By Laura Latzko, February 2021 issue.
Every person has something that causes them to “nerd out.” For some, it’s comic books or video games. Others might obsess over sports or a favorite TV series.
Nerd On Me, a new online shopping site run by two Arizona locals, lets self-proclaimed “nerds” find T-shirts, hoodies, masks, mugs, and phone covers that help them to express who they are. The shop caters to people from different backgrounds, including the LGBTQ community and gamers.
Liz Mossell and Nate Kurth developed the site and launched it in October. The two friends and gamers met at a gaming convention about a year ago. Mossell has degrees in business, web design, and multimedia. Kurth works in security, and both are longtime streamers and gamers.
Mossell has been out of work, hasn’t been able to game since August due to health problems, and needed something to occupy her time. That downtime led to her and Kurth deciding to start their online store.
“Being gamers and streamers, we were like ‘Who doesn’t like a funny T-shirt?’ It just evolved from there,” Mossell said. The two put out new content each month. Mossell says she is continuously inspired to create new designs. “I will read something or be watching something, and that will click something in my brain, and I need to put something like that on a shirt,” Mossell said.
Mossell says the biggest challenge to running a business has been when she struggles with her chronic illness. Kurth has helped her during these moments. “There are days where it is hard to get things done. It’s very much a lack of motivation, which is why I’m glad to have Nate because he helps me get back on track and stay with it. On days when I don’t feel up to posting on social media, he will do it. When you have a bad day, you don’t feel so horrible that you didn’t get that done,” Mossell said.
Through their site, the pair offers a range of designs for people with different interests and backgrounds, including more generic designs with words and phrases that provide broad appeal, such as “Socially Awkward,” “Believe,” “Able,” “Freshly Baked” and “The Day Drinker.”
Kurth is a big fan of anime, the film V for Vendetta, and The Legend of Zelda video game series and art, and Mossell loves Halloween, horror films, books, and coloring.
Mossell says the website is meant for different types of nerds. “Everybody’s got a little bit of nerd in them. Maybe they like to read books. Maybe they know everything about Harry Potter. Everybody’s got a thing, and if you have a thing, you are a nerd. I know that word has had a bad connotation in the past. I think people have tried to take it back, and I think it’s working,” Mossell said.
On the site, Mossell and Kurth have offered specialized items for the Halloween and Christmas holidays. They plan to do this in the future but on a smaller scale. One of their most popular designs has been their Nerd On Me logo, which has been shortened to “NOM NOM.” Artist Vyragami created the logo.
The pair is in the process of trying to get their name out to the public. Although they are based in Arizona, they can ship anywhere in the country. The company prints items on-demand, meaning nothing is created until an order is placed. “With print-on-demand, it is better for the environment. We aren’t putting anything in a landfill. It also just gives us a lot more options of things to offer because we don’t pay upfront for it,” Mossell said.
On-demand printing allows customers to purchase a few or even one item at a time — the two work with a company called Printful, which ships to different parts of the world.
Mossell and Kurth create the designs and maintain the website, and Printful produces and ships the items to customers. The website can offer custom designs and print designs on different merchandise, even if it isn’t pictured on the website.
Although there are options on the site for straight, fitted, and flowy cuts, T-shirts aren’t separated by gender or sex. Mossell said she and Kurth want others to embrace their styles without limits. “We want anyone to feel able to wear what they want to wear. I don’t think that that should be restricted at all,” Mossell said.
Many of the T-shirts are available in sizes up to 3XL. Mossell said they are looking to expand on that in the future. The two have tried to stand out from other online stores in different ways, including The Be Yourself Collection, which launched in 2021.
This collection features items such as T-shirts with the wording “Pride” and “Love is Love,” “Hallo Queen,” “Strange and Unusual,” Keep Calm And Be Yourself,” Beautiful Soul,” “Gaymer,” and “Different Is Not Less.”
Mossell is bisexual, suffers from chronic illness, and is plus-sized. She said she and Kurth want to spread a message of acceptance, inclusivity, and self-love with their product. “We think that everyone should be who they are. After the hell of last year, a lot of people figured out who they are, but they might need that push to show everyone,” Mossell said.
Product-wise, Mossell, and Kurth hope to branch out in the future to items such as gaming mats with custom artwork. Once it is safe to do so, they plan to table at events like gaming conventions and pride festivals.
The Nerd On Me website is meant for high-school-aged people and older, as some products contain more adult language.
To find out more about Nerd On Me, go to nerdonmee.com.