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From bartender to global vendor: Jacksonville-based bartending apparel brand goes national

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Three years after co-founding a bartender’s apparel company, a local entrepreneur – and Shad Khan’s personal stadium bartender – has grown his business from a local niche to a nationwide business. Mover & Shaker Co., founded by Nick Hogan and Matt Shail, started as a homegrown movement catering to […]

Click here to view original web page at www.bizjournals.com


Three years after co-founding a bartender’s apparel company, a local entrepreneur – and Shad Khan’s personal stadium bartender – has grown his business from a local niche to a nationwide business.

Mover & Shaker Co., founded by Nick Hogan and Matt Shail, started as a homegrown movement catering to local bartenders with around $500 in an initial investment. Since then, it’s grown into a business that caters to bartenders on a national scale – and it’s also seen sales in numerous countries.

“It’s just kind of blown up – it’s been unreal,” Hogan said. “We started off with no investors and no loans, just a little bit of money. We both work – my business partner worked for State Farm and I’ve just been bartending. Any other money we made with Mover & Shaker, we just put it back into the bank account and it grew.”

The reinvestments ultimately paid off. In 2019, the company’s total online sales reached approximately $200,000, and they hit 10,000 orders last year.

The pins retail for around $12, and the store has since expanded to a variety of apparel, bar accessories and more.

Hogan and Shail started the business after Hogan saw a lack of apparel for bartenders in the market. With his experience in the industry and Shail’s graphic design skills, the two started producing small pins.

“I didn’t want to do t-shirts because it was kind of the cliché thing to do when you start your own merch brand – and the overhead cost is a little high if it fails,” Hogan said. “So, we ended up making enamel pins. They took off like crazy.”

Hogan said they initially marketed their products on social media and by going to bars in-person. Later, Hogan decided to expand their product line to avoid being labeled “the pin company.”

“I wanted to pretty much be an all-encompassing apparel brand for bartenders,” Hogan said. “You know, skateboarding has its own culture, music has its own culture – why can’t bartending have its own culture?”

Mover & Shaker now offers a variety of products, ranging from pins and patches to jackets and socks. They’ve also moved far from the hyper-local scene, attending nationwide events such as Thirst Boston, Tales of the Cocktail and the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.

“We’ve basically been all over the country doing pop-ups,” Hogan said. “Those will range from either throwing up a booth and selling our stuff or a lot of times we’ll partner up with a charity and we’ll donate something – which I think is really awesome, because we’re giving back to the local community while we’re there.”

In addition to expanding their product line, Hogan and Shail added a third employee to their roster: Shannon Pilcher, marketing and events manager. Pilcher is Hogan’s girlfriend, and he said she was a natural fit.

As the company continues to grow, Hogan said they plan to focus more on pricier products like custom hardware, branding for liquor companies and expanding into wholesale – but they also plan to focus on the niche and quirky products that developed their customer base to begin with.

“We’re just focusing on pushing the brand as a whole and kind of seeing where it takes us,” Hogan said. “It’s been a wild ride.”

Since its inception, Mover & Shakers has raised more than $25,000 for charities, according to Hogan. It’s also partnered with more than 300 bars and spirit brands, including Amara Montenegro, Angostura and Belle Meade.