[rock the dub Interview]: WearYourCity

I am a fan of t-shirts. I am forever on the hunt for the right shirt. Just has to be the right fit, right message, all of that. Randomly, I was actually on WearYourCity.com, checking out the plethora of designs that you could flip with your own name/city/state/area code, which is always something I love. It's hard to find dope looking shirts that big up NJ, and judging by the site, I imagine other spots get into that as well. So imagine my surprise when one of the owners, Greg Berry, hit me up a week or so ago about what he's working on. In speaking to him, I found that he shares a lot of my own ideas, and has a dope plan of action for his brand. Peep our discussion...

khal: First, tell the people a little bit about yourself and what you do over at WearYourCity.com.

Greg: WearYourCity.com is a website run by a company owned by myself & my business partner Daniel Taylor. We are both young entrepreneurs who have been involved with numerous other businesses and are now coming together on this one project to show the world our idea, which is to allow everyone, no matter where they are from, to find hot apparel with THEIR city on it. Me being from CT and Daniel being from South Central L.A. we come from different walks of life but had one thing in common, we love our cities!!

khal: How did you first get involved in making this kind of particular apparel?

Greg: Growing up an hour and change outside of both Boston & NY, the “I Love NY” or “I Love Boston” shirts were plentiful, but I always wanted an “I Love CT” or “I Love Waterbury” shirt, but who on earth would sell that? So then I was looking to send a Waterbury shirt to a buddy of mine who was in the service, but couldn’t find one anywhere. I searched CafePress, but nobody thought to put a Waterbury shirt up there - they had more NY & LA shirts then you can imagine, but what about us? I thought to myself, there must be other people out there that want to rep their cities but do not have the proper means to go about it. The rest is history.

khal: I imagine your work went from a hobby to a full fledged business, right? How soon was it that you realized you had really started something major?

Greg: I have been making custom hometown shirts for a couple years now, selling them around the neighborhood and a couple online, but I was in college and was running another business so I really didn’t give this idea the attention it deserved. One day I was contemplating selling the business & website but I figured I should reach out to this guy whose blog about creative marketing I read faithfully. I knew alls that I needed was another person to run the business with me in order to get me fully charged and put this idea on the map – where it belongs. Anyways, I reached out to Daniel, he saw the potential in the site and eventually we became partners. Within a relatively short time our business has really improved and now the site is worldwide and growing by the minute. We have been featured on HipHopDX.com’s homepage for a week, during the week of June 25, 2008. We have various rappers who wear our shirts and support our movement, and now we have other influential individuals supporting us, such as yourself! Thanks khal.

khal: Ain’t no thang, homey. Now, how often does WearYourCity.com get new designs in?

Greg: We try to keep the designs as fresh as possible. There is no set timeline in place, but we usually add at least one new design each week. So, keep checking the site because that shirt you are dying to grab will most likely be coming out soon!!

khal: Are there any towns that you get requests for that you just say “where the HELL is that”?

Greg: That is funny that you ask that. Being that our business has no borders, we see many international orders coming in. Who would think that a cat from Baghdad would know what the Fresh Prince is? How about a guy from Senegal grabbing 20 street sign shirts? How about New Zealand, they rock Hip-Hop shirts? See, this is why we call it a movement – because hopefully when it is all said and done, we will connect people from all over the world and show them our cultures and be exposed to theirs and make a difference in peoples lives. I find it very interesting just talking to Daniel, who is from LA. They live, talk, walk and do most everything different then we do up here in CT – which I find interesting to learn about. We want to connect people from all over and enable them to learn about all other cities without the need to portray their culture in a false light. If you are in the streets of Harlem, talk about it, if you live in a 20 bedroom mansion in Michigan, we find that just as interesting. Soon our MySpace (www.myspace.com/wearyourcity) and our blog (www.wearyourcity.com/blog) will be a community that allows people from all over to connect and talk about their cities and learn about others.

khal: Is your operation solely based on orders from your site? Will you ever be branching out into bigger things, like setting up spots in stores, or having your own store?

Greg: We are in the process of opening up a revolutionary wholesale site that caters to shops and stores all over the world. Why is it revolutionary? Well, because what we are putting in place has not been done before. We have a fan base all over the world and people really feel us. Now how can we get everyone involved, make everyone a boss, let everyone hustle? We have come up with a way to let anyone from anywhere become a partner with us and sell our shirts to local stores, events, groups, etc. for a commissioned profit. The process we came up with will not cut these affiliates out and let the store owners come to the connect directly, but they will only be able to enter our store with an affiliate’s PIN number, given by us and this way it will assure that the affiliate makes a commission on all residual sales from that store owner. Frankly, if that affiliate didn’t hustle and get that store owner – neither of us would have made any money!!

khal: The one thing I just got hip to was your involvement in MTV’s Staying Alive campaign, which focuses on AIDS/HIV education. What is your exact involvement with this campaign, and how did you get involved with MTV on this? Why did you pick this campaign over others out there? Will WearYourCity be getting involved in charities in the future?

Greg: Since the inception of our partnership and since our business has really been active, we have been giving back. Whether it be giving $100 to some kids in L.A. to buy some clothes or supporting an up and coming artist, we have always tried to give back as much as we could. Now we finally decided to get off the sidelines and get involved and also lead by example. Getting involved with the MTV Staying Alive campaign was decided on the factors of: we needed a cause that everyone can relate to, we needed something that our sponsors and media outlets would like to get involved with and we generally just needed somewhere to start. After this event is over we will be moving on to more specific events and campaigns and really start getting our customers involved. The event with Staying Alive is the beginning of our ongoing “Give The Shirt Off Our Back” charity events. To kick it off and let everyone know that we are serious and to show people that its not hard to give back, we are donating 100% of after expense profits to this charity. Our goal is $25,000 and we are striving to reach that, but any amount contributed is going to help!

khal: Seeing as this is an election year, you guys unveiling any Obama/McCain tees to the public?

Greg: Now that you mention it, we might have to!! We have been deciding if we want to release some exclusive political shirts and we came up with the conclusion: of course! People love their cities the most beyond family & friends but politics comes in a close 4th so what better way to represent for your candidate and your city at the same time?? You guessed it . . . we will be releasing our exclusive political shirts very soon. [NOTE: designs with Barack & McCain are available NOW!]

khal: Seeing as you guys are getting some good buzz going worldwide, I have to ask: did you ever, truly, imagine that your company would get this big?

Greg: Daniel & I are both big thinkers – we both believe in the power of the mind and the ability to “think it and it will happen,” so the success and growth of the business really hasn’t shocked us. It is pretty cool how well receptive everyone has been, but as I say when you have two minds tackling one common goal the question turns from how to when!

khal: What does the future hold for WearYourCity?

Greg: The future of WearYourCity.com is endless. We are going to be giving the people what they want for years to come. We currently have a WearYourCity rap song out which can be heard on our media page and we are talking with a couple more people about some more songs and also we are going to be in stores across the world soon. The possibilities are endless!

khal: Do you have any shoutouts or final thoughts?

Greg: Come visit us and see what all this talk is about. . . www.WearYourCity.com! I just want to shout out all of our customers and supporters and also the people that help us out to get to where we need to be! Thank you all!

“It don’t matter where you at, if your cities on the map – you better rep your town - put your city on your back”
Mickey Knoxx

For more information on WearYourCity.com, make sure you check out their website, as well as their MySpace page!

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