Your typical college grads aren’t interested in turning American History into a business opportunity. But Kenn LoBianco and Joe Klepacki aren’t your average entrepreneurs with visions of tech stardom. They share a passion for history and a love for stylish clothing. To this they added management training and graphic design skills. The result is a history inspired t-shirt company called Declaration Clothing.
Each shirt has a historical design with a tag that explains its significance in American History. For example, the company’s Lewis & Clark t-shirt tells the story of the two famous explorers commissioned by then President Thomas Jefferson to explore the continent.
These tees are about American History and made here in the U. S.
Let’s hope Declaration Clothing can help reverse a troubling trend. There’s no question that men and women under 30 (commonly called Millennials) love t-shirts. Tees are a billion dollar industry and the average Millennial owns at least 15. Sadly, these same people would be hard pressed to name a dozen important historical events. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reported in 2011 that American students are weaker in history than any other subject.
Most of the t-shirts Declaration Clothing sell tell the story of the American Revolution and the Early Republic. There are tees with Join or Die, Liberty or Death and even one that commemorates the 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. (The “Father of Modern Banking,” Hamilton, was killed). These tees are stylish and designed by Millennials for Millennials.
Kenn and Joe recently introduced a line of t-shirts based on World War II called The Greatest Generation. One design includes the popular propaganda slogan from the war: Loose Lips Sink Ships. The feedback from customers, including vets, has been positive.
Promoting American History is just one way Declaration Clothing is giving back. After the Boston Marathon bombing, Kenn and Joe, who both went to school in the Boston area, designed a special tee from which 100 percent of the profits benefited the victims. They raised over $8,000.
If you’re not into tees, Declaration Clothing also sells custom-designed iPhone cases, prints, business card holders and even Koozies!
Regardless of the item, Kenn and Joe’s goal remain the same: to use America’s glorious past to revive the patriot in all of us. It’s unique business model that fits them to a tee.