The idea for Stay Apparel Co. evolved over several years. I remember email exchanges with a designer friend about creating throwback T-shirts, but the concept was sufficiently vague that it didn’t get very far.
I don’t recall what inspired me on May 18, 2015, but that’s the day I paid the princely sum of $1.17 (after a $12 discount) to purchase the stayapparel.com domain. Even at that stage, I hadn’t figured out just what Stay would be.
But in my mind, “Stay” always connoted a sense of place. I remember my wife telling me she had explained the meaning of the name to her co-worker Lauren.
“Yeah, I get it,” Lauren said.
Sometimes when you’re chasing a dream and it still seems unfocused and maybe even unattainable, the smallest encouragement can keep hope alive.
Meanwhile, beginning in 2013, I had started blogging (twice per year, at the Fourth of July and Christmas) about American-made products, highlighting ones I had used and researching others that I was just learning about.
And the more U.S. products I found, the more I wanted to discover. It became a passion that I liken to being an indie music fan in the early 1980s, R.E.M. leading me to Husker Du and Dream Syndicate and The Replacements and on and on.
I spent most of 2016 pursuing another project that just didn’t seem feasible financially or timewise, so I revisited Stay. But I didn’t call it Stay. It was a trial run, basically, just me having a couple of products custom made – a Hershey pennant and a Hershey knit hat – and trying to sell them under the banner of my public relations business, Goulet Communications.
The response was encouraging enough that after close consultation with my family, we decided to launch Stay in 2017.
We had a name, a domain, and a still-evolving idea of what the Stay brand would represent. Always at its essence, however, was a commitment to U.S.-made products. Starting in January, we spent nine months birthing the Stay brand you see today.
In August, my wife was at lunch when she ran into Lauren, who noticed Sara’s zip bag with the Stay flag logo on it.
Mind you, they haven’t worked together for a couple of years now.
“Is Stay a thing?” Lauren said enthusiastically.
Yes, Lauren, it is a thing. And maybe a name with Staying power.