Boomslank are undoubtedly one of the most instantly recognizable t-shirts on the internet. When you search for anime designed t-shirts, you’re almost certain to land on a link leading to boomslank.com. Created by three brothers, the t-shirt platform has been a behemoth in the t-shirt design industry for years now, selling uniquely designed anime-style t shirts which have won the hearts of many-a anime fan in the world. The three brothers, Justin, David and Kevin, moved to the US in 1998 as teens and were initially influenced by anime in 1998 when they watched an episode of Gundam Wing which the eldest brother brought home. Almost instantly afterwards, they delved deeply into Japanese art and culture, which would be the catalyst for their now-colossal t-shirt company. We at Ambitious Variety managed to snag an interview with Justin, the eldest brother, and he had a few things to say about himself and the brand:
Brad: By now your brand is known for anime so obviously it was inspired by Japanese Pop Culture, but when you came up with name and logo how did you face the fact that the name and brand has nothing to do with what you are really doing? Wouldn’t that create confusion among customers?
Justin: We weren’t too concerned with that, Boomslank is such an abstract name and in many ways that has helped us stand out. But we also knew that sometimes the name of the brand doesn’t have to be a direct nod to what you do for people to accept it.
Brad: Is Boomslank a lifestyle?
Justin: It is. The idea of Boomslank is to live your life following your passion. My brother David the artist used to work at Walgreens as a cashier, he hated every minute of it. But he had a passion for anime, so I convinced him to start a brand and he hasn’t looked back since then.
Brad: How do you stay on top of copycats who want to copy your brand?
Justin: Believe it or not, we haven’t really had that problem. We did once have an incident where some guy in Eastern Europe was showing off my brother’s work as his own. Our fans pointed that out. But generally speaking we don’t have this as a problem.
Brad: Ambitious variety is a media platform to inform and entertain on the intersection of both East Asian and Western Pop culture and how both sides have been impacted and influenced through new generation pop culture and media. My question to you is how has Boomslank been impacted and/or influenced by this cultural intersection, and has this culturally influenced you you as a person and brand?
Justin: Since we moved from Nigeria, we fell in love with Western culture. And later after we discovered anime, we fell in love with Japanese culture. We all gravitated towards Asian design and philosophies.
But anime especially was very influential. We loved the attention to detail and story telling you find in most anime series. The unusual effort to accurately represent certain aspects of life in anime was very captivating to my brothers and I
Brad: Would you consider yourself or your audience C.A.N.? Cultural Artsy Nerds?
Justin: I am little bit, however I more of an entrepreneur. But David most definitely is one. I’ve never heard that acronym before. But I guess David really is a cultural artsy nerd. You can see the influence on his passion in the way he handles himself these days. Even his room takes on a different aesthetic from the rest of the house.
Brad: In your entrepreneur experience how did you transition into a full business and what would you tell others the most import aspect in the clothing art industry?
Justin: Only David runs the business full time. I still have a day job as a software engineer. The one thing I’ve learned is that your Brand is the biggest asset you’ve got. Nurture your brand properly and you will eventually stand out. The clothing art industry is a very crowded space. People recognize a consistent aura. What I mean is that people gravitate towards brands that have a philosophy and a consistent style. A brand that stays true to what they represent. Your brand should be a catalyst to a cultural movement. This for us has been a very difficult feat to pull off.
Brad: Would you ever make a style for music festivals?
Justin: Not sure. We’ve never done one, but I guess it’s possible.
Brad: In business, are logos and a brand names supposed to identify what you can do for your audience?
Justin:A logo is just a piece of artwork until you imbue it with a philosophy. This is not to say you shouldn’t put in effort for your logo, we spent some time creating our logo, however the harder part of the job was giving the logo an essence. And that essence is our brand experience.
Brad: What future projects do you have in order for your brand and where will you go with it in the next 5 years ?
Justin: We have a number of things in the back burner. Rather not divulge them. But we definitely have a collaboration in the works for next year. We are also looking into creating some digital assets that can bolster our portfolio.