Today marks three years since More Than Different was established. Three years. I still remember the combination of nerves and excitement that I felt prior to launching MTD. I was finishing up my sophomore year at Arlington High School and Colin had just finished his sophomore year at WPI. We spent weeks developing our mission and screen printing countless white gildan t-shirts with our big design on the front and our small logo on the back. We used social media to promulgate our mission and to market the t-shirts for sale. After we made it public, I stepped away from my phone for a bit because I was unsure what to expect. I didn't want to get my hopes too high. Just minutes later, responses were coming in profusely with people saying they loved it and wanted to support MTD. We were ecstatic and couldn’t help but to start envisioning all the potential that laid within the coined term More Than Different. Although MTD was inchoate at that point, it felt like we had built something special. Something built to last.
Three years later and here we are. Colin just finished graduate school at WPI where he received a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I just graduated from Noble and Greenough School after a long and rewarding five years of high school. Through this time, More Than Different has steadily grown and expanded. However, relative to big businesses, MTD is still in its nascent phase. We have not taken a giant leap quite yet but we have made some promising strides. There have been a lot of rewarding parts of running this business as two brothers, but we've certainly had to navigate quite a few challenges and learn some lessons.
Until recently, our clothing production process has consisted of silk-screen printing in our basement. That requires burning our design onto a silk screen smothered in photo emulsion, and allowing it to harden for roughly 24 hours before washing the screen and revealing the design. We then would put the screen on the hoodie and use a squeegee to apply ink to the screen and then use a heat gun to dry the design. Tedious, right? We have slowly started to shift away from screen printing on our own because it simply is no longer a sustainable business model and after this summer, neither Colin or I will be around to print stuff. The time we've spent toiling in that confined, smoke-filled basement is immeasurable and I can't say I'll miss it. But, I think it’s pretty damn cool to think that almost all MTD products, with the exception of a few, have been made by us, in our basement. I'm so proud of that. As we move away from our basement production, a new challenge arises. We now have to find a reliable textile manufacturer to continue to improve the style and quality of our clothing. Just know, we'll still always be the brand built from the basement of our home in Arlington.
Running a business with my big brother has been so special because he’s always been my role model. I’ve adapted so many of his idiosyncrasies without even realizing it because I look up to him. He's been the paradigm for how I want to carry myself. Of course, with brotherly love also comes contention. There is an inherent little brother/big brother stubbornness that I think we’ve started to break down, but for a while neither of us would acquiesce. Our business relationship and our compatible skillsets are starting to click and we have all summer 2022 to keep building off one another, under the same roof. Other than the summers, Colin and I have seldom been together for long periods of time, which has made it hard to always be on the same page regarding MTD. We're both busy people. Before MTD, I still am a student, still an athlete, still a friend, son and brother. Still dealing with my own challenges just like the rest of us. Colin would say the same. I think Colin's life has been even more arduous than mine. So I suppose our periodic lull's are to be expected but nonetheless, it's frustrating. Especially, when you know you'd rather be putting time into building MTD. I get discouraged sometimes because it feels like we haven't grown to our capabilities and our following isn't as immense as we'd hoped but sometimes it takes a little zooming out to realize we have accomplished a lot.
After launching our brand, we followed that by creating an Instagram for More Than Different (follow @mtdthemovement). We then created a website called MTDlifestyle.com that is filled with an abundance of clothing and content. At one point our clothing section offered 20 different hoodie options, and has expanded into other articles of clothing as well. We have sold out products and received website orders from all across New England, as well as New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Wyoming thanks to the MTD community support. From March of 2021 to March of 2022, we did over $10,000 in sales. We have a podcast available on all platforms which has provided us a space to speak candidly about our profound thoughts and experiences, as well as invite guests on to tell their stories and feel heard. We have added a blog section filled with a wide range of subjects. One of my best friends, Rowan Paoletti-Newton, who is an adept writer, has been added to the team as a blog writer and is providing edifying content. One of my other close friends, Rowan McConkey aka FLIC Media has taken the role as Creative Producer of our media content. He is an uber talented videographer and has been an integral part of our growth on social media by providing photos and videos for our products. And lastly, later this summer, we are putting on our first MTD community event in the best way we know: a basketball tournament. August 6th to be exact. Maybe this event will be that turning point for us. I guess we’ll have to find out.
Colin and I are motivated as ever to keep growing MTD because More Than Different is the framework by which we try to live our lives and treat others. MTD transcends clothing. It is a lifestyle, and it's a lifestyle we want to share with everyone.
We have so much work to do and so many people to reach, but heading into year four we’re moving in the right direction. We appreciate everyone who has supported us along the way and continues to show love.
The Journey is the Reward.