Everyone has a favorite book growing up. And then we become parents and find ourselves reading the classics to our children just as we had read to us many years ago. The fondness for books never goes away. It's the magic that a story can give us that lingers with us forever. And it's pretty amazing to watch that magic that our children see when they read a book for the first time. Todd Lawton, father of two, knows just how much of an impact a book can make on someone's life and that's why he started Out of Print Clothing. The Manhattan-based company sells T-shirts, tote bags and other accessories featuring classic book covers to sow awareness of an enthusiasm for books. But he doesn't just want us to show off our love for literature, he wants to be able to share that gift with others. Each purchase helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. Since 2010, Out of Print has donated over 2 million books to those less fortunate.
In 2016, Todd and his partner launched a social community app for readers called Litsy that has been downloaded and used by more than 50,000 readers in 130 countries.
Congratulations on all of the success of Out of Print Clothing! We love that each purchase helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. What was your inspiration behind starting the brand?
Thanks so much! Our inspiration to start Out of Print was the incredible passion readers have for their favorite books and the lifestyle of reading. We think that books should be shared and discussed as much as possible. The more ways people can experience great literature the better. We are thrilled that we help start conversations that bring people together and discover new things. To know that what we started seven years ago has helped to send over 2,000,000 books to communities around the world is mind-blowing. We feel so lucky to be doing what we are doing on many levels.
There are so many wonderful pieces of literature that you’ve put on shirts, scarves, mugs, and more! Do you have a favorite?
I’m the worst to ask because I love so many of the products we make. At times, I wear something because I love the book and want people to know it, other times I’m motivated more by the art and design. A few of my all-time favorites and go-to shirts are “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, “Mind of My Mind”, our Japanese “Animal Farm”, Polish “Call of the Wild”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”, and “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
What’s one book you can’t wait to read to your children?
Everything and anything by Roal Dahl and the Harry Potter series
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Just one?! I suppose I would not be devastated to give up matching socks after doing laundry or unloading the utensils from the dishwasher. I’d much rather fold shirts and deal with plates and pans. Now that we have a tiny baby in the house again, I’m sure I could come up with a million other tasks to delegate.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Reading is the obvious answer, but I also find running a wonderful release and form of mediation.
What is your best parenting hack?
I’m really, really good at defusing meltdowns with distraction. Somehow I have figured out how to get a toddler’s mind off bothersome things with tangents--things remotely related to what’s happening but random and intriguing enough to take attention away from what’s causing the stress. I hope this continues to work as well when my girls are teenagers ;)
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
“You can’t use my phone because it’s not charged.” (I had to seek the help from another dad in the office, and we both use this one a lot!)
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
As a whole: Rapturous.
What’s one moment in your fatherhood journey that has made you proud?
I coach a free, weekly toddler soccer clinic for Jane and about 6-8 of her friends. Jane was a reluctant participant at first, but in the middle of our second or third session, Jane tugged on my arm and said, “I love you Dad.” Hearing that made it one of the most joyous moments in recent memory. Still don’t know if she likes the act of playing soccer, but she’s having fun and that’s all that matters. I think some other parents heard and that was pretty cool too J
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Be curious. Listen to your gut. Life is too short.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other dads?
Be curious. Listen to your gut. Life is too short.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
Owning a business is a very personal and emotional endeavor, and as hard as you try to be fully present when not in the office, work is always going to be on your mind. I don’t fight it. I try to involve my family as much as possible in what is happening with the businesses. Jane has been our model, she loves telling people about “daddy’s shirts”, our reading time is market research, and of course, my wife always has great advice and is Out of Print’s biggest promoter.
What was the last book you read?
“My Early Life” by Winston Churchill. Watching “The Crown” inspired me to read up on him. Loved it.
Favorite Outdoor Activity:
Hiking and futzing around a yard (I'm up for pretty much any yard project)
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Windsurfing on the rare occasion I can; running on a more regular basis
What is on your DVR?
We cut the cord and now use Netflix and HBO Go exclusively. Just started "A Series of Unfortunate Events" and like it a lot so far.
I'd be lost without the Google Maps App....ha, bad pun!