Have you started your shopping list for GeekCraft Expo's Seattle Holiday Market yet? Be sure to add the beautifully designed yet durable T-shirts and more from Unicorn Empire! You'll find unique fandom-inspired clothing for even the littlest people on your gift list!
We chatted with Amber Whitney about how she comes up with her designs and what she'll be bringing to Hangar 30 November 25 and 26 this year!
GeekCraft Expo: What is Unicorn Empire all about?
Amber Whitney: Unicorn Empire is all about making traditionally screeprinted shirts (and more!) with eco-friendly inks that are formulated to never crack, peel, or fade. We're all about quality, there's nothing better than having a customer come up to be at a convention, point at their shirt and say, "I bought this three years ago, and it still looks great today!" To me, it's the best feeling in the world.
GCE: What’s your “origin story”? How did you get started with design, and why did you decide to start selling to the public?
AW: I started Unicorn Empire for myself, because finding fun, geeky clothes that fit me and were worth the money was almost impossible. It seemed like every shirt I bought was coarse, cheap, and the prints would come out in one or two washes. I really wanted something for my favorite show at the time, and so I decided to make it for myself—after I showed it to some friends online, they wanted them too, and it's only grown from there!
GCE: What makes a Unicorn Empire piece the perfect gift?
AW: Unicorn Empire makes a great gift because it's truly fan made—not just hand-screenprinted right here in Washington State, but also designed by a fan of the show who wanted to make something great for it. You'll never get anything that was designed lazily, cheaply, or mass produced when you buy from Unicorn Empire!
GCE: What are your best sellers?
AW: Right now our best sellers are the Wonder Woman "Stronger Than You Know" design and our What We Do in the Shadows "Werewolves Not Swearwolves" design, which I'm just over the moon about (hah!) because I love those designs.
GCE: What are your design influences?
AW: I would say that my designs are largely influenced by the content I'm making the design for. I put a lot of thought into each design, and they take a long time to finish, and one of the things I love most is all the little details and nods to the show that I can incorporate that any other fan will later notice and go, "Oh wow!" about. To me the designs are an homage to the show, and I only make designs for shows I care about, so each one is very personal to me.
GCE: You have a lot of wonderful Firefly, Supernatural, Steven Universe, and even Hamilton pieces! What are your favorite fandoms?
AW: Oh man, a favorite fandom? That's a toughie! I'd say it tends to vary day by day. I love watching stuff while I work, so I'll re-watch a show and get back into it, or something new will come out and seize my attention. I'd say right now, I'm most in love with Overwatch, because I just can't seem to stop playing it! I'm very proud of the two Overwatch designs and how they incorporate all the characters from their hero class. It was a real challenge to work everything in together and keep it clean and simple, so it feels really good to pull it off.
GCE: What are you bringing to GeekCraft Expo Seattle's Holiday Market this year?
AW: We are bringing a ton of stuff! Steven Universe, Wonder Woman, Hamilton, Star Trek, we may even have something for Thor if the weather permits and we can get enough printing done before the show!
Thank you to Amber for taking some time from her day to answer our questions! Make sure to RSVP for GeekCraft Expo Seattle's Holiday Market now, and get geeky gifts for everyone on your list.