Don’t doubt the power of social media. Like most 21-year-olds, Norwalk’s Sam LeBlanc is more than familiar with Twitter and Instagram. He’s made friends, found business partners, and gained tens of thousands (and growing) of customers through a tweet and a post.
While still a senior at Norwalk High School, LeBlanc first tried his hand at a clothing line that ultimately fizzled. But he was not deterred. In 2015 he had his first taste of success with the I Miss You Hat, for which he partnered with two young men from California whom he met through social media. Selling over 4,000 hats worldwide, LeBlanc was able to sell the company in 2016 and take some time to figure out his next steps.
Those steps led right to an online friend and collaborator in Chicago.
LeBlanc and his Chicago partner (who prefers to remain anonymous at this time) had met online three years prior, following each other on social media.
“That’s how you virtually meet now and days. Lots of people I work with I find online,” said LeBlanc. “We mutually find each other on Twitter or Instagram.”
When the two decided to work on a project together, Half-Evil 333 was born.
“The meaning behind it is that no human is 100 percent good or bad,” explained LeBlanc. “Everyone is somewhere on the spectrum.”
The line’s appeal is in its design and limited stock as well as its ability to capture the current streetwear ethos.
New releases – typically shirts and hoodies among other items along with an article of silver jewelry – are announced on Twitter and Instagram every three weeks or so. The cleverly marketed Half-Evil $3.33 t-shirt has been an instant best-seller.
The clothing has been made in the United States – some of it in Connecticut – and the business currently runs out of LeBlanc’s parents’ home in Norwalk, but a move to Chicago is planned within the next couple of months. With only two employees, LeBlanc has relied on his friends to help with fulfilling orders.
“I think my friend Kyle has folded every single shirt,” said LeBlanc. “We ship everything ourselves and try to get it out as quickly as possible. Poor customer service can kill a small business.”
When rapper and Half-Evil fan Lil Skies wore a shirt in one of his music videos and then shared an Instagram post wearing Half-Evil apparel with his one million followers, the line's popularity skyrocketed. Within two weeks the brand more than tripled its own Instagram following to 8,500 – and that number has only grown substantially since and continues its upward trend. All this before the company's official six-month birthday on February 25th.
A new line designed in collaboration with Lil Skies came out at 3:33 p.m. on February 14th. Within an hour over 3,400 orders had been taken.
“My parents wanted me to go to college,” said LeBlanc, “but now they are starting to see this is actually possible.
“This is the first company I’ve created where I’ve really enjoyed it. For the first time, I want to do this for the rest of my life.”
For more information and to purchase items visit Half-Evil at https://half333vil.com/ .
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