A Spotlight on Hayes & Taylor

Twitter is a great source of information for me. I check my account and interact with my followers on a regular basis. Recently, I noticed a few of my twitter followers mention @hayesandtaylorIntrigued, I decided to investigate further. Little did I know that I would discover in Hayes & Taylor a great clothing option for men who like Indiana sports and culture.

I’ve grown up in Indy and love many things about this city. There are many events and landmarks that are iconic of Indianapolis and there is much to embrace from the visual standpoint. Brian Kelly and Joe Schnieders who are the brains behind, Hayes & Taylor have done just that with their vintage tees that went “live” in August of this year.

Kelly and Schnieders know their demographic well. We’re mostly a t-shirt and denim kind of a town and we love our graphic tees, so what’s better than wearing clothing that’s not only comfortable and stylish, but also shows Indy pride?

Checking out the Hayes & Taylor website/webstore, I liked the simplicity. The “about me” section was pretty vague, which only fueled my desire to sit and talk with Kelly and Schnieders. We decided to meet at a bar across the street from Conseco. I figured it would be a comfortable environment for guys who design t shirts with a sports focus. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but an hour later I felt like I just got done having a beer with two friends and I just so happened to have recorded our conversation.

Kelly and Schneiders met at a party and discovered that they had a very similar idea – to fill a niche in the local fashion scene that wasn’t being addressed –  quality graphic t-shirts highlighting local sports or culture. Needless to say it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship! While Schnieders works full time with Hayes & Taylor, Kelly is a full-time graphic designer although he’s finding more and more of his time is being directed to the company. The team is rounded out by “The Intern”, a nameless, but special someone that the guys admitted they couldn’t do without.  The guys told me that they are constantly brainstorming ideas and get inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Some of the most popular shirts they have available are “18>12″ shirt, a shirt with the state flag representation, and a shirt with the monument printed on it.

I’ll be honest: When I heard that neither guy had a diverse background in textiles, I got a little nervous about the quality of the t-shirts. Thankfully, they brought some samples to show me. I needn’t have worried – the shirts are made of fine cotton; That’s the soft kind that guys love to wear and the ladies like to steal for “comfy” clothes. The guys choose a specific printing process that embeds the ink into the weave of the shirt, and not just printed on top of the shirt. This type of printing creates a unique aesthetic. It makes the printed art look like it’s been through a few dozen washes or more. Perfect for the brand! There are many printing options in the US but Hayes & Taylor found a perfect connection with The Art Press, a local printing company. I was happy to learn about this local “collaboration”. Talk about win/win!

Although the Hayes & Taylor team has spent virtually no money on marketing their product, the inventory is in demand locally and nationally. Why are their graphic t shirts so popular? I guess it all comes down to the design. While the concepts are very unique to Indianapolis, they are not blatantly so which makes them a great shirt to wear virtually in any part of the country. The duo clearly understands what guys like to wear. The shirts are soft and the printing gives the appearance of a lifelong favorite t-shirt. You can wear the Hayes & Taylor t-shirts without feeling like you have a jersey or poster board on. (By the way: If you need pointers on how to wear graphic tees, feel free to take a refresher on my original post regarding graphic t shirts. Throw on a hoodie, jeans, and a Hayes & Taylor shirt mixed with a graphic bag and boots for a perfect street look. A great look to sport to some local beer tastings and casual eating spots around our city.)

I asked the guys about their greatest struggles as a new brand to the apparel scene in Indianapolis. Getting the word out about their product is the biggest challenge so far. Will they grow and enter the mainstream? I think with the right marketing and sales plan they certainly can. It’s not too hard to imagine their shirts populating the airport gift stores, being picked up by visitors for their cool vibe, hanging on hangers in local boutiques or being featured in local publications or on local TV. If their twitter fans are any indication, Hayes & Taylor can certainly do very well. Embraced by their followers, the guys love interacting with their customers and the customers love them for it. Fans share their fondness for the product and post pictures of themselves wearing the Hayes & Taylor tees. Add to that the current culture of popular support for local talent and craftsmanship and that’s as good start as any if you ask me! I, for one, think that the Haynes & Taylor brand has  a lot to offer to the local fashion scene and beyond.

In Indy, you can find Hayes & Taylor graphic t shirts at Indy Swank.

*Special thanks to Julie Boyle for providing picture. More of her work can be seen http://buliejoyle.blogspot.com/

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