In round 4 of the Business Spotlight Article, I’d like to take a moment and introduce Mr. Kyle O’Rourke of The Fat Flying Bread Brand. What started out as a simple doodle in the upper margins of a high schooler's notebook, has quickly blossomed into a full-time business. Recently moving from Austin TX to Morro Beach CA, this young entrepreneur is set on taking over the world, one design at a time. Let’s get started, shall we?
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How did the idea for your business come about?
It started as an accident. My friend Garrison taught me how to screen print my own t-shirts and make stencils for my own designs, as he had learned in art class at school. When given the opportunity to put whatever I wanted onto a t-shirt, I turned to a doodle that had frequented the margins of my math assignments since freshman year: A loaf of bread with wings. I made one shirt, then another, then another, and more and more till all I was wearing to school were my own t-shirts. My friends eventually noticed and asked to buy some, which blew my mind because it had never come close to crossing my mind that anyone would want to pay money for these things. After I sold them to my friends, it snowballed and spread via word of mouth, until it became a full-fledged business, beyond my school and into the real world.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How did you come up with the name of your business?
I wanted to have alliteration in the name, and sticking with only 'Flying Bread' wasn't doing it for me. So I named it 'The Fat Flying Bread Brand' (abbreviated FFBrBr). It's a mouthful yes, but most people remember just the Flying Bread bit, and that's enough.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - When did you start your business?
August of 2016 was the first time I sold a shirt. January of 17 was when it really picked up and started taking up lots of my time.
T-Shirt Wholesaler -Can you describe your business? Location, Size, Number of Employees, Etc?
I was based in Austin from August 2016 through August 2018, but recently moved out to Morro Bay, CA. The whole time it's just been me, my laptop, and a wooden framed silkscreen from Hobby Lobby on my kitchen counter. That's where the magic happens.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What motivates you?
Seeing people wear my shirts, my hats, or use my stickers and have conversations about them. Knowing that I made something that brought people together to have a conversation, or interact in some other way, with just a weird idea from the margins of a geometry assignment my freshman year of high school, pushes me forward to do more.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - Can you describe your typical customer?
High school kids, because that's where I started.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What kind of culture exists in your organization and how did you establish it?
The culture I try to create with everyone I come in contact with through the brand is focused on creativity and doing what you want. That sounds corny, but I really believe that everyone is creative and can do whatever they want in life. That's why I give people so many options for customization with my shirts. You can choose from tons of garment colors, and choose the color of the design. That's why I am doing this whole brand business thing at such a young age and give up so much sleep for it. There isn't any reason I can't do it, other than if I told myself I couldn't. I think people put too many limits on themselves, consciously or subconsciously, and I want to try to break that with my clothes.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What have your biggest challenges been and how have you overcome them?
Building a website and getting myself out there. Word of mouth and Instagram can only go so far when you aren't very good at social media. With regards to the website, I had a very intricate and complex idea for how the website would be structured, so I had to employ a couple of friends who were well versed with coding. It still didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned, but that was on my end with planning. More planning is going into the next version of the website.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What sets your business apart from the competition?
It's one person doing the whole thing. Design, production, delivery, and finance. Keeping the entire operation very close to myself makes sure that it stays pure and the message isn't lost in 'marketing' and 'sales'. It's about the art and the message behind it, first and foremost.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How do you define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression? Something Else?
It depends on the business and the goal or the business, along with the product or service said business is providing. As for my business, success is defined as bringing people together with my own self-expression through the designs I create and showing people they can do the same. We don't have to have investors or have some world-altering idea. It could be as simple as t-shirts.
I’d like to thank Kyle for the intimate look into his business, on the driving force behind his designs, and what lies next ahead for him and The Fat Flying Bread Brand. Feel free to drop in on his newly redesigned website or check him out on his Instagram channel to stay up to date on the brand’s current happenings or what’s coming down the pipe for the upcoming season. Thanks again, Kyle!