Chapter 4: The First Product

Business School Gets in the Way

MIT Sloan. Much Love. Amazing B School!

It took a long time to make a first product sample. When I moved to Boston to start business school at MIT, it changed my whole life. Most importantly, during my first year of business school, I continued to work full time at Accenture. The second half of the year was brutal; 80 or 100 hour work weeks! So NxTSTOP went on the back-burner for another six months. Let’s fast forward to the summer of 2014.

Inspiration: Ruehl for a NYC Local Icon Graphic Tee

Of course, my first idea centered on how to show off local knowledge of NYC. I was living in Astoria, Queens at the time and felt a lot of pride for the neighborhood. So, more than just the city, it occurred to me that representing really local, iconic pieces of neighborhoods would get people excited. The easiest way to do this in my mind was to capture pictures of local bars, signs, buildings, etc. and putting them on shirts. In fact, some earlier inspiration for this came from a now defunct Abercrombie brand called Ruehl (read here for more).

Ruehl Design for Greenwich Village Street Signs

This brand, although short-lived, was based on the “West Village” lifestyle in NYC. They did a few collections of graphic t-shirts that were hand-sketched drawings of buildings and street signs (e.g., Bleecker Street, see below) from the Village. I LOVED these shirts because the designs were distinctly NYC neighborhood in nature. So I started planning for a similar product based on recognizable locales.