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Meet Matt Snow and Meredith Erin of Boredwalk in San Gabriel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Snow and Meredith Erin.

Matt and Meredith, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We initially began selling graphic tees and accessories under a different brand name (Ex-Boyfriend) back in Baltimore in 2009. It was really just a hobby, but we ultimately grew it to the point where it became Matt’s full-time job, with Meredith helping out in the evenings and weekends until she herself joined on full-time as well.

We ultimately moved to LA to be closer to the majority of our vendors, who were all based on the west coast. Around this time, we launched Boredwalk as a more trend-driven alternative to the more niche-specific Ex-Boyfriend, and we also pared down our focus to just e-commerce around this time as well. Up to this point we’d split our focus pretty evenly between e-commerce, selling to boutiques, and selling at live events like festivals and pop culture conventions.

Boredwalk quickly outpaced Ex-Boyfriend in terms of sales and growth, so we eventually merged them together under the Boredwalk umbrella and have been growing ever since, putting a premium on providing a fun work environment for our team, a great customer experience, designing and printing high-quality products right here in SoCal, and engaging with Boredwalk’s fans directly via social media, email, and our podcast.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Hahahaha! No, definitely not. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Hiring good help was a struggle for several years. We’ve more or less resolved that — we really love our current team — but we continue to deal with rampant counterfeiting of our products on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and elsewhere on the web. This is really demoralizing because Meredith and I spend a lot of time working on unique, original designs. To have criminals steal our product photos and used them to sell low-quality fakes of our products to unsuspecting consumers makes it very easy to want to just throw up our hands and not want to do this anymore. Etsy is at least pretty responsive when we let them know someone is illegally using our intellectual property, but Amazon is a criminal operation, full-stop. We hope nothing but the worse for Jeff Bezos and his morally bankrupt enablers.

Facebook and Instagram — our primary customer acquisition and brand awareness channels — are frequently breaking, which negatively impacts sales & growth. They’re still a necessary tool for us to work with, but we’re very focused on becoming less and less dependent on both.

Since we do our own printing and shipping in-house in an effort to maintain a consistently high quality of merchandise for our customers, we deal with lots of production-related issues like malfunctioning printing equipment, vendors shipping incorrect or defective supplies to us, and other myriad roadblocks, from website outages, shippers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS losing packages or delivering them to the wrong addresses, or customers providing incorrect or incomplete shipping addresses that delay receipt of their orders.

I’m sure a few days from now we could add more to this list, but those are some of our biggest pain points at the moment.

Boredwalk – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
“Artists give people something they didn’t know they were missing” – Daniel Pink

That quote describes what our business, at its core, is all about. On the face of it we sell functional graphic goods (apparel, accessories, and decor), but really what we sell is art that happens to be on functional items like clothing and accessories. We often hear from our customers that our work makes them feel seen and understood in a way no other brand or company has, and that’s really why we do what we do.

We pride ourselves on creating unique, well-made graphic goods that we design and print in-house. We also pride ourselves on top-notch customer service and having a workplace that we and our team members are happy to be a part of.

Our goal is always to entertain our audience, and we do this with not just our products, but all of our brand content, including our emails and our podcast. Integrity is also at the heart of what we do, and we’re so proud to have customers who appreciate what we do and team members that are part of it with us.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Hot take: paying our bills and creating good jobs locally while being able to work with our best friends (i.e., each other.)

Not-so-hot take: We don’t want to name drop, but we’ve had several high-profile customers — whether they work in entertainment, in Silicon Valley, on Capitol Hill, etc. — purchase our products and then come back again to be repeat customers…which is all very cool, but it’s also more of a novelty.

One of the things we do that not a lot of other brands do is accept custom requests if the shirt styles we print on as regular style offerings won’t work for a given customer. We don’t have the capability or bandwidth to oversee the manufacturing of our own proprietary blank shirts; I mean, we could, but then we’d be in a completely different business. So we’re somewhat limited in what we can offer day in, day out, but we still don’t want people to feel excluded. Need a 4XL women’s v-neck? Let us know, we can probably make it happen. Need a 7XL men’s tee? Shoot us an email, we’ll see what we can do.

But it was especially gratifying a few years ago when we received an email from a customer in the UK who told us that they had seen our shirts two years earlier but was too big at the time to be able to comfortably wear our largest standard men’s size. This motivated them to lose enough weight to finally order some of our men’s 3XL tees, and they were so proud of the accomplishment they felt compelled to let us know. We realize we can’t please all of the people all of the time, but we always come back to that email when we’re feeling down or frustrated. Ultimately, our customers’ happiness is our happiness.

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