It’s not everyday that you have the chance to make a difference when you shop for awesome American made t-shirts, leather wallets and accessories.
Behind the fast-growing lifestyle brand is Wes Whitlock, a mountain of a man with plans for his business that are as big as his biceps. But behind the muscles is a huge passion for helping organizations that support the military and families of the military.
A Marine himself, he got into the business of designing wares when he worked as a full-time Executive Protection Specialist for executives and American diplomats at home and abroad, which took him across the world and assigned him harrowing missions in locales like Iraq and Afghanistan.
“So we’d have teams, groups of 12 guys would have this specific mission. So I would make t-shirts for team, to kind of boost morale. I’d make the design look cool, military, historical stuff … I was kind of the creative one in the group,” he tells me as we tour the new fulfillment center stacked ceiling-high with bins of shirts, shoes, patches and posters all bearing his messages.
He’s managed to bring back centuries-old designs and revive them, attaching them to the causes of military brotherhood.
Before he knew it, other service members across the globe would come across Wes’ clothing designs and wanted to know where to buy them, leading him to launch the initial online store back in August 2011. Since then, Rogue American has expanded their product line to include clothes for women, kids and even dogs.
All of their shirts are printed in the USA, with many items made locally by artisan veterans in the Lake Travis area. It’s a way to give back to the larger community of military men and women who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country, and grow both businesses at the same time.
And Rogue American couldn’t be more at home on the Bend. Ever since they opened their doors mid-summer, they’ve had droves of new customers stopping by to see just what all of the talk is about and even held a strongman-type adaptive athlete work out competition near their outdoor gym.
Even though they sell clothes, they don’t stop there. It’s a way to create a sense of community and connect thousands of people through his products, events and organizations that he supports in so many ways.
The Rogue Lifestyle Brand
It’s clear when you meet Wes just what passion he has for what he does. Add to that his eye for design and entrepreneurial spirit, and you have Rogue American Apparel.
People connect with him through his t-shirts, products and causes because they have that same rogue spirit that you find among those who have been involved in the military, security professionals, law enforcement and everyone in between.
“We’re not a logo or a t-shirt apparel brand — we’re a straight up true lifestyle brand.”
It’s this “warrior mindset” that is at the heart of every design he makes and every cause he supports, which is why so many men and women resonate with his t-shirt conceptions from the very beginning.
“We have a very loyal group of supporters,” he tells me as we tour the decked-out space, complete with warehouse, fulfillment center, gym and even a tattoo corner for when you want to grab a bit of ink. In the few short weeks the store has been open, it’s already touched and changed the lives of many people, which is why it will be so interesting to see what comes next at their new headquarters.
What’s great about his business is that as it grows, he’ll be able to help and donate more to causes that he holds dear, such as the Brothers in Arms Foundation or supporting his team adaptive athletes as they compete around the country.
“The more we grow, the more we can do for the different organizations that we believe in.”
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