What is Epicdelusion? The Full Story of How it All Came to Be.
Epicdelusion Clothing Company was formed in 2011 by two working class brothers from Baltimore, Maryland. The dream started around 2006; to buy a place, turn it into a screen printing shop, as well as a studio, sell cool t-shirts online and live like rock stars of the apparel industry. The original concept, (as traces of this idea linger on today) was solely to become a provider of unique punk rock apparel. There were many great D.I.Y. punk rock distros out there at the time, but few of them offered shirts beyond band tees. Epicdelusion wanted to be the store that had political quotes, intelligent sayings, and attitude that harnessed the punk rock essence all while maintaining the status of a punk rock distro. The owners of Epicd decided, however, that focusing on primarily punk rock t-shirts was too narrow since the interests they possessed exceeded the realm of classic punk ideology-- although many of the facets are still correlated with the punk rock movement. After years of evolving the idea it was concluded that Epicdelusion would become its own entity, separate from any particular label or genre. Intellectualism, free-thinking, philosophy, science, art, politics, sub-culture and humor are what drive Epicdelusion in its own unique way.
The Early Years & Principles.
With limited knowledge of starting a screen printing operation, from Tom working in a screen printing shop for 10 months back in 2002, Epicdelusion was ready to jump in head first and get rolling... in 2011. What could go wrong, right? Professionalism doesn't, on a mainstream level, seem to go hand in glove with the punk rock community or those who inhabit it, but it was a fundamental value that Epicdelusion embraced and lived by. This isn't a regurgitated slogan coughed up by a big corporate venue spitting out t-shirts for quick profit to anyone who would buy one, Epicdelusion actually, factually care about their customers and the products they sell. Empathy is one of the many characteristics the brothers of Epicdelusion exhibit. There is a vile, grotesque force in this world known as customer service, and Epicdelusion aimed to be diametrically opposed to the industry standard of not giving a damn about your customers. As such, the long held value has earned them a 5 star rating on Amazon.com, Etsy, Ebay and through their own selling platform from verified buyers.
The idea was set, the concepts laid out, it was 2010 and Epicdelusion was ready to get rolling. One problem though... Don't you need money to start a business? Money for the working class guys at Epicdelusion wasn't something that was falling out of trees and landing neatly folded in their pockets. Tom and Chuck, the owners of Epicdelusion, started saving their pennies and putting in every spare dime they could towards the business fund in hopes they would eventually have the monetary necessary to get started. Tom had recently recovered from two broken ankles and was working part time at an LTL company, and Chuck had been recently promoted to an operations' supervisor at a local warehouse. Nevertheless, it appeared the idea of Epicdelusion was going to be placed on the back burner due to insufficient funds... yet again.
It's great having a Grandmother that can do your taxes. The house and soon to be shop that the brothers of Epicdelusion had worked for years fixing up under a rent-to-own program, was soon to be legitimately purchased by them. They promised to pay back the 2K their Grandmother (Mother's side) had given them to close the property and to not sully the credit of their late Grandfather (Dad's side) who agreed to become tenant in common so they could buy it. Names were never sullied and their Grandmother refused to accept any money being paid back, which was awfully nice of her. With the house in their name now they were ready to renovate. But there was still a problem... they still didn't have any money. Remember how I said it's great having a Grandmother that can do your taxes? That year, the Government was offering a credit to new homeowners that you could apply for to have returned with your tax refund. The credit, that she informed them of and executed the paperwork for, was offered in hopes people would use the money to stimulate the economy... well, in this case, the $8,000 credit was exactly what they needed to get Epicdelusion off the ground and stimulate the economy.
Since the humble beginnings in 2011, hard work, countless hours and intrepid determination for success has evolved the company into an awesome T-Shirt and apparel shop operated by truly awesome people. "I've come to understand that capitalism isn't necessarily a bad idea, in fact, it's a good idea in itself. The proponents of the economic idea who abuse their power create this illusion to the public that their corruption is synonymous with the platform, but all Capitalism really is, fundamentally, is people trading, which builds a better world, it's what put that phone in your hand so you can call 911 when you crash your car in the middle of nowhere. I used to hate the idea of capitalism, but when you pour your heart and soul and your life into a business, you begin to truly appreciate what it was meant to be." -Tom of Epicdelusion Clothing Company.
Politics & Beliefs
Epicdelusion doesn't care who you vote for. No matter what candidate you put your chips on, you're likely betting on a self-serving showman who couldn't possibly care less about you. Epicdelusion thinks political parties are 2 dimensional and narrow-minded. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat what really matters is that we as a civilization work together, evolve, prosper and survive. Epicdelusion's core beliefs revolve around the idea of free-thinking; not to be confined by the agenda or ideology of a political party but rather to independently form your own opinions. Epicdelusion supports the right to bare arms, which angers a lot of "liberals." Epicdelusion also completely rejects the war on drugs and organized religion having political power; which angers a lot of "conservatives." Epicdelusion's concept transcends political partisanship and isolated thinking. "I'm not the type of person who is going to reject you because of your political or religious beliefs. I think it's essential to communicate with those whom you disagree with as well as those who disagree with you in a respectful manner, that is how ideas evolve and that is how we move toward compromise and an overall better world. Christianity, as well as all organized religion, bare many flaws, contradictions, and some have been the driving force behind some of the greatest atrocity mankind has ever witnessed. However, I do not entirely discredit Religion, I do think it gives people hope and it does serve some good in the world. Most of the subscribers of Religion that I've encountered are good people and their spirituality demonstrates, at least, a willingness to think beyond their understanding of physical reality. As a science minded person I can attest that we don't yet have enough data or evidence to prove OR disprove the existence of a higher power. At this point we are merely scratching the surface of truly understanding what the universe is, how it came to be or what the hell any of us really are." -Tom of Epicdelusion.
Think for yourself is the overall motto of Epicdelusion.
Epicdelusion; The Name
The name Epicdelusion might just seem like a thrown together word for a hip t-shirt shop, but it actually houses a deeper meaning. Chuck, co-founder of Epicdelusion, is responsible for its conception. Chuck called Tom from work one day and said that he had thought of a cool name that represented what the company would be about. A variety of T-shirts that expressed their own interests as well as encouraging the idea of free-thinking. Tom admits to having some quarrel with the name at first but was sold on the idea of what it would mean. What is Epicdelusion? The Epicdelusion is life; something we don't really understand at all, something that could very well be an illusion or, better yet, a delusion. "It's this fascinating, bizarre, intriguing, exciting and sometimes boring dream we're all sharing in. You've seen the movie 'The Matrix' right? Well, that concept has been around for a while. It's called 'The brain in the vat'. It is not impossible that a brain structure or 'conscious entity' could exist independently from what we know of as a physical reality and that the world we perceive is merely an illusion. Since we're all so confidently convinced that it is not an illusion, however, it could very well become a delusion, and quite an epic one at that." -Tom of Epicdelusion.
Plans for the Future
Back in their punk rock days, Tom and Chuck might have been known for adhering to the popular slogan "No Hope for a Future", but these days things are looking a bit more on the positive side. Epicdelusion is rooted in D.I.Y ethics, community, really caring about people and what you do, and the quality and attention you receive with an independent, small business. Should their success elevate them to a higher plane in the business world, Epicdelusion vows to never lose their ethics and forever provide genuine, world class customer service. "When I was heavy into the underground punk scene, what I really thought was cool was that when you went to a show and you're watching a band play on stage, you know, you've listened to their records countless times and here they are in front of you now. Well, after their performance you're in an alleyway just hanging out with a bunch of punks, behind the venue, drinking a beer with the band. They go to the after parties and chill with everyone and no one is putting them on a pedestal and they're not condescending to anyone. We've always been that way too and I think no matter how successful we become or how much money we end up with, we'll always be regular down to earth dudes. Customer service sounds like a buzz term for businesses to make people feel comfortable buying their crap and all they care about is turning that buck. I don't see anything wrong with people wanting to make money, as Adam Smith said, 'individual ambition serves the common good' but I definitely see something horrendously wrong with the overall quality of customer service in this world. People who have gotten to know us as a brand and as human beings know we're legit when it comes to taking care of people. When I go to a place and I'm spending my money on a product or service and I receive terrible, neglectful and blatantly poor customer service, I'm filled with absolute rage. I think about the way I feel when I encounter a situation like that and the last thing I want to do is to be responsible for someone feeling that way because of me. I'm a passionate person and I view myself as a perfectionist, when we get to the point of having dozens of employees in a much bigger operation, I could very well see myself flipping a desk over, like Steve Jobs, and telling an employee who has demonstrated neglectful, poor customer service to 'get the F*%& out.' I'd probably feel bad for yelling at the person afterward, but I wouldn't feel unjustified in doing so." -Tom of Epicdelusion.
Epicdelusion is a cool place to buy t-shirts, apparel and accessories because you're buying from an independent shop that is operated by two brothers who truly value the people who contribute to their success. Epicdelusion, aside from being professional business minded people, encourage people to live their lives, experience new things, don't take life too seriously, think outside the box, question everything, question yourself, dream big, never stop learning, cherish the good times, grow from the bad times, explore the world, love your family, love your friends, love your enemies (they hate that), embrace the time you have, grow old, stay young at heart, surprise yourself, call your mom, write a letter and actually mail it to someone, be yourself, stay cool and be good to each other.
Tom (left) Chuck (right) Sowebo Fest 2012