One of the more subtle but significant trends in the tee biz today pertains to messaging that is just plain weird and intentionally makes normal people uncomfortable.

To be clear, I’m not referring to messaging that is outright vulgar, offensive, or anything else that would violate Amazon’s terms of service (or basic codes of societal decency). I’m referring to tshirt messages that set an awkward tone by stating that which ordinarily wouldn’t be admitted to or placed on a tshirt.

Consider, for example, how strange it would be to see a grown person — perhaps even middle aged or a senior citizen — wearing a tshirt that reads (not checked for compliance):

  • One of My Kids was an Accident. Wanna Guess Which One?
  • I Don’t Believe in Deodorant
  • In Case You Were Wondering, Yes, Your Grandma and I Still Do It

There are hundreds of ways to make people modestly cringe with an awkward tshirt message that prompts a double-take.

These types of tshirts have a very large and growing audience of buyers. People who love social media memes, for instance, really enjoy such humorous meme-style tshirt messages.

Walk into any novelty gift store in a shopping mall and you’ll find tees, hats, mugs, birthday cards and keychains with messages far more disturbing than this (by the way, remember to NOT upload these types of designs to youth sizes on Amazon, as they could trigger a rejection in some instances).

Nonetheless, any attempt to tap into this profitable brand of weird humor — but toned down enough to be appropriate for Amazon or Etsy — will likely be rewarded, especially when these designs are targeted for birthdays, retirements, holidays, and other special occasions.