My Main Man Pat is a newly established clothing brand with a twist. Beginning life in early 2013, MMMP puts out 2 fresh hip-hop inspired designs every week, for a 1 week limited run. These 2 designs do not come directly from MMMP, but from designers all around the world in exchange for a cut of the revenue they make.
Never knowing what next weeks new designs might be, the weekly change up provides a fantastic incentive to continually return to the MMMP website. In addition to this, the tees are always priced at the unbelievably great price of $20 which includes shipping to over 200 countries around the world!
We recently got the chance to chat to Patrick, the man behind MMMP, to ask some questions and find out more about the brand.
What inspired you to start up My Main Man Pat?
Truth be told, I wish I had more of a Steve Jobs-esque story to how I got the idea for My Main Man Pat, but it was pretty simple. I was reading an article in a local paper on a great company that started near my hometown called Shirtpunch and was inspired. I had always wanted to start a business of my own, loved their model, and decided to apply it to a 15 year passion for hip-hop music. Once I started seeing the incredible quality of graphic art that was being created around the globe based on a love for hip-hop music, I felt this was an opportunity that could not be ignored.
Ha-ha, well, I think I originally got the idea from Ali G…he would always take about his “Main Man Ricky C from Staines” and I just started introducing all of my friends as such.
When I started this site, I wanted to hang my hat on offering the best customer service in online retail, so the name kind of fit.
You started trading in early 2013, has the company seen much growth in the months that have followed?
Interesting question, and I’m a bit sheepish on the answer. Month over month sales have increased since I launched in March, however the week to week growth has not been as steady. I’m learning that it really is all about the quality of the designs, and our best selling individual shirt was actually back in our third week. The number I’m paying closest attention though is traffic, and the growth we’ve seen in that regard is encouraging.
This is another area that I am really pleased with the progress we have made in our three months of operation. In the early days it was very much a “push” strategy we employed when finding designers. By this I mean it was me pasting ads all over craigslist and kijiji, and reaching out to artists on sites like Behance and Deviant. There were a few Sundays where I would be calling in favours at 11pm to get an appropriate design for the following week, and I’m sure I can blame a few of my grey hairs on those nights.
Now that we’ve made a bit of a splash and established a reputation, designers are starting to come to us. I usually have a number of high quality designs to consider each week, and I’m able to concentrate my efforts on promoting the shirts instead of trying to bring on designers. The ultimate goal is to move to more of a threadless model where my customers are voting on what designs will go up the following week. We’re not there yet, but stay tuned…
Do you look for any particular styles of design, or is it anything goes?
The first thing I tell designers is that I generally do not give out design concepts. I much prefer them to take what they love most about hip-hop and express it visually, and truly feel we get much higher quality work this way. That said, since everything is screenprinted, there are some requirements with regards to what kind of artwork we can work with, but we try to be flexible.
By offering free postage to over 200 countries, its evident that you are focusing on the global market for sales. Do you also accept designs from designers all over the world?
Indeed. We are based in Canada, and although I am very proud of the opportunities we have been able to offer local artists, most of work has come from outside the country. To date, we have worked with artists from the US, UK, Netherlands, Australia (and I am sure I am missing a couple), and even had a design up last week from an artist out of Zimbabwe.
Are there plans in the future to increase the number of weekly designs from 2?
To be blunt, not at this point. When we launched we were actually going with three designs a week but decided to scale back to two for a number of reasons. Perhaps in the future we might consider a change, but for now I’m very comfortable with where we are at in that regard.
Hoodies have been considered for a while, and some of our customers are starting to request them on a more regular basis, so I think they will be in the cards in the future. That said, we are still working out some kinks in the t-shirt operation, and I’d like that to be running like a well-oiled machine before we think about expansion.
What about branded MMMP merchandise?
We have spent the last couple of week’s trying to think of creative ways to brand our shirts. I know it is absolutely necessary for the long term survival of the brand, but am struggling with it, mainly because I myself tend to steer clear of clothing that focus more on the brand than the shirt itself. So, although it is coming, we are taking our time to make sure the shirts are branded in a subtle and tasteful manner. I hope that answers your question, these are some tough ones TJ!
And finally, where would you like to see MMMP in 5 and 10 years from now?
A major personal goal is to open a “brick and mortar” in my hometown of Toronto. Prior to starting MMMP most of my professional experience was in the retail space, so it is a logical step. In the shorter term though, I am looking on bringing on some external help, as I can only keep logging these 80 hour weeks for so long before I break down physically and/or mentally. I am not sure I will ever be able to let go of the operations and customer service functions, but am actively recruiting for people to handle the social media management and promotional side of the business.
Many thanks for the opportunity to talk about the brand TJ. It is an honour to have my name alongside many of the great brands you have reviewed in the past.
If you or your readers have any comments, feedback, or questions I can be contacted directly at Patrick@mymainmanpat.com, and would love to hear from them.
Thank for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat to us today Patrick!
Be sure to check out this weeks 2 new designs!
“Soul Brother” is a dedication to one of the most talented and original men in the game, ?uestlove of the Roots crew. I’ll let the creator, Matlocktheartist, tell it. “When I think of Ahmir Khalib Thompson aka ?uestlove I think of the musician, entertainer, educator, leader… a man who represents the aspirations of all music – not just Rap, Hip Hop or Jazz. I think of Questlove as a wise elephant, strong and large in stature always moving forward but remembering his past… our past as a people with much to share and learn through sound.”
For those familiar with the works of MF DOOM, “Doomsday” needs no introduction. That said, I love the description the designer provided. “The Metal Face is one of the most feared images in hip-hop. Biters and corny ass rappers parish in the face of the Supervillain”