jose
Click for more info

There will be handmade crafts, pottery, clothing, and other special gifts along with author's signings by Lora Nakamura, Kim Oshiro, Cynthia Kadohata, and Tom Graves.
12% of our gross sales will go to the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.

Aloha Poly Holiday Fest
When: Dec. 14th from 10am-6pm
Where: Country Fair Building in Golden Gate Park
1155 and 1199 9th Ave. (corner of Lincoln Way)
Click for more info

There will be plenty of holiday shopping, dancers, entertainment, and live music. Admission and parking is free!