Meet the Martins: The Human Billboard Family
CNBC.com News Editor
The Martins are an average family: There’s Mom, Dad, and 2.2 kids — Layne (4), Kaitlyn (3) and Alex (due Dec. 31). Except for the fact that they’re human billboards. Wherever they go, they’re advertising for you — even when they're on vacation!
Dad Carl said he actually got the idea after hearing about Jason Sadler, the guy who started a mini-T-shirt wearing empire called “I Wear Your Shirt.”
“We liked the idea … but didn’t want to copy him directly,” Carl Martin said. “We thought we could take the concept and go in a completely different direction with it.”
And so, The Billboard Familywas born.
Originally, the plan was just to have Martin and wife Amy wear the shirts. But if you’ve ever had kids, or been on a planet that has kids, you know that kids want to do everything their parents do.
“They started asking questions, asking about these shirts,” Martin explained. “And the more we talked to them, they let us know that they were absolutely not going to accept us doing this without them!”
He said when they sat down to take a family vote, the kids were doing flips — literally.
“They may be more excited about it than we are!” he added. “I ask my son, —What do you want to do when you grow up?' and he says, 'I’m going to wear shirts like you!'”
Of course, it’s great to not have to worry about what clothes your kids — and, let's be honest, you — will wear for the day. But beyond that, Martin said it will be a good way to teach his kids self-reliance and business principles — plus, it will really help set them apart in the T-shirt world.
“One person doesn’t draw as much attention as the whole family,” he said.
Like the “I Wear Your Shirt” crew, they’ll blog, do Facebook and Twitter updates and create YouTube videos videos to talk to their online community about the company they’re wearing and its products. They already have 3,000 followers on Twitter, Carl and Amy each have about 1,500 friends on their individual Facebook pages and "The Billboard Family Introduction" video has already been viewed over 16,000 times on YouTube.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, this town is big enough for two T-shirt wearing companies. “I Wear Your Shirt” gets a lot of clients that are targeting their young male (18-35) demographic. The Martins are more focused on family-oriented companies.
“What better spokesperson for a product than the people who will use it?” Martin said. “We travel a lot … We go to family shows … We talk to a lot of families.”
They launched their venture on Sept. 24 but won’t start wearing T-shirts until next year.
While they’re wearing the spa shirts, they’re also going to be testing the spa products and writing reviews of them.
That’s one of the major perks of this type of business — Not only will they get to try tons of products for free, but they’ll be getting paid no matter where they are — even if it’s on vacation!
Can you imagine, taking the kids to Disney World — and getting paid for it the whole time?!
Perhaps the best part is, it doesn’t take a special skill set to wear T-shirts — you just have to be willing to take a chance and make it up as you go along.
Most people “probably already have skills to start their own business that they’re not using,” Martin said. “You don’t need someone to give you a job; you can create your own job. This is America, after all!”
And the T-shirt's red glare!
The clicks bursting Internet air
Gave proof through the night
That our ad was still there
Oh say does tha-at star-spangled T-shi-irt ye-et wa-ave ...
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the self-employed!
More on Cool Jobs:
- Cool Job: Getting Paid to Test-Drive a Car
- Now Hiring: Professional T-Shirt Wearers
- Internet Star Turns Viral Video Fame Into Big Business
- Slideshow: Six Cool Places to Work
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