As a growing company we have developed a new initiative called the Gone Beachin' Advocate program. This program enables us to connect with fans through beachin' enthusiasts that love our gear. It is more than a fun way to share cool new products, but gives the Advocates an opportunity for exposure to over 10,000 social media followers. Most importantly becoming a Gone Beachin' Advocate brings beachin' enthusiasts together in the form of a community.
Our brand is more than a stylish graphic on a t-shirt, it's a lifestyle that represents fresh water and ocean lifestyles around the world! We have over 80 Gone Beachin' Advocates across the map. So far our community is mainly based in the US, but we have welcomed new beachin' enthusiasts from Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, and Spain.
The original initiative was to focus on Michigan and Florida beachin' because we grew up taking road trips to the beach in Michigan and spending summers at my cottage on Lake Charlevoix. We moved to Florida for a college program and loved the vibe and we made it our mission to visit as many beaches as possible. We left post-it notes for our roommates that said "Gone Beachin'". Little did we know that would later become our company name.
After the college program in Florida I went back to school up north at CMU for Entrepreneurship, but wasn't sure how to make it possible to own a business on a college budget. I knew that I loved business, but also had a creative gene so I looked for ways to combine business and art in the same field. Soon after I changed my major to Graphic Design which gave me the tools to build the company from scratch.
Before Dustin and I made the decision to form the company I found my passion in designing for apparel and screen printing. After taking a class in screen printing and learning design skills to brand I went back to my hometown and met with Dustin. We had talked about starting our own business in high school, but that was just a dream until that meeting in 2013. We launched our brand in June with the Gone Beachin' tee with our palm tree symbol. Later on we split the brand into two lifestyles; Gone Beachin' Salted and Gone Beachin' Unsalted which gives Gone Beachin' fans the opportunity to choose their lifestyle. Many designs fit both lifestyles so we added the GBAC (Gone Beachin' Apparel Company) line earlier this year.
We had over 100 design concepts made representing the beachin' life, but couldn't figure out how to print them without having to buy large quantities of shirts at once so we had set a goal to purchase our own print shop that would give us the opportunity to create an entire product line. We competed in the CMU New Venture Competition and CMU's Shark Tank in 2014. The judges loved our idea and passion so we took home funding and won CMU's Shark Tank. The money funded new products and the purchase of a screen printing equipment. The remaining funding needed was given as a loan by my amazing parents and I cannot thank them enough.
Moving forward to 2015 and our company is now in 14 stores in Michigan! We put our focus in our roots for 2015 and plan to blossom from there by expanding the salted and unsalted lifestyle apparel lines across the map. Social media has given us the opportunity to expand our reach to beachin' fans around the world, but we cannot thank beachin' enthusiasts enough for spreading the word. The company has become so much more than two dudes that loved to road trip to the beach. It is a community that gives beachin' enthusiasts the opportunity to take their shoreline experiences with them wherever they go.