Give Back Friday 2016

It's that time of year again, where brands (coughcough like us) try to sell as much stuff as humanly possible before the holidays are over. But last year, we decided that we wanted to use the weaponized force of consumer behavior for some good, and borrowing a few ideas from brands around the internet, we came up with the concept of a charity drive held annually on the Friday before Black Friday called Give Back Friday. And hey, wouldn't ya know it, that's today!

Here's how it works: today, Friday, November 18 (from 12:01am to 11:59pm EST), we've raised the prices of all our shirts by $3 (that's right, we said raised prices). If you buy a shirt today, that extra $3 will be donated—along with a matching $3 of our own—to charity.

This year, our donations will once again go to, an online charity where public school teachers in America post classroom projects—like books, field trips, or art supplies—and donors like us can fund them. Last year we raised and donated just over $1,800 to nine projects, and this year with your help we hope to blow that away. Follow along on Twitter, where we'll be sharing our favorite school projects throughout the day.

Help us spread the word and let's raise some money for American public school students in need. We promise we'll get back to the shameless holiday promotions next week.

Donations made on Friday, November 18th.

Final tally: $4,596.00! That’s more than 2.5x as much as last year. We couldn’t be more proud of all of you for helping us help kids. Thank you!

We're hiring a designer!

Hi there, friends. We're hiring a designer. This is a full-time, salaried position on the mighty Cotton Bureau squad. We're not actually sure what to call this position specifically, because, well, our industry isn't quite sure what to call it either. Web designer. Interface designer. UI designer. UX designer. Experience designer. Digital designer. Front-end designer. Ugh...maybe it's just easier if we explain who we're looking for.

Here’s who we’re looking for…

  • You’re someone who knows modern interface design in your bones, and you’ve spent the last 3–5 years proving it. To us that means design systems and pattern libraries, marketing sites, dashboards, onboarding flows, icons, and maybe even illustration/graphics, branding/identity, and app design.
  • You not only sweat the details, you sweat through your shirt. Seriously though, we tend to look at our product design from 10,000 feet. We need someone who comes equipped with a jeweler’s loupe.
  • Chances are, you’ve been on a larger design team at a startup/service/company/agency recently, but wherever you’ve been, you’re ready to make a bigger difference at a smaller company. We want someone to really own this (besides one of our co-founders, you’ll be the only other designer on the team for a while).
  • Maybe you’re not exactly a Designer Who Can Code™, but you’re at least capable of turning your designs into live prototypes of some fidelity. But hey, if you can crank out production-ready code, even better.
  • We have a tendency to fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to product design, so you’re either comfortable with that, or you’re someone who can whip our process into shape.
  • We're a small company, so there are a lot of opportunities to design things...everything mentioned above plus packaging, signage, even our new office (coming early 2017). This excites you, it doesn't scare you away.
  • You’re in Pittsburgh, near Pittsburgh, or at least Pittsburgh-curious. We’re not totally out on remote employees, but candidates who are willing to consider moving here have a leg up.
  • Bonus points for: writing ability, experience managing direct reports (or the desire to eventually lead a team), a working understanding of screen printing or garment production.
  • Fake bonus points for: an interesting hobby, a cute pet, being funny on Twitter, talking incessantly about food, winning a fantasy football league.

Here’s who we are…

  • There are a ton of crappy make-me-a-t-shirt websites on the internet, but we’re not one of them. We’re trying to defend the high ground in online apparel: quality products, quality partners, quality service, quality experience. That sounds trite, but it’s why we stand out. You can read more about our story and principles here.
  • We’re a three-year-old profitable company with a real business model. Our revenues have grown substantially year-over-year, and we only recently took a small piece of outside investment. You can read more about our partnership with here.
  • This isn’t our first rodeo. Before this, we founded a respected web design studio and a popular t-shirt brand for the web design industry. Despite their success, we shut both down years ago to focus on growing Cotton Bureau.
  • We’re pretty small in the grand scheme of things (seven people full-time).
  • We’re proudly located in Pittsburgh, PA, and we’re not moving.

Here’s what you get…

  • A fair salary.
  • A new computer.
  • Access to our company healthcare plan.
  • Generous time off and holidays.
  • Free parking, if you’re the driving-a-car type.
  • Relocation assistance if you’re not in or near Pittsburgh.
  • All the cool t-shirts that'll fit in your closet.
  • If you need a bunch of fancy Bay Area perks like free lunch and a ping-pong table to do your job, we can’t help ya (though we're at least considering a ping-pong table).

If this sounds like you, we'd love to talk. Send an email to with a nice note introducing yourself and explaining why you're a fit for this opening, a link to your work online, and any other materials you deem appropriate. We'll be evaluating applicants over the next few weeks, and hope to make a hire in October. Good luck, and we look forward to meeting all of you.

Cotton Bureau provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national origin, age, disability or genetics. This policy applies to all conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, leaves of absence, benefits, compensation, and training.

Democracy Design Challenge

Map of United States with text “Who ya got this November?”

Cotton Bureau has been around for more than three years, and believe it or not, in all that time, we've never give you a theme for design submissions. That ends today, because this month's design challenge is...DEMOCRACY.

It's go time here in America. The conventions are behind us, there are only 100 days left until the 2016 presidential election, and (almost) everyone has chosen sides. Maybe you're with her. Maybe you're still feeling the Bern. Maybe you're (deep sigh, eye roll, gulp) hoping to Make America Great Again. Maybe you prefer a third party candidate, or hope for four more years with Barry. Or maybe you just wish someone else entirely (Beyoncé, anyone?) or someone fictitious (Josiah Bartlet?) was running.

Whoever ya got this November, we wanna know, so send us a tee design this month featuring your chosen candidate (or just something vaguely election-related). We'll be featuring our favorites on Instagram, Twitter, and the Cotton Bureau homepage.

Good luck, and we'll see you again for our next design challenge in September.

We’re Turning 3!

Three years ago, we launched a little project out into the world called Cotton Bureau. An offshoot of our beloved United Pixelworkers, we had an idea (and a hope) of what it could become, but really no idea what it would become. Three years later, we're on track to sell more than 60,000 shirts in 2016. We’re a full-time team of six. Every month this year has been bigger than any other month that came before. We've worked with some of our industry heroes and made dozens (hundreds?) of new friends. We're eternally grateful for everything the Cotton Bureau community has done for us.

So just like last year, we're celebrating our birthday not by buying ourselves something nice—though we did pick up a pretty sweet toaster oven for the office a few weeks ago—but by giving you all the gifts.

For the next 4 days—from today, Friday, June 10 through Monday, June 13 at 8pm EDT—we're passing along big savings and giving away awesome prizes. The more shirts we sell, the more we'll give away.

Go shop now!

To give you an idea of how this should go, we sell ~500 shirts on a typical Friday through Monday, so we're basically guaranteed to get through the first four prize/savings tiers. Last year, when we ran a similar contest, we sold 900+ shirts in a single day. So...this should be big.

To sweeten the deal a little more, we cooked up a Cotton Bureau 3rd Anniversary Commemorative T-Shirt—available for pre-order in tri-blend black and 100% cotton black tees and a tri-blend black tank top until Monday, June 13 at 8pm EDT.

You knew there'd be fine print, so here it is...

  1. The contest happens today, Friday, June 10 2016 through Monday, June 13 2016 at 8pm EDT. If you buy a shirt 20 minutes past 8pm on Monday and ask to be included in the drawing, we’re going to act really disappointed and probably shake our heads at you.

  2. Discounted price is not cumulative, and only applies to shirts purchased during the contest timeframe. So if we sell 1,250 shirts, all eligible shirts will be $4 off.

  3. The gift portion of the contest is only open to customers in the United States, though all pre-order purchases are eligible for discounts.

  4. Each entrant is limited to five (5) prize entries. If you buy 5 shirts, you get 5 entries. If you buy 15 shirts, you get...5 entries.

  5. Only purchases of pre-order designs are eligible. That means no mystery shirts or kids shirts (though you should totally still buy them).

  6. We’ll contact the prize winners on Friday, June 17. If you win, please allow us a few weeks to ship you the goods.

  7. You don't have to buy something to enter into the drawing. Mail us a note to Cotton Bureau 2000 Smallman Street Suite 203A Pittsburgh, PA 15222 and make sure it's postmarked by Monday, June 13, and make sure it arrives by Thursday, June 16. Also, make sure your name and email address is included somewhere.

The March Madness Sale

Howdy there, hoops fans and non-hoops fans alike. Today is the first day of the NCAA Tournament, and we decided to celebrate by: A) watching basketball in the office all day, and B) HAVING A SALE.

🏀 🏀 🏀

Here's how it works: today through Sunday, use the coupon code MARCHMADNESS and you'll get 10% off anything you buy. But here's the kicker: buy 2 or more shirts and not only will you get 10% off, we'll also email you another coupon code good for 10% off a future purchase at Cotton Bureau.

🏀 🏀 🏀

Hey, wouldja look at's some fine print: The coupon code we send you if you buy 2 or more shirts is good starting April 1, 2016 (no foolin'). Standard shipping rates apply to all orders. Mystery shirts don't count as part of your total shirt order...sorry.

May your brackets stay unbusted.