Chris & Ian Focus on Your Blooming!
When student Chris Olsen and Broadway performer Ian Paget made their first posts to TikTok in April they didn’t think they were going to blow up like they did. In just four months, their accounts have amassed more than three million followers and they have become known as Chris & Ian.
Along with their fun personalities, and obvious adoration of each other, the couple is known for their fitness challenges, dances, and boyfriend challenges on the TikTok social media platform. The pair has a verified account on YouTube as well. On that account, they tell us more of their story like how they met and how they got started making videos, and now, all about their very first line of merch.
They were so excited for their merch line, available through the Custom Ink Fundraising platform, that they made a delightfully exuberant unboxing video to announce it to their fans.
The idea for their merch line began when they started receiving requests from viewers to put Ian’s fun and witty one-liners on custom t-shirts and hoodies. So Chris asked their fans what kind of merch they should make, jokingly suggesting hats, crop tops, and hoodies. The answer was a resounding yes to hats, crop tops, and hoodies. After that, the requests started pouring in.
One follower who saw Chris’s question was Custom Ink satisfaction rep Jessica Thatcher who reached out with a solution. She, outreach artist Allie Graham, and fellow rep Gary Rysavy told them about the Custom Ink Fundraising platform and how, with Custom Ink Fundraising, they could easily sell merch to raise money without any upfront costs. They could choose multiple products and designs and then Custom Ink would take care of collecting the money, fulfilling the orders, and all the customer service. The platform would make it possible for them to raise money for anything they wanted or needed. And as Ian’s acting career was on hold because of the global pandemic, the couple saw a chance to give their followers what they were asking for while also raising funds to bridge the gap until Ian could work again.
As Ian says in their video, “This is going to put food in my belly.” They are also donating a portion of the proceeds to The Marsha P. Johnson Institute, named in honor of the gay liberation activist and dedicated to protecting and defending Black transgender people.
They knew that their viewers wanted sayings on their shirts, so they chose two of Ian’s popular one-liners, “Focus on your blooming” and “Do we need to unpack this?” as well as an additional design that simply says “Chris & Ian”. With Allie’s help, they were able to create custom designs they knew their fans would love as much as they did.
“Jess, Allie, and Gary at Custom Ink were the most helpful in designing these,” Chris says in their video. “We fully got to design these items with them….. we wouldn’t have been able to come to this ourselves.”
The Custom Ink team helped them pick products that would work (hats, crop tops, and hoodies of course!) and a fresh color palette of soft pinks, blues, and greens. As Ian shares in the video, “I just wanted fun colors. Easy to wear—make you feel good.”
They also focused on finding products that had a broad range of sizes. In the video, Chris says, “The very exciting thing about all of these is that they are extremely size-inclusive. Everything is a unisex fit and we have a huge size range so it’s very inclusive. No matter what size you are or what size you want to get—you will be able to find a size for that.”
Their fundraiser was a success within minutes of the launch. The duo has clearly hit on something that people like and want to be a part of. Ian says in a video to their viewers, “We definitely want to thank our Custom Ink team to make our little dream come true—your little dream come true—we just want you guys to have a little piece of us with your everyday that you get to wear and it brings you as much joy as it’s bringing us to see and wear, so thank you for supporting us. This is going to be able to help support us during this dire time.”
You can find and support Chris & Ian and focus on your own blooming on the Chris & Ian Merch fundraising page. Their campaign ends on August 31st.