Michael Kwesell is the founder of Loiter, makers of extremely funny and comfortable t-shirts.
We were lucky enough to speak with Michael recently and he told us a pretty funny story about the origin of Loiter. We didn’t take very good notes because we were laughing too hard and we didn’t want to spill our beer. Michael understood.
That being the case, here is his story, slightly paraphrased:
Michael was a college student in Montana, that’s big sky country, and one night at a party he overheard a lovely young lady discussing her need for 300 custom made t-shirts. Michael, not one to shy from opportunity, seized the moment and volunteered his services. Michael Kwesell is first and foremost a gentleman.
However, Michael wasn’t a maker of custom t-shirts. Not really. He decided to teach himself the trade and spent some time in a t-shirt shop watching the process that would soon become his life. He spent about ten minutes there. He left inspired.
A few swipes of the credit card later and Michael had his equipment. What he didn’t have was a workshop or the bankroll for the endless supply of chemicals his new passion required.
He wound up using a buddy’s shack as his place of business. The “building” was uninsulated and had gaps in the frame that allowed snow to blow through. Michael dressed in layers of skiwear and he made t-shirts. In. The. Snow.
He enrolled in an art class to see what all the fuss was about. It was here that he solved his other problem. He would prop a window open and sneak back into the class at night to use the chemicals and art supplies that were stored there. Michael Kwesell is first and foremost a felon.
Felon is actually a pretty strong word, and we threw that in there, not him, but it seemed to work well within the flow of the story, don’t you think?
Soon Michael, who we cannot stress enough is not a felon, was making shirts for local record companies and construction crews. Things were looking up.
He moved to Colorado to take his dream up a notch. His first workspace there was uninsulated. Michael’s dream was thematic.
There he dressed in his familiar layers and made t-shirts until his coffee froze and that, dear readers, is where frappuccinos came from. But not really.
Soon Michael’s company had a name, Loiter, and a team of people who shared his vision. They printed shirts by hand, the entire process in-house, on quality material. They made each shirt to order.
They still do.
In just four years Loiter has gone from a shack full of snow and stolen borrowed materials to a leader in the field. They have built an impressive community using innovative means such as social networking sites, and now their shirts are available online and at fine establishments like Urban Outfitters. Loiter shirts can be found in eighty countries, which is about fifty more countries than we can name. They will soon be available in their own retail outlets, or as the kids like to call them, “stores.”
Michael’s story is one of humor, passion, and success. He tells it much better than we do. He also makes a fantastic shirt. Visit Loiter and see for yourself.
Michael Kwesell if first and foremost a t-shirt maker.
Check out Loiter here.
Photo courtesy of Whit Honea