Back in 2002, there were two guys working as webmasters for a small company. These two guys had too much creativity for their present position and made it through each day honing their humor. Being the webmasters and IT guys we regularly dealt with an adware program that was prevalent in the day called Gator. Since this was at a time when Napster blew up (you might be too young to remember this) the adware became a daily nuisance.
As boredom normally propels creativity, we started a propaganda campaign against the adware. In a single afternoon we got a domain, made a website, designed and ordered stickers. Why? I don’t really know as we simply went with the free flowing ideas we were throwing back and forth. Not done for money or any reason other than we thought it was funny and cool. An inside joke if you will between two guys with too much smarts for their ordinary jobs.
We ended up sending out thousands upon thousands of Gator Hater stickers throughout the world for the price of postage. This got us thinking that maybe there were others out there that enjoyed our humor. We had a t-shirt heat press laying around our house that we had played with making some funny shirts for ourselves. People seemed to enjoy the shirts and friends asked us to make some for them. On a whim we decided to make some shirts and list them on Ebay which ended up selling almost immediately. For the next month we created more designs and continued to sell them taking the money to purchase screen printing equipment and learning the process of making better quality products.
We got a domain and set up a website. Contacted our customers with new designs and started promoting our site on Myspace, reinvesting our earnings into advertising on other humor related websites. As we were able to increase our advertising we began to receive inquiries from retailers wanting to get our designs into their stores. About 6 months after starting we got a large order from Hot Topic. The time required to fill these orders started to become more demanding and we had to leave our jobs to be able to devote our full attention to our business.
You’re probably wondering where the name Crack Smoking Shirts came from. It’s a question we get asked a lot. Well, in the beginning when we started on Ebay we used the name Wicked Crib, which was the name for the cool house that we lived at. We originally had the idea of having what today would be called a “streamer house”. We wanted webcams positioned around the house and hot tub area to let people see the crazy stuff that went on around our place. While this idea got as far as eventually having a camera in our office live on the web, the technology wasn’t really there in the early 2000’s and we became too busy with the t-shirt business to continue it.
Looking for a more perfect name that would describe our brand of t-shirts better, we had several brainstorming sessions. We didn’t come up with the perfect name until one day, when we still had our jobs, we got a phone call from a website customer at the company we worked for. The customer was quite upset about an order she placed. When we explained to her that the measurements of an item in question were in centimeters and not inches, as she had misinterpreted, she responded by saying “That’s some crack smoking sh*t”. We both immediately looked at each other and said Crack Smoking Shirts. And, that was that. As time has marched forward we have adopted the brand name Toxic Onion in 2019 to better integrate with our business partners and help our employees have something better to put on their resumes. The name has changed over the years but the humor has stayed the same.
Our goal from the beginning has been to clothe all the off-balanced people. Critics have described us as having a twisted view of society. But hey, there are worst ways to spend your days. Now after over a decade and a half of serving up humor inspired designs, the business is now solely owned and created by one of the original founders. The one behind the curtain creates and disseminates his propaganda from his studio atop a castle nestled deep in a dark forest of California. Physical manifestations of this propaganda are distributed by Threadless, one of a handful of companies that have been around as long as we have. Together we have 30+ years of e-commerce and product development experience along with access to today’s latest technologies. Once delivered these products are worn and used by the coolest people you’ll ever meet.