Oswego State student entrepreneurs Michael Patillo and Steven Lombardo want their customers to be “inspired.” The longtime friends and now roommates have started their own T-shirt line called, “Inspired Brand Clothing.”
With Patillo as a graphic design major and Lombardo as a business administration major, it was almost a no-brainer for the pair to begin this business venture. The two budding business moguls sat down with me to discuss their brand.
Nuzzo: What inspired you to start your business?
Patillo: Well, I’m a graphic design major.
Lombardo: And I’m a business administration major, so we decided that this was the best way to combine the two. And we decided to start making designs and putting them on T-shirts.
Nuzzo: So how did you decide on the brand’s name?
Lombardo: Well, I came up with it. Basically we were just “inspired” to do this, so what better name than that to start with?
Nuzzo: How do your T-shirts reflect the brand name?
Patillo: Basically our designs are all surrealistic. You take any ideas that don’t typically go together. Like our first design that we have printed for sale is a guy blowing out a galaxy. Which is obviously not realistic, we just wanted to take surrealistic designs and just put ‘em on shirts. Our designs can be anything that inspires you. I’m an art major so I get inspired by random things that I see, so it kind of fit with our designs.
Nuzzo: How many designs do you guys have right now?
Lombardo: Printed: just the one.
Patillo: Total: six or seven.
Nuzzo: What are your favorites? What do they look like?
Patillo: We have one that’s a picture frame of a water scene, and there is a lion jumping out of the frame and a puddle dripping down and it says, “Inspired Brand Clothing” on it. We also have some simple designs for people that like to be simpler. Like we have designs that just have “Inspired Brand Clothing” written down the side. We also have some pretty complex designs like the ones we have printed.
Nuzzo: How did you decide which one to print first?
Lombardo: Well we actually submitted our first design to a local business owner at Zink Shirts in Oswego who was having a contest. We ended up winning the contest so he printed off a few shirts for us. So we thought, what better design to start off with than this one?
Nuzzo: What’s your demographic for the shirts?
Nuzzo: Men, women, both?
Patillo: We’re trying to do both. Even though we have only printed on men’s shirts, we’ve had a lot of girls buy them. We’re definitely going to start printing more women’s stuff too, so we can appeal to everyone.
Nuzzo: In terms of your projected sales, are you guys where you want to be?
Lombardo: Right now, yes.
Patillo: And as we reach more people we expect more and more success.
Lombardo: We’ve only been around for a few weeks and we’re doing great so far.
Inspired Brand Clothing’s T-shirts come in small, medium, large and x-large sizes. The brand can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@inspired_brand), or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to purchase an Inspired Brand Clothing T-shirt, you can find them on their website, inspiredbrand.bigcartel.com or you can also purchase items at Mad Hats in the Canal Commons on 1st Street in Oswego.