By Lacey Colby
It isn’t surprising that all things New Jersey are gaining popularity when America has become obsessed with things like the reality TV show “Jersey Shore.”
Two local males have recently benefitted from this popularity with their line of T-shirt designs that play with stereotypes about New Jersey, such as “Dirty Jerzey.”
About six months ago, Rider graduate student Michael Briehler teamed up with Joe Wallover to create a T-shirt. The idea was Wallover’s and Briehler, who works with graphic design programs, did the design.
The two created a few more designs and found that people wanted to wear them. The result was the clothing company, Jersey Swagger.
“I really didn’t get into it to start a company,” Briehler said, “but we made a few shirts and the popularity was there and it made me pursue it more.”
He estimates that since creating that first T-shirt, the company has sold a few hundred from the five designs currently offered on the Web site.
Jersey Swagger currently has one design for females, but the creators plan to expand their female designs with the rest of the line. With 25 new designs set for printing, the two are only waiting for the new equipment that they’ve ordered in order to print the T-shirts.
In the next few weeks, Jersey Swagger should be getting its own space in the Quakerbridge Mall. Briehler and Wallover are also looking into several retail stores to sell their merchandise.
Facebook has been the major marketing tool for the business. The “Rep Your Hood” competition in particular has drawn a great deal of attention just this week. On Monday night, Briehler created fan pages for each of the New Jersey area codes and wrote about them in the status of Jersey Swagger’s Facebook page.
“I didn’t invite one person,” he said. “I just put it up and it took off from there.”
By Tuesday night, one of the groups had gained 2,400 fans; it reached 4,000 within the first 36 hours.
Briehler and Wallover are also mailing out free stickers to people who fill out the form on their Web site and they’ve ordered stamps saying “jerseyswagger.com” for night clubs.
They’ve even gotten a New Jersey rapper, Bizz Prince of Jersey, to wear their clothes. His song “Jersey Swagger,” which led Briehler and Wallover to get in touch with him, can be heard on the clothing Web site.
“He liked our stuff so we started designing some kind of styles for him,” Briehler said. “Recently, he just signed for the theme song of the New Jersey Nets and maybe the Devils as well.”
Briehler hopes that they might be able to get cast members of “Jersey Shore” to wear Jersey Swagger. He’s willing to create any designs that they might want to wear. He’s also trying to contact Swagger Crew of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
It may have been an unintended business venture, but it’s expanding quickly.
“We’re pretty much starting with shirts,” Briehler said, “but we’re going to branch off to other clothing.”
To learn more about Jersey Swagger, visit www.jerseyswagger.com.