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To a Tee

Saucy shirts are a smart--and hot--statement.

This story appears in the August 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

They're everywhere, from the "Save the Drama for Your Mama" T-shirt that Rachel wore on Friends to the "I'm a Carrie" tees inspired by Sex and the City. T-shirts that make a statement or hit a cultural or political nerve are big. To make a statement, you have to be unique and current. Don't hop onto fads, says Sharon Haver, founder and style director of FocusOnStyle.com, a fashion and trend information Web site. Haver suggests, "Take something in the news-if you say something political or newsworthy, you'll have a longer life span." Here are three tee businesses that have made it onto the radar:

Rabbi's Daughters: Founded by sisters Nina Bush, 37, Myla Fraser, 34, and Daniella Zax, 32, in the summer of 2003, these Culver City, California, entrepreneurs hit it big right away. Shirts with Yiddish words on them like mamaleh (darling mother), oy vey (woe is me) and shiksa (non-Jewish girl) are jumping off shelves and onto the bodies of stars like Madonna. Zax, with a background in fashion, got the shirts into a few high-end Los Angeles boutiques-after they were featured in a People magazine article, the line took off. Now, they have jewelry and kids' lines and other Yiddish-word apparel, as well as 2004 sales projections in the high six-figures.

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