THIS WEEK'S EPISODE OF THE PODCAST
This week Zach heads down to iconic Point Judith, Rhode Island, home to good surfing, great beaches, and of course, fishing. We chop it up with locals Matt and Mike in the cockpit of the Tuff Guy, a Wesmac built for the rough waters of the northeast. Today we learn the ins and outs of Deep Apparel, a brand rooted in outdoor and fishing culture while creating gear that’s good for the boat or heading out to the bar—that and more on this week’s episode of the podcast.
Keeping it Local
When we get the chance to feature local brands and people we try our best to do them in person. There is nothing better than a recording a podcast, unmolested by a screen or poor wifi connection. Taking a short ride down to Snug Harbor, we decided to take the studio mobile and setup shop on board the Tuf Guy, a 42 foot Wesmac, loaded with everything you need for a trip to the Canyons.
Rhode Island is a unique state, having one of the largest coastlines in the United States and yet small enough to where you circumnavigate its entirety within a few hours. Yet for centurlaris people have fished and harvested from its rich coastlines, and called this tiny corner of New England home. Its battered rocky shorelines, are the perfect spot for all waterman, and is probably where the guys from drew some inspiration.
Conservation with a Dash of Creativity
Keeping it reel in the "hook and gun" industry can often be difficult and diluted. Everyone loves to post a picture of them with their fresh catch or kill, without giving it much thought; and why should they? Without diving into to much political correctness, we have all seen a drastic shift in the way hunters and anglers are portrayed, what was once Americas past time, has for lack of a better term "poorly branded". It is an unfortunate circumstance but it is the current reputation of those who like the idea of the outdoors vs. the people who actually use them. Deep brings an interesting take to the table when its comes to marketing the brand.
"There wasn't really a brand that brought out the casual environmentalism."
Not everyone wants to "wave the green green flag" as Matt said but at the same time still understand that it's ok to want to recycle the cans on deck and be conscious of the resource. With the way the world is at its almost as if every activity and or action you take feels as though you are put into one bucket or the other, when in reality everyone and anyone should be understanding that all ecosystems are precious and should be conserved. In a more plain statement, how about don't be a slob and litter....no one likes that!
Keep them at the Dock
You will find that fishermen although some of the most conservation minded people on the planet, don't let Seaspiracy fool you, are also incredibly superstitious. So much so that bringing bananas onboard a boat is a surefire way to find yourself being left at the dock, or your yellow fruit floating in the boats wake. Matt and Mike took the conspiracy to the next step by creating a tee to represent the wicked fruit and give us the breakdown of why you should leave the bananas on the dock. The superstition gets its origin from sailors who believed that bananas would cause a ship to sink. This was the case, because when ships sank all that was left amongst the wreckage were bananas, hence why it instilled fear when aboard.
The Great Balloon Challenge
Deep isn't a brand that sits on their hands waiting for someone to do something, these guys take action! Everyday on the water, it's without question that you are will encounter a mylar balloon, floating on the surface of the water. For hundreds of miles balloons pollute the ocean, confusing sea creatures, and often times killing marine life. Yet how do you stop little 3 year old Johnny from losing his balloon, short answer is stop making balloons, but we know thats not gonna happen. So for now, the guys at Deep have set out to pick up every balloon they stumble upon on the water. Enlisting their followers to help aid in the removal of these unwanted Supermarket specials.
Matt: Where are we right now?
Zach: This is point view marina in snug Harbor. Yup. Yup. And I don't know. We've been in the slip down in here. Mike's boat is right over in the other one. What are you on my
Mike: 26 center console? Which one? It's actually on dry dock right now. I had a lower
Matt: unit. That's not talking about that right now
Mike: to really twist the knife, bud.
Zach: What what engines are you running?
Mike: I've got a Yamaha, two hundreds on it. It's just, it's not going to go in this year.
Matt: Oh man. Then we got somebody, one of the good things about being in the industry is you can usually find somebody willing to come down and for the most part troubleshoot and skip you in front of the line.
So we're going to try to figure out a way where he can. Great in swap up, trade up, whatever, afraid some apparel, maybe 2 million t-shirts maybe get a
Mike: trolling motor
Matt: t-shirt for a Yamaha power head. Yeah. Which I apparently came, find out. Yes, no. That's the biggest thing is Is having engines that might be a little older, better than in repairing them.
If you have the means to like actually repair them, if you don't mechanic or your mechanic, it's is it better to just absorb that effort and labor and save on what you'd spend for overtime pay for a new boat and know you're going to have some parts to spare. Yeah, exactly. And, whatever keeps it running.
Yeah. Yeah. I
Zach: know one of our boats we're trying to replace the evidence on it and we're 53
Matt: weeks. Yeah, I was in motors, stoner. Boatworks a guy who builds custom, like Carolina flared center counsels down in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, 56 weeks out on motors. He's got boats that can't take motors. Yeah. It's insane.
Zach: It's crazy. So do you prefer obviously, We're on the west back, which is a
Matt: single screw. It's got a cat in it, 1150. And we bounced around, we had, a hydro sport like Mike, we had Santa councils our whole life and you get to a point where it's you're looking at a sporty.
It depends what type of fishing you're doing if he likes speed or comfort, not to quote wedding crashes, but it's the truth. And we're just like, Jim's boat actually right there with the midnight rambler was a big inspiration around this. Cause we were right at the cost of figuring out, it's my old man's boat.
My brother and I, we run it and take care of it. And we went out in November to canyon with Jim. This is going back like 2000, like 14, something like that going in before that 2012. And we went out in November. We're just dry, comfortable. Can't beat it. Yeah. And if you hit something, you go in slow enough where it's probably not gonna do any crazy damage in between work.
Like even our schedules, anybody who has a business, like you got to want, you want to be able to go when you can go. You don't mind tolerating a little shitty weather. Yep. Go slower. And. Yeah. Again, you're not at risk for hitting something. I know you're going to get home. You're going to get home and you can run at night when you can't go 15 knots and a boat that wants to go 30.
You're going to suck fuel. And so it's all a preference for what you like doing. I'm cool. Taking more time and yeah, doing that. But we love the clamming and ground fish and stuff that you do on little boats. That's yeah. And that's
Zach: the bread and butter of Narragansett bay road.
I'll point you to luckily as long as you hugged the coast, You're good with the center console. Yep. But as soon as you want to go off shore something like, this is like where you want to be. Unless my buddy Jake, who
Matt: has the, the 34th 42 Yellowfin he had you handled Yellowfin.
Is that 39? Invincible? Yeah. Beautiful. Yeah. Fricking unbelievable bad ass. That's a battle. That's a battleship of a different a different mic, but yeah, he cruises at 50 knots out to the camp. Again. Yeah. If you've got, if you have the time and flexibility to take that good weather or good ish weather, and you're able to blast out, there's nothing.
Nothing wrong with that new. Yeah. It's just a, yeah. You can only do so much if you've tried tie down work, like my brother has kids, so we try to align our schedules. So it's you got to go and you can go right now. It works out. It works out. Get out a little bit here and there, for sure. For sure.
Zach: Now my, now you guys are both Mike and Matt from. Point Judith like Rodale.
Mike: We actually don't
Zach: island Northern crown because deep is based out of Cumberland. Technically
Mike: just north of Providence. I grew up in north Smithfield. He grew up in Cumberland and then I moved to Cumberland. That's kinda how we met.
Matt: yeah, I got ya. Yeah, we linked up through another guy in the industry. That was a, just a pro staffer for a lot of mutual companies. He's a charter guy in Rhode Island and, introduced us basically, Mike was looking for someone to help out with sales channels and possibly someone to come in on the business, help out.
And at that point in time, I was doing walk-ins for walk-in appointments for Gibbs lawyers. That's what I did. So I walked into fucking tackle shop. Matt crotchety, old owners and the earth. Yeah, I got used to being told no all the time. And none of those, the experience we needed to gets at the time, web the website, it was just starting to get going, like direct to consumer purchases were just, Amazon was.
Biggest thing go and you, how do you compete with that? And then we had to focus on walking into stores and how do the trick is how do you convince them to dedicate floor space, to a new brand, a whole fray, get them to accomplish the same thing with your brand that they had with an it's tricky and take it's a hard sell.
And we got better at it, but at the end of the day, probably a big part of what Mike's gig is making sure the website's fluid developing it. It's changed three times over in the past three years, so yeah, it's crazy.
Zach: Like website development. I've gone through five iterations of my site alone and doing other people's sites.
It's just a constant thing. But as we let's take a step back a little bit and you guys meet, but before that, There is a whole nother story behind Mike and Matt. So Mike, where did you get? Because obviously, man, you grew up down. Fishing your dad owns Gibbler
Matt: is correct.
And I a manufacturer, but that's how I got into it yet. It gives us something that we were involved with as a group. And yeah, that's how I started with that. So growing up
Zach: point, you to clamming fishing the whole bit. Yeah. I grew up down on the tunic here off
Matt: of park app. Yeah, that's my grandmother's place.
Zach: Coming down and then in the Whaler, going around the salt ponds going past Perry's. I know you spent a lot of time
Matt: in between, of course, I sure did. I think we all logged our fair share there, right on the elbow in the bar. Yeah. So then Mike,
Zach: how did you get involved in the
Mike: whole Doris space?
Always grew up outside hunting, fishing was down here surfing as a kid. So it was always in the ocean. And then when I had a landscape construction company before deep and started really bought my first salt water boat, small little center console. My brother was spending a lot of time with friends on the water at the same time and just started as a joke, but cause we're living the lifestyle and we're like, if I could, I really.
The construction stuff, hated it. And I was like, if I could have a company based around something I love and something, I have a passion for it, it wouldn't feel like work. It was partially wrong on that too.
Zach: But what made you start the construction company?
Mike: That's a great question. I don't have a great answer for I went to college for marketing had a business degree and just.
I realize I could make more money with work boots on. I'd always been doing blue collar work. Just couldn't really see myself doing the nine to five. Yeah. I haven't worked for anybody else other than myself since I've been 21. Wow. That's impressive.
Zach: That's really cool. And then you slowly started transition out.
Mike: on the water is where it's at. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It took a while before I could leave the construction company before I could actually, sustain our salaries. So that's kinda like where Matt came in and we had an infrastructure that we moved into an actual office with an actual warehouse with shipping docs.
Some people still think I'm shipping off my pool table in my basement, which
Matt: doesn't go away. Yeah no. Does it ever go
Zach: away know, so a friend of mine John who owns a coffee company up the street, Basically when I was going to URI, we would go I would go, I would wander up to the top of campus cause he lived at the top of campus and we literally pick and pack and roast beans in his kitchen, and it was that, those moments that you remembered, you're like, oh man, this is it sucks. But at the same time, it's you look back at it like, yeah, this is so much fun. You
Mike: it's cool to say that's how you started with nothing. It was just an idea. And literally I have pictures of my son. Who's 10.
As an infant sitting on my pool table while we're at my brother and I are folding shirts and shipping stuff.
Zach: Yeah. Yeah. So now when you go through those moments and you're in, you're picking those apart and as you see a piece together, deep as a very interesting brand, I see there's a lot of the blue collar.
Yeah. You're welcome.
Matt: That's why we're here, right? Yeah. Shit, there's,
Zach: we're on tough guy, so there's that fishing element to it, but then there's a whole like outdoor hunting. Woods that side of things that I feel like you guys are Brent branching into, but to some degree, I still feel like the whole boat to bar is also that almost like a blue collar.
Mentality, it's like work hard, play hard, right? Yeah. That was a bar. You're going to go on the boat, have a long day. And then at the end of the day, we're all going to get together and go to the mob and have some oysters.
Mike: Yeah. And it also translates into the type of clothing that we make where, these are boat to bar hybrids.
So they're meant to go on a boat, meant to go swimming, then you can go out to eat with them, throw a polo on. You look just as good. And they have the same function. So let
Zach: me ask you this. So like why apparel? Man, like you got your, from the you're from the Lira industry, you're from the construction
I think that's a good question, but I think we looked at the market, like we all make mistakes. Mike had, when, he and his brother started things off and got the company going there was already brand recognition. I knew what it was, sick opportunity to be involved with.
And I remember there was exactly a point where I was like, sure. It gives is great to a degree it's work. But to be in an industry that I knew wasn't going to feel like work again. It always comes around to eventually feeling like work and there's always responsibilities and shit that happens, but I'm cool with it being a lifestyle choice, as opposed to forcing and grinding it out each day.
What am I doing here? Why am I doing it? I think we can both say with total confidence. Although it's been a crazy curve always is every day. We both, I think revel in the troubleshooting that happens every day and I think we'd be fucking bored without it. And we, that's how you start a business and you get that gratification.
When you see things, the needle move in here in you, you're gambling on yourself every day. Sometimes you're taken back, off the table on certain things and you're moving it around. And I think that's part of the game that. We, like you talk about working for yourself.
There's so many things that we knew that we're no strangers to hard work or grinding it out or going back there and doing the dirty work routinely even sometimes still. But we want it to be able to be in a space where we had flexibility to go and do it. Oh yeah, go fish, go clam or take the day, Just whether it's New Hampshire, whether it's lake life, whatever, it's a breaking your clavicle mountain bike.
I wasn't going to touch on that, but bring it up. Yeah. I'm sorry, it's, that's a big part. And I think, between COVID happening, it's silver become more relevant. You got the 10 feet. To jump on it and get it done and have fun. And if you don't take advantage of it, it's like you're 65 and maybe at a different profession and you're retired, but you spent all that time, not doing a couple of these meaningful things that really just, you know, whether it's climbing with the kids do dog beach.
This past two weeks we got my brother's two kids, there's three and five. And both our wives out there for the first giant tuna, epic experience. And it's do we have that flood? Can you do that? If you don't have that ability? To go in, when it's appropriate and capitalize on it, content is
Zach: content days.
Great. It's worth right off. Keep right in LA. Yeah.
Matt: It's free. The government pays for it. That's what everybody's mindset is these days. Yeah, exactly.
Zach: mentioned this whole, taking a gamble on yourself and, Mike explained Hey, I was on my full table, pick, pack and ship.
Stepping back even further, like those beginning days of walking into and being a sales guy and like going into a shop and be like, wow, Nope. Not interested. Nope. Not interested. Even going down to higher coming up with the designs and seeing where the brand, where do you want to take it?
Where did you guys start? What was step one for you?
Mike: We'll step up. One was, logo and bringing concept to markets. We got very fortunate where the designer that helped us with deep had worked with a lot of different brands in the sport industry, sporting goods and just outdoor industry in general.
So once we created the logo that we liked and we agreed the direction that the company was going to go we were able to get really good advice, talk to this screen for an era, the. Don't go crazy with the colors. Keep, we got a lot of good advice early. And then from there on it was just testing stuff, reaching out to people now that are great friends that, we just have great fishing, Instagram handles or Facebook handles that were like, would you wear a t-shirt if we gave you one, it was very grassroots when we started.
And then, yeah. Starting to knock on doors, a lot of nos. And then, you get a $500 order of hats or something, which looking back on was more of a pain in the ass and it was worth, it's a little wins like that, that added up over the years. Yeah.
Zach: And then I like how you mentioned taking that gamble every single day, because essentially that's what you're doing, it's a little by little, small strikes on the stone that will eventually build this thing called deep.
Now, was it this idea of. Keeping it Northeast based, because it's interesting. You see a lot of brands and there's nothing here in the Northeast. There's only really one other brand I can think of. And that's jetty. And that's down in New Jersey. So that's like on the edge of, is it the Northeast?
Is it not, but having something that's purely Rhode Island purely here on the coastline, it's such a unique
Matt: place to be. Yeah, I think, yeah. We talk on all the time, the different activities that comprise the Northeast. When the shortlist here, he mountain bikes, fishes, hunts. I fish, we both board chances are because of the way the seasonality works.
Like what are you going to do? And not do something for six months out of the year, you're going to probably go do something. And one of the things. Touched on was what if we, the most unique thing I think we have, and I noticed it before, when we were just starting to get involved with the versatility of what deep could mean could apply to, we made the conscious decision to originally the name on even our Instagram is deep ocean apparel, but we realized that this was four or five years ago, we dropped ocean apparel and it organically started filtering in.
The outdoor images, the outdoor lifestyle, cause both bar translates to God. Reuse lake as an example of our biggest growth market, because one, that's a big group of people that doesn't have a brand that speaks to them because most of those brands are salt water, strictly surf related fish, SaltLife pelagic American fishing tackle stuff like it's.
We realized there was a big. And the market space for tackling this group of people that are way more passionate, that even saltwater fishermen, and they just liked to drink and go out in their fucking pontoon boats and hang out. And we realized, yeah, we could really occupy that. And it's been a really ravenous group of people that we found like traction with people in Wisconsin.
That was our carry attacks, Minnesota
Mike: silage. No shit. Yeah. Interesting. And they buy a lot of the tuna stuff too. It's you'd think it'd be all like our Poons and to insurance. They buy just as much tuna stuff as the
Matt: Northeast. Interesting. I think it just needed it. Like that whole area just needed like something that spoke to them a little bit that said, yeah, it's a cool again, cool factor.
Huge thing. A lot of people. Screw up, slapping it on t-shirts we take it for granted because we haven't looked, he has a great eye for keeping things simple and concise, but, we also are lucky in the sense that we both know what looks good and what says deep. Yep. Very rarely is there.
Eh, I don't like that and I think this, but it just doesn't happen often because we both know that, simple as better, the logo speaks for itself and people want to interpret it, how they want to interpret. Who's to say that it can apply there. So I think
Zach: leaving it up interpretation almost extends and creates your brand
And you get that and you get that overlap where, why is it tuna roster shirts under some guy's base layer for, boarding or why is a sun shirt good for the same exact thing? It's all got those same features. And when we just started, Did the people that played sports and grew up playing sports.
There's really only a couple of performance brands that you would wear underneath equipment. And even hockey lacrosse, we both played hockey, but we, one things I noticed was when I was really playing lacrosse after college, it was like, there's only under armor or new balance armor under armor rip-off and it's it's just a sun shirt.
It's a. What if you started taking some of those concepts and just make them a little more, if it's comfortable for sports, sweating, salt water, gotta be comfortable, it's going to be comfortable for everything else. And that's really where we stay in our lane. We realized that no, one's going to replace the bibs, the orange bibs in the Northeast.
You no, one's going to replace your sick of jacket for, hunting in the mountains. Like we focus on stuff. He brought up. Affordable stuff that typically sticks around one 50 and below from, $150 and below. And we do the stuff ourselves. So we know shit, that's going to hold up. Nope, man, that zipper already, already pulled on us.
So it's not going to work. So that's where I think maybe, we have a very good hands-on is just every single product filters through us. And again, it's voice through the social. It was funny. I was talking to another person who started a company recently or is involved with the company. And one of the things they don't handle is their own social.
And they don't handle their own customer service. And it's one thing that we, we're nudged to do from people a lot smarter than us was make sure it ships clean, make sure they know they're appreciated. And if it's going to be late, which happens, it does, it'll happen anywhere. Sure. Take accountability for it and reach out to them because.
Yeah, those are the types of things that if you let a crew build up, it's going to be all bad news. Right now it's
Zach: interesting because if we keep touching on the whole Northeast as it as a whole, right. And you guys do reach other places. Absolutely. But it seems as though that deep has its home here, especially here in point, Judith. And, I was, I go to elite shooting range,
Matt: james, over there. Yeah.
Zach: You guys have a home here right now though. You do reach other places. What do you think it is that makes the Northeast so special that you can go and go mountain biking and go hiking and hunting.
And it's that seasonality that kind of almost breeds more creativity from queer people here in the Northeast. And I think you would almost get, I feel like. Maybe that's not the right way to describe
Mike: it. I think he nailed it though. Six seasons. We have seasons that some other states don't, so where some other states might fish 12 months out of the year, We don't have that luxury.
So we're forced to do mountain sports. We're forced to do other recreational activities. And that's what we realized early on where we were like let's try like maybe not a hardcore hunt shirt, but let's try something with a mountain on it or let's try something with some ducks on it.
And I was like, oh, big surprise. All these fishermen also like hunting people who don't fish or hunt. They like the ducks on the shirt or they liked the mountain on the shirt. And, I got really big and mountain biking. Cause I can, I was like, I'm going to throw a tire on the back of a shirt and it sold.
Awesome. And it's just, yeah, it's funny how we've just, because we're not big corporate, we're allowed to do whatever we want and just have fun. And a lot of people are doing the same stuff we're doing now. Do
Zach: you think that, dipping your toes into those different buckets?
Like what's the mindset behind. Going that route without straying away too far from, deep per se. You know what I mean? Like you probably wouldn't want to dive into like you said, Matt, you don't want to make the next sick jacket, but if we can make a jacket that kind of fits in between them, let's do it.
So what's your what's your,
Mike: yeah, that's a good question. Cause we, we do have those conversations of how do we do this stuff without alienating our core base, which initially was hardcore off shore fishermen. And we've been pleasantly surprised that we've been able just by what we do and what we show that we haven't alienated that.
And people still take us as a legit authority in that market. But by dipping the toes in and maybe not making a giant. Making a new t-shirt or series of designs on, t-shirts hoodies perform insurance. It allows us to test it and with the new, huge push to the direct to consumer market, we can try this stuff out with literally little to no risk for us.
Matt: Yeah. And I think a lot of it, dictates, a big part of his gig is, sourcing materials what's available. All right. What's it cost as an expert. Big question in indeed, does it fall in line with all those things added up? Does it fall in line with the direction what you're doing?
And that usually dictates the next thing that's coming out. And we found that, even when we were walking into stores the fact that people wanted to order stuff, Dick's sporting goods. We had, several tasks with them and they want our assortment six months at a time, which is typical buying.
But you see a shifting now because. One who wants to be stuck with stuff six months dated, hoping they get it. Because we realized quickly realized that's not built for us. We're meant for being flexible new designs every week and controlling, controlling the messaging. And I think that's just, a big part of it is having that in your back pocket.
Zach: mentioned messaging, right? And like this whole idea of. Cultivating this brand that reaches so many different people. And I think that's, what's really important. What we haven't really touched on is your guys is, impact on the community, right? When you have a huge impact here in Rhode Island, you actually there was, it was funny.
I was running the boat. I think I was going to east Greenwich and there was a balloon floating around. And you sure should I turned around for that balloon, cause if it was like right over here, I would have grabbed it. Usually if you're running,
Matt: can't get them all.
You gotta get them all. You can't get them all, there are people that certainly try to. And so I, I turned
Zach: around, I grabbed that plan, and I took a video. I haven't posted yet. I'll throw it up there. I was waiting. Yeah. Talk to me about all this, like this con conservation aspect, because you guys are both.
Yep. And there's this
Zach: it's this interesting dynamic, right? Because nowadays we'll see, the big tuna shots or, guys GAF and fish, and it's this whole, it's a very
Matt: negative battery. It's like a testicle and we see it all the time. And that's why we've, tastefully steered away from kill anything more so because you can depict you're out fishing all day in a shot with the touch of creativity.
You don't need. The dead body on the floor, you can say, there's just, you gotta be conscious about the story you're telling in the picture. And we found, and again, with some guidance from, other people that you have to tastefully articulate that, you've fished hardcore all day, but with a different type of shot.
And I think that's what we really, again, one of the things that I think we do a little bit more unique by controlling the content, having the content filter through us strictly we're able to show. Hey, this is us right here. And you didn't have to show a dead animal in, in, listen, we harvest, we, that's a big part of what we do and to be part of our messaging is harvesting sustainably.
And we think rod and reel fishing is absolutely falls into that category. There's so many boats on this dock that, half of them make a living ground fishing every day. And we don't take that for granted that where does that fresh plate of sea bass with flounder? Show up from, and it's honestly, a good percentage of it is guys like this.
It's not all draggers. It's not all gillnets, but right. We respect that people have to make a living doing it. We fall into that category a little bit, but you've got to, you got to walk the line with what it is you're showing. And again, it's the touch of creativity. You gotta be able to put on. It's a tell story and picture.
And what do you mean
Zach: by that? Touch a creativity. Cause a lot of people take that differently. My work with Waypoint. When what we do is, our goal is to educate and equip and inspire the future outdoors. So like it's all positively creating this community around, the guys like local knowledge and, on the water, the guys who are making those types of things.
And there are shows out there that we just won't even deal with. Cause they just, they don't fit the ethos, but you guys have narrowed in and said, we're going to work with guys like Kenny Chesney. We're going to come up with the balloon challenge, come up with these different ways to interact.
Like you say, creativity. To be able to perpetuate that positive mindset, that deep kind of,
Mike: yeah, absolutely. And that's where about a year ago, year and a half ago, we really made a conscious decision to go as sustainable as we could, and explain our message of sustainability. Both from making, we're starting to make recycled shirts.
Partnering with Kenny Chesney and no shoes, reefs. Have you met Kenny yet? I've seen him at a show, but briefly we deal with his partner, Brett, who does a great job managing that that relationship, but it's been great. And A ton of money, which gets donated to reef ball foundation and they build artificial reefs.
They've got projects all around the world. We're actually working on one right here for the ocean mist locally, or an island. What's that gonna look like? I think it's going to be a couple of different tests, but You'll have to stay tuned and see how that works out, but that there's secret. Yeah.
It's in the works right now, but that would be really cool. And yeah it's like a triple threat where creating awareness, we're creating clothing that was taking recycled, but taking bottles out of the environment, recycling it, making the clothing and then donating back to an organization.
Helps you build these artificial reefs. So it's really cool. The whole thing is very transparent. We donate quarterly so you can see the money actually physically go into the foundation and then you can see the foundation allocating that money to which projects they're going to do next.
And you're getting
Zach: this full supply chain is soup to nuts. This is what's happening. It's not just going into some big pale. Dumping money and exactly,
Mike: and really see where it's going. And that's kinda how it started. And then just quickly with little things like, okay, at the time it was industry standard to wrap every single t-shirt hat, whatever in a plastic bag where like this doesn't really make sense.
Now we're making recycled shirts. Why are we doing. So we're like, we're not bagging shirts anymore, and we're going to even tell the wholesalers unless you have a major issue with this, we're not sending you stuff wrapped in plastic.
Zach: Did any customers come back and say that we don't want no,
Mike: there was like maybe one, one customer around the holidays that were like, I think you guys just sent me some use clothing.
It wasn't wrapped at all. That was like one person out of thousands. So it wasn't a big deal, but within a very short amount of time, we tallied it up. Cause we, it wasn't even all of last year that we launched, it was only partial and it was like over 40,000 bags that we. Put into the environment, right?
Because of this, this movement we started. And that's where, when you say the touch of creativity, it doesn't have to be just the image that we're showing. Matt does a lot of our social and he's very good at the language, because we don't ever want to talk at people like a lot of other organizations do where.
If you don't do what we do, you're bad. This is more of there's a way to do this. You don't fire people, you don't have to hug trees all the time to care about the environment. There is a sustainable part, we're not vegetarians. If you're vegetarians great for you, we support that too, but we do eat meat and fish and there's a way to do it, responsibly a hundred percent.
Matt: Yeah, I think we, it was crazy. It tied in last year was a crazy year for everybody and it. I don't want, see, you get pigeonholed if you vote one way or another. But when we talked about being someone picking up trash, isn't politicized, pick up the fucking trash and don't be a slob.
That's how, that's a big part of like our foundation is we were raised to like, all right, you're going to be an active outdoors person. Just, Pick up garbage where you can and you don't litter deliberately steward. Yeah. Yeah. It's like you try not to focus on a lot of those words, because again you don't want to feel like you gotta fly a green flag to do anything.
That's super, super casual. You brought up the blue collar guy, right? There's a huge group of people that are assumed to be throwing their stuff overboard because they're either a blue collar or a chose a political view one way or the other. And it's Everybody should be able to be in agreement on this and why wouldn't we, and the fact that, there wasn't really a brand that brought out the casual environmentalist in venom environmentalism.
That was a big thing. It's like, how do you make this like a casual effort? It's by not thrown in their face. It's not by, you shouldn't be doing this. You gotta be able to realize that, our customer base is guys that work hard and to slow. Organically, let them know that, it's okay to have a recycling five gallon drum to a five gallon bucket on your boat, as opposed to just everything going in.
And again, you can't win them. All right. You can't pick up every Mylar balloon out there. So even just, putting on a shirt, that's six, bought five bottles in the t-shirt and then, did your part, you did your part and you did something it's a step. What are we going to do? Not take the small step we can.
So we found like that the traction with just the shirt. It's been super well-received and then, the balloon challenge was just something like, from us, spending time out there and it's dude, this is ridiculous. What is it about? I don't know what it is. I just don't understand. When you have a balloon don't you fucking pop it before you put it in the trash.
So you just save space at the very least you save space and then you go out there and you literally see over say 20 miles. You're going out to the golly tuna fishing. You go 20 miles and you see a steady stream, like a chump slick of one. Again, I don't know the science around it, but one of the guys here, he's a commercial dragger captain.
Yeah. Graduation, birthdays. I don't know what it is, but one of the guys Norbert stamps, he ran some offshore lobster boats in the port of Galilee. And he's an environmental rep. No commercial fisheries for Virginia, New Jersey, and then up to here in the Northeast. And he started the balloon ban here with Susan Donovan was their rep out of Bristol or Barrington.
And there's stuff in the works. It just hasn't gotten any like recognition as a problem. And, he coined it best when he said. This is the biggest littering problem we have as a fishery. And when we threw it out there, we were like, all right, what if we throw some swag, incentivize these people to, get a balloon in, in, in Gaffin and bring it in.
And we never realized the traction that this would recurrently. Cause it's fucking crazy. Yeah.
Zach: I feel like every time I go on your Instagram, there's always just a new post. There's always something it's tough to keep up to. I believe it, and it's cool to watch because you're seeing guys off shore who are their sole goal is to catch a tuna, but meanwhile, they're also picking up trash and they're doing
Matt: something good for you.
It gives that industry, a positive reflection that they normally wouldn't get because they'd assumed to be just a fish killer. And you're probably not doing anything positive when conversely, these are the types of. Guides, they are the ones, the best stewards for this stuff. They be the way, but they don't get the recognition for it because the end of the day, they killed something to make the dough, to pay their charter pay or have their charter pay them.
It's they don't, that's part of the process, but, we need to shed a positive light on it and we never thought that we'd see, guys going out to, George's bank for lobster. Balloons, but at the same time, a bow rider going out clamming or going out fishing for the day, doing something dog beach in they're posting something too.
So I think that's what we're doing in a nutshell is just bow rider, guy, hardcore, everyday guy, they're all submitting the same stuff. And we think that, we're the brand that kind of brings that together. Because again, we're taking a different approach. It's a more organic, not in your face.
Do a good thing. If you can try to do it and we'll show you the results at the end of the day, because the donation or excuse me, the, yeah, the amount of retrievals don't lie, the amount of money we give back on the, the shirts, the amount of bottles and plastic bags that we save is it's all tangible.
It's all numbers you can show. And we wanted to focus on that, especially this year being transparent, right? These are our three main causes. We talked on donating old garments, old clothes to the home. We talked about some of the military organizations where, you know beyond the battle, taking out guys that, have served time and first responders that have, had serious PTSD, that this is why we're doing it.
If we could leave a good positive mark in environmental side, obviously that should go without saying, and then to be able to have these two other co causes, that kind of thing. Our brand is, Nope. We're happy with that. Yeah. That makes you
Zach: guys, make it, when I think of Mike and Matt, I think of two solid dudes, trying to do some good in the world, do it
Matt: told you like you
Zach: and just going about your way, and you mentioned these guides and fishermen and, just your average go spinning these twos, two planes, if you will.
And coming together. But, for people to think that fishermen aren't stewards or conservationists, it blows my mind. I still have not been able to figure out why someone who looks at some guy fishing with a rod and reel doesn't think that's sustainable whatsoever. Cause that's been going on for centuries, a millennium.
So it's interesting to see that and to be able to touch in that creativity as you will, sprinkle that in, I think is, top notch. So what's been like. You guys have this brand you're well-established you have a really good name for yourselves. There's always these moments where you're like, man, this is getting tough, right?
Like we're on my pool table, shipping out shirts. And I got to catch this tonight unless we can pay for these this next inventory around what's the, what's been some of the learning curves, in creating this business and in connecting that fishermen with that.
Matt: I think that when Mike does a good job, given the grassroots backstory, the truth is, we don't, we have such a close perspective of the business every day that there'll be two or three times a year. Once, usually after Christmas, one's going into spring before like peak sales start, where we really get to take a step back and be like, we might've set the table for ourselves to be in a good position from a business standpoint or, and, we've also had opportunity.
We also had events. Know, oh shit. How are we going to get this done? How do we get that done? All these normal day-to-day life things, you need to be able to support yourself. We have those, I think the nature of someone owning a business is to focus on the troubleshooting, the bad stuff every day.
So we've gotten good at first of all, chilling out when, knowing what to worry about and knowing what not to worry about. And it's Focused in our leftover data that we have up here is you've got to appreciate the wins and when you have them. So we've done a good job at being like, listen, we got to this point and, and just maintaining that positivity, cause there's no shortage of stuff that you could focus on.
That's negative, but the end of the day you're making money, you're selling a lot of shirts and Those are the freakouts are seasonal. Yeah. There's very seasonal. Yeah. It's but it takes we're very lucky in a sense, cause I don't know if each of us were by ourselves.
Like we'd be able to sustain the amount of juice you need to battle through this. And that's a big part, like being able to have that, if I can't handle it that day, Mike can and vice versa. And as we've gotten more involved in, there's more formal policies that the company and this other stuff, you break, you grow each day.
But if you're not hands-on to do that stuff, if you're not there, if you don't show that, listen, we were there doing it. We were doing it packaging. We were doing slapping labels on boxes for a very long time. And think that was probably the biggest milestone for us was now we can focus on the three jobs that we need to do as opposed to the.
'cause we got that good manager down there, working the shift, working the day shift, making sure orders are going out because it's so tough to focus on that, oh God, we had a big day in the web. Oh, now I gotta go make it all or do it. All right. It's man, it's it's tough.
It's better to get pregnant. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. You gotta get, you gotta get down there and get the stuff out the door. So that was a big one for me. I know it was for you to be able to have that quality of life that this is why. To be able to go out and interact with, guys like you and and then see your stuff all up and down the dock.
It's a good feeling. It's cool. Yeah. Those would probably be the two big things. The brand recognition you see around here, it's wow that was something we did. And obviously a lot of people that ranked for that, but it's a, that's the win for me, man. Yeah.
Zach: Yeah. And it seems as though, like this business in particular, you have to be that hands-on right.
You have to be in it. Like you can't just be someone that is, sitting in the office and be like, I want to create a, a fishing shirt or I want to create something that is in the outdoors because the outdoor industry is, largely. Group of people that enjoy the outdoors, right?
You just don't get into it to get into
Mike: it. You have to be an authority on it. Like I said, that helped, and it allows us to go into these other markets besides just fishing. But yeah we're hands-on and we're because we're not like I used the term before. We're not a big corporate company.
We have the ability to sit down and come out with new stuff when we want to we still do hit wholesale. But the direct to consumer market has really grown the businesses. And it's allowed us to sit down and have these powwows daily. What do we want to do tomorrow? What do we want to do next week?
How do we get the fall momentum going? How do we get ready for the holidays? And it's I think we're in a great place now. COVID definitely threw a wrench in everything just from manufacturing chain the whole day employees, the whole thing. I think we're in a great spot now where you're going to see a lot of cool stuff coming out of us in the next and the next year.
Zach: It's interesting like this, you guys haven't been on the podcast is actually the first part. Business that's been on the show. So I'm curious. Yeah. It's, some people have had partners and them, gone on by themselves, but I'm interested, like how has that dynamic, right?
Cause you guys seem like you guys work pretty well together. And in a way where you both are in the outdoors, you guys talk to each other in a sense, it's Hey, you're going mountain biking. I'm going fishing. Like, how does that work? And
Matt: to give and take, it's a give and take.
Obviously again, you get these type of guidance beforehand before you hit your wagons. And it's one thing I noticed immediately was all right, Mike's a good infrastructure guy. Mike's good at doing a bunch of things that I'm not great at. And then, on the flip side of the coin, it's, we probably wouldn't have gotten together if we didn't have that very visible.
We knew that, alright, this guy bounced, it bounced us out. The other thing too is we didn't know each other before we weren't friends. We didn't hang out before was it was a blind date, more or less blind date look like I
Mike: buy me a lunch at, I buy
Matt: you lunch or a mini split. I don't know.
We went, oh yeah, it was first. It was early on. So we probably fought for the tab right off the bat. But Gibbs guy, but no. Yeah, it do it. It's like an arranged marriage. Like it's like you work on it. And then eventually I think the reason that we didn't know each other beforehand, we were able to have this fresh, clean slate.
There's no preconceived, this is what you're, that, you're that type of guy. We have to feel it out. There's definitely a bunch of learning curves and bumps, dude disagreements happen and we do a good job. I think that short-term memory and it's I feel this. I feel that, but we're very lucky in the sense of.
We are share an Adam or a brain cell one left. And we're lucky that it's on the same page that we at the end of the day, best interest of the company is in mind with every decision we make. Where's the growth what's focus there. And most of these decisions that I think partnerships get hung up on, we're lucky where we're like, that's it.
What do you think of this proof? What do you think of this strike off? Good. Maybe tweak this and. If you can't have a discussion with your partner about life business, salary, time, whatever, all of these discussions we've had you gotta have a short term memory and just be like, all right, cool.
Can you talk like you have to learn to talk like upfront and be straight up with it because we've had guidance from, we've had investors as well, which you know, is it was a great thing to have because we needed that kind of guy to be like, You guys are both doing this wrong here, or you guys are both doing this, right?
Mike: Stop crushing streams. Yep. You're able to
Zach: stay in your lane.
Matt: Yeah. You're able to, you're able to get like you do this, you do that. And that's what you bring a person on that for, to give you that experience and be like, this is where you're going to go wrong. You're going to have a million problems this way, or you two need to get on the same page.
But luckily those, these talks are few and far between because we've been just compatible. We bow balance, like with everything got. You know that one or two things that only he can do or it's for the best interest of their company to do and then vice
Mike: versa. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's the best way to say it is.
We have very calm, our skills compliment each other very well. And luckily when it comes to creative work, 99% on the same
Matt: page. Yeah. Yeah. So that was, that's what makes that process because we see the results. Every time we get together, we're like, Hey, what about this concept? Or I text him at 11 o'clock at night, or he sends me a DM from, Hey, what about this?
On this? Yeah, it doesn't shut off, but that's the cool part because it's your baby. It's fun. That's the fun part is the fun part. And we realized just how much we get out of these tweaks. And if you're not doing it in this space, You don't have that. Oh, doc tails, cocktails. Brilliant boat to bar. If we weren't both, swinging our fat legs over the size of sides of the boat to get off somewhere when you're half wet.
Yeah. But if you don't, if you don't have that feeling of wet Sandy shorts, trying to swing a leg over a gunnel and splitting it open, you're like, you don't have that appreciation for a while. We need a stretchy short, and this is going back. Years, and we needed to look good for grabbing a beer in or dinner.
And we realized that wasn't field specific. Everybody wants to be able to wear their designated a hardcore thing they have, but they don't want it to look too hardcore because who wants to wear the mahi print shirt? That's, has 20 different colors on it with five different back prints. It's not us.
Nope. It's not
Zach: me. It might work
Mike: on the water, but you probably shouldn't wear it to lunch.
Matt: So yeah, if you're not in the. Experiencing and doing it. That's totally where the inspiration comes from. Yeah.
Zach: And it seems as though it's, again, it's like the outdoor industry, you really have to be in it to be in it, otherwise you're just, you just don't understand, me being a captain, like having done a variety of different jobs in the industry, have this whole thousand foot view where I'm alive.
I'm able to talk with guys like you because I can speak some of the language. It might not know everything, but I know what a WestMed. And I know that I know hydro sport, isn't talking about engines and, it's just these little things that help in those little, I guess the links in the chain, they put everything together overall. So it's like having the community aspect and the infrastructure and to have this whole collaborative effort that eventually leads to what deep will become, and what deep is. As you guys keep moving forward and try in different things and what does it look like?
Five years from now
Mike: the sustainability thing we want to keep growing. In what ways I'd love to go fully sustainable as a clothing company. It's easier said than done, and COVID definitely put a kink in all manufacturing, domestic and foreign. So slowed us down a little bit there, but where you're going to see that line from us.
Continue and then I think we just really need to, keep with the creative keep coming out with new stuff within our boat to bar realm that really fits our core market and, core customers that have been with us since day one. And then, just keeping the messaging the same, from our voice and telling people, how we see it and hopefully they agree with us.
Matt: on. Yeah. You talked about wholesale and stuff before we. We got started off of mom and pop shops and that's something we always want to be available to. We always want to support those stores that have supported us. But when you get to a pinch point in your business, where you going to do what's best for your company right now, how do we make this available digitally available?
One, you're not printing 10,000 catalogs a year. What's that do for, someone that could very easily just go click on a hyperlink and it's easy to update. Making things more efficient or making things more us. And I think, again, it's the first year and a half where maybe even less than that, where we've had our ability to do our space.
And that means, for us, it's one of the new things I was able to do was work on, chase these, the deep blue and challenge and chase, ambassadors that are us, and how do you get the most out of them in Mike's corporate relationships? New fabrics to explore new sourcing all these things that kind of clipped your wings to start because you got to ship it and take care of the people that already bought something.
Now we finally are in that space where oh we're trying out some new stuff, but this is what I've meant to do. This is what, this is my space kind of finding your roles in a way you can never get too far away from it because you get called back. We have the holidays coming up too, and that's always a pleasant surprise, but again, you see all that traffic and you're like, great.
But when you're the guy down there packed me with. You got a different not going to do that. Yeah. Again, when you see it, materialize into a lot of people you don't know, in Chicago where her airport, I'm getting screenshots of guys sitting at a bar in another dude. Connecticut. And it's three years ago is do you know that guy?
Do you know that guy? Yeah. That's
Mike: we still get that. It's like Sora guy on the highway in a yellow Jeep with a deep sticker. Do you know who that is? We've got about like a hundred thousand stickers out there. Probably not. So
Matt: it's funny you get that loyal group of friends and people that have been with you since the jump and they might be more stoked than we are to see the national recognition that it's gotten.
We there's, again, there's no shortage issues. You could find a worry about. We just try to, again, after being in the trenches, doing it and getting it off the ground and thinking you got it done, and then you get your legs kicked out from under you and then you go back and do it. Two things. One thing I could say is he might be more stubborn than me, but we're both we don't take.
I don't really take no for an answer or don't really just sappy. You don't accept this isn't happening. It's gonna happen. Yeah. That's probably where a lot of people go wrong in apparel and that are not wrong. It's just, it's a tough ask. It's a tough workload. And we'd be lying if we said it didn't lead to migraines and minor health issues and all of a sudden their high blood pressure.
Mike: But having a heart restarted, yeah.
Matt: This guy, so it is crazy, but yeah. You get the perspective of what you're doing it for and you appreciate the winds when you get them.
Zach: It seems as though, a lot of things came out of COVID that were obviously not that. But one of the things that did come out that was pretty phenomenal was the explosion in the outdoor industry, from all different sides, whether you're selling boats, you're making apparel, you're whatever you're doing.
COVID just seems to have just amplified that in, in a very positive light cause everyone's trying to get outside. So what exactly, what kind of things like, you mentioned that jump and this is almost like a, seems like a kickstart. It had to have been, to. Continue that growth
Mike: and that trajectory.
Yeah the analyst was saying that last year was year one of a 10 year outdoor growth cycle. Really? So the people that, Maybe already hardcore guys there they're more hardcore. Now the guys that were like one foot in to the outdoors, maybe they camped, maybe they had a fishing rod.
They were both feet, foot, both feet in now. And then the people that were sitting on the couch that typically worked nine to five maybe, caught a football game on Sunday and drinks and beers. They were working from home now. Yeah. Yeah, I got to get outside. So it's been really cool to see it's really helped the growth.
And for, even for us, just because of everything stopped, including our wholesale, I think that's what, it was a blessing and a curse. We lost a ton of money on wholesale cause the country just stopped, but it also allowed us that minute to pursue, the no shoes, reef relationship and the, the eco clothing if COVID hadn't happened.
And we were still in our, that wholesale cycle, we might have not had the time to really pursue it. Yeah.
Zach: Interesting. Interesting. So as we wind down here, I got one last question. Bananas, are they
Matt: really bad luck? Oh boy. I think we know the answer to that. Are they, I listened.
I'm just adhering to a superstition that goes back hundreds. If not thousands of years here. And I remember. One time how this all came about is I was actually down with Seth font. I don't know if you know him. He's a partially Rhode Island guy, but he's a Florida, I don't know, south Florida boat captain either way.
I had gone out fishing with them. There's a banana on the boat. He went bullshit and we were striking out deep dropping swordfish. So I'm like that was a drastic reaction. I was like, oh man whatever, they're a nice boat food because they don't get soaking wet fig fit ideal. So I could see why people want to grab it, but.
Yeah, we were, I'm assuming you're referring to some type of video that may have featured one of us. We were out for a bachelor party. And it was my brother's best friend. My brother's the best man. And he wanted to go canyon fishing. He didn't want to do a wild bachelor party. Yup. Yeah, we just had a bunch of beers in the boat, went to the canyon and we were striking out.
We had just had sought off by a wahoo Waterloo, gray. We're like, why aren't we catching right now? And this guy comes out. So my buddy. It comes out non on a banana and I was like, that's fucking, it. That's the reason there was a get that thing out of your mouth and throw them all overboard and think you reached in and took it out of his mouth.
I got in there and but we had to get all of it out and it was so funny because we had a kid actually, they're doing some content filming and he's shooting the whole thing live. And that's how it people have is is that real? I was like, that was dead ass serious. So yeah. We caught a lot after that and he's a big guy, wahoo and.
Some more Yellowfin. So I'd say it listened, played safe than, sorry. All right. Hey,
Zach: good to know. Good to know if the last time I was out fishing, I was fishing with a big game. Yeah. We're out on the camp. We were up pretty close to the canyons and I brought up banana on it was my first time out with them and
Matt: Yeah, I got the handle how'd they handle it.
Zach: Shamus, and his big hands,
Matt: you tossed it overboard, oh God man. Yeah. That man angry at you is a, it's a different level. You don't want that. When I'm on my boat, I'll bring up banana. Okay. I'm listing out fishing. If I'm sure if you play the numbers enough, you can prove that, it doesn't play a role, superstitions a big part of going out fishing.
Yep. Fair enough. We'll air on this. On the side of not having them banana boat, sunscreen, banana boat, nothing. I think we did a thorough check actually this weekend when we had a little dry spell where you're like, all right, just making sure. Do you guys sell yellow? Light greens is about all we touch on close to
Zach: bananas, but yeah.
Mike: right. Fair enough. We still know banana shirts and you still can't bring those
Matt: on the boat. Yeah, that's actually a good thing. That's a good twist on that. We should explore that, but is that technically having a banana on the boat? We've got to have a towel,
Zach: like a mat.
That's yeah. There's people out there who have it's funny because that video brought out perfect case. We would not have had that shirt. Had we not had that absolute. Caught on film and we're like, why don't we come up with our decals full line hoodie, long sleeve, all this other stuff. But the banana's a great example of a, had we not taken a flyer on that a bachelor party, we probably wouldn't have had that shirt inspired.
Zach: there we go. What a great way to end it off guys. Thanks for coming on. And thanks for having me. I'm
Matt: glad we finally were able to link up and get outside in the rain held off, or whatever's about to brain
Zach: fog, classic point Judith.
Matt: Now you're the man. Appreciate it. Thanks guys.