Three henchmen, a printing press, and enough carcinogens to fit into a hazmat suit.
The brand new campus lifestyle may seem like a first draft of a Breaking Bad script, but Goon (@ goon.zaga) is a lot different.
Created by Marian Hall roommates Jared Brown and Chase Petri with roommate Dan Balboni, the brand launched in September exclusively on Instagram.
âThe name really came first. We wanted a pretty original name like Goon, âsaid Petri. “It’s pretty funny, there are funny definitions and it goes well with Gonzaga.”
The trio used the term often in conversation before it became the nickname for their fledgling business.
âWe’re just going,â Balboni said.
Petri noticed a lack of tongue-in-cheek or funny t-shirts creeping into the Gonzaga campus like they had in many large schools and sought to fix the issue.
Throughout the first half of the year, the trio dropped off new merchandise four times.
Their best-selling item was a white t-shirt with “The Drunk Logan Map” printed on the back. The map featured locations such as Star Bar, Zip’s, and St. Al’s Marked Crosses.
âWe knew from the first draft that our friends would be ordering things, but are we going to be getting orders from people we don’t know? Said Petri. “It got us on Instagram and saw who sends us DMs.”
Other drops included a red sweatshirt with a Goon dye table in addition to their first step outside of clothes with a tote bag.
Although the term has seen its most widespread use in popular culture since 1915 according to Google Books, the company was originally a way of using Petri and Brown’s entrepreneurial focus to gain significant experience in the field. domain.
âWe probably learned a lot more than in the classroom,â said Petri. âIn the classroom, we build these fake businesses. And then here you build a real business. It’s your money at stake. We ship and we’ve learned that it’s a really big expense.
The junior trio have learned by trial and error since they started their idea last spring. Although the group held informal meetings over the summer, the rubber met the road when the three decided to invest their own money in the project.
The company’s loosely defined board of directors bought a printing press, paper, T-shirts and sweatshirts, among other sundries in stock, before printing could begin.
Every commercial function, in addition to the actual production of the T-shirts, is carried out in-house. The brains of their operation are focused on cutting, moving and printing the shirts before they are ready to be shipped to the nearest MSC box. In the week of a downturn, it’s not uncommon to print shirts for eight straight hours to keep up with demand.
âWe are goons,â said Petri. âWe take it seriously, but we still have a lot of fun with it. “
The trio do their best to maintain an air of anonymity in their business dealings. Nowhere on their Instagram page will you find a photo of their faces or even a tagged account.
âWe are pushing some buttons,â said Petri. “These aren’t the most PG shirts, so we kind of keep our faces out of the way.”
Although Petri, Brown, and Balboni founded the company, the three try to remain incognito on campus and don’t often don their own products. Money is on their minds, however, and the three each maintain separate inspiration lists for future merchandise deliveries.
“We had plans drawn and we didn’t want a trial or a cease and desist order, so we decided not to [our design]Petri said. “It would have made us a lot of money, though.”
So far, they have tried to keep feather wrinkling to a minimum and stay out of Gonzaga’s official business.
Goon found success during his first few months on campus. The company recently sold its 100th tee via Instagram as Petri works on coding for Goon’s official website.
âI think our number one buyer is a friend of ours, and she works for Wild Walls,â said Petri. “Almost all of the staff have the shirt because she sold it to them.”
Like many start-ups, Goon relies on the dedicated support of friends. Friends of the founders are clamoring to be featured as a model on their Instagram page or come to their homes to see how the shirts go from white to ink.
âThey are always very supportive,â Brown said. âEveryone always wants to come help out and cut out stuff or see how we print and come up with design ideas. A lot of them market a lot for us by reposting stuff. It’s kind of nice of them to do that.
Although Goon had early success, their business model of vertical process integration turned out to be costly and margins remained very slim.
When Goon started last spring, Petri said he couldn’t wait until the day they made a profit and could finally buy beer with the money they earned.
âWe’re still waiting,â Brown said.
Next semester, Goon aims to keep bringing new products monthly as they push the boundaries of wearable design on the GU campus.
The three still struggle with the daily challenges of being young adults in college. Money is tight, time is tight, and only Petri has a car. Still, the project remained an enjoyable task for the three despite the challenges at each turn.
âIf you have an idea that you think is worth pursuing, go ahead, give it a shot and see how far you can go,â Brown said.
People can follow Goon on Instagram: @ goon.zaga.