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    The Porch — nc

    Old North State Adventure Club

    Old North State Adventure Club

    The Old North State Adventure Club, now accepting applications! 

    Anyone who has spent some time outdoors in North Carolina knows that there are so many amazing places in this state for a good adventure. Anywhere from the mountains to the sea, grab some friends, get out and explore. The Old North State Adventure Club design was something we wanted to create to bring together those who never shy away from a little exploration! 

    Being outdoors has proven beneficial time and time again. This is extremely true for children more so than others. Many articles like this one highlight the benefits of getting outside both for kids and adults. That's one reason why we decided to partner with The Scott-Free Scholarship Foundation for this design. A portion of the sale of each Old North State tee goes to this incredible organization that partners at-risk children with a summer camp to encourage kids to try new things, get outside, and have an adventure.

    These tees are made from a lightweight polycotton blend and made to stay comfortable through all your adventures! Get yours now in Men's and Women's Tees!

    "One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure." - William Feather

    Mountains to Sea Collection

    Mountains to Sea Collection

    North Carolina. Our home state. A state that consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. A place that houses some of the most scenic destinations in the nation. From the mountains to the sea, there is always something to be explored in North Carolina. 

     

    We enjoy living, working, and exploring North Carolina so much so that we set up shop here with the intention of creating a clothing and lifestyle brand that would highlight all the best parts of our state. From The Blue Ridge Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean and everything in between, you can always find something amazing!

     

    Made from the softest polycotton blend around, you can get your Mountains to Sea tees in sizes XS-XXL in both Men's and Women's tees!

    Hustle Hard As Oak

    Hustle Hard As Oak

     

    "No matter what you want to do in life you have to have the determination to start and the intensity to hustle hard" - JoJo Polk, Core Fitness Studio

    Living in Raleigh allows to us live and work every day with some of the hardest working people we have ever had to honor to meet and it is this group of hustlers that inspired the Hustle Hard As Oak design. We wanted to make a tee especially for our community of local business owners who put in the work, hours, sweat, and tears to make their dreams a reality. Those that know and respect what it means to hustle hard. 

    Shortly after we released this design we started doing our Raleigh Hustles Hard blog series, where we would sit down with some of these influential hustlers around Raleigh and hear their stories. We wanted to showcase all the hard work and often goes unseen by some of our neighbors and friends. 

    Dress the hustle in the softest polycotton blend tees and tanks you'll ever find! We offer the Hustle Hard As Oak tee in options for the whole family: Men's Tees, Women's Tee, Women's Tanks, Onesies, Kids Tees 

    Read about our various Raleigh Hustles hard blog here:

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - WEDPICS

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - WEDPICS

    The first time I visited HQ Raleigh in early 2014, I knew it was providing something special for Raleigh’s entrepreneurs and start-ups. Immediately upon walking in, I could feel the energy. People were racing through the halls, some congregating and sharing ideas near the bar, and scores of teams working together diligently behind glass offices. Everyone seemed inspired and with purpose. I knew this wasn’t an ordinary workspace. While there, I would continuously hear about WedPics and their CEO / Co-Founder, Justin Miller. As the head of the fastest growing crowd sourced wedding app on the market, Justin and his team are helping to define Raleigh’s startup boom. We sat down with local hustler and successful entrepreneur, Justin Miller, for our latest installment of Raleigh Hustle’s Hard.

    From a networking perspective, HQ Raleigh was a huge boost to WedPics. “We didn’t know anybody at the time because we spent 18 hours a day in my basement building the app.” However, the road there wasn’t always clear. Justin graduated from the NCSU School of Design with a major in graphic design. And like many graduates in Raleigh before this current culture of entrepreneurship took hold, Justin accepted a corporate design job at IBM. At the time, Justin was intrigued with what was happening in social media and curated content online. His experience with large-scale marketing events at IBM presented a chance to capitalize on what he saw as a wasted opportunity. “There was a major fault on the marketing side where IBM would spend millions of dollars on these large scale events, and after the fact there was no way for them to easily gather the photos from all the participants.”

    Founded in 2011 in Justin’s basement, Deja Mi was conceived around concerts and other live events, to provide a location-based platform for event-goers to share experiences and form a connection socially. This was pre-hashtag days so aggregating that experience in a concise way without social connections was difficult. “Early on we had some friends and family that believed in the idea and were willing to cut us checks. We got really lucky. We were basically working for peanuts so I extended equity where possible, which provided much needed incentive and drive.” Most of the people who started at Deja Mi in the beginning are still working together today. After merging with a Durham startup at the end of 2011, the company doubled to twelve people.

    Upon merging, the first build of Deja Mi was scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. “We rolled out the new version, Apple featured it in 90 countries as a new and noteworthy app and Deja Mi started getting 6k+ downloads a day with no marketing.” Unfortunately, when Apple stopped pushing the app, momentum quickly fizzled. In early 2012, with funding waning and no clear vision ahead, they began exploring other use cases for the idea. After a great response to the app at a local bridal event, they began looking hard at the $50bn wedding market. “It just made sense. In this space, we could provide a real solution to a problem that actually existed.” With WedPics, they could replace the need for disposable cameras at weddings and provide a tool to aggregate all of the content from guests, who may or may not know each other, but can still share collectively in the experience.

    By the time WedPics launched in 2012, they had received some great press locally, and nationally from most of the major tech companies. Unfortunately, not all press was good press - at least not at first. After an N&O article featured Justin and the team, they were quickly served with an eviction notice from Justin’s basement or they would face fines in excess of $500 per day. Again, Justin used social media as a solution. He shared his ordeal and was immediately flooded with not only offers for working space, but also $25k in funding from a local angel investor. The team ultimately landed at HQ Raleigh. This was the perfect springboard for partnerships with other companies and outside funding. “It was just a really good connector”, said Justin.

    WedPics didn’t start as the robust platform it is today. Ultimately, Justin sees simplicity as a reason for WedPics early and continued success. “When you come up with an idea, there is a tendency to want to put every piece of functionality in it, so it’s as big and powerful as possible. That is where you think the bar is set, but that’s absolutely wrong.” Justin and his team stripped WedPics down to the bare minimum. “We had giant whiteboards on the wall of my basement where we’d list every feature we wanted in the app, then each day would come in and erase multiple features.” They were left with only the functionality necessary to make the app work. After the launch, Justin and his team carefully monitored the backend analytics to understand how people were using the app and what kind of feedback they provided. Coupled with constant competitor analysis, they took that insight to evolve the product and scale the capabilities of the platform. “Luckily, in our market we had a huge advantage, because brides love to provide feedback, whether good or bad. Listening to our audience was key.”

    Fast-forward to 2016, WedPics has received over $12M in outside funding and has grown into the #1 wedding app on the market. Operating in every country and with over 5 million dedicated users, the thirty-person team has made an undeniable impact in the wedding industry. Over 1 million photos are shared from the 10k+ weddings hosted on the app each week. While the app has triumphed significantly from an acquisition perspective, WedPics began moving from an acquisition-based model to a revenue-based model in January. Along with its app invite cards and hi-res printed photos, which account for most of the current revenue, they’ve diversified their revenue models by bringing in non-traditional advertising. “We sell dedicated email lists, as well as offering impressions for hand selected retailers inside of the app.” WedPics now also provides an opt-in opportunity where retailers can offer exclusive deals and connect with its customers directly. “We’ve taken a different approach to advertising and are currently testing this model to understand it’s scalability and how it resonates with our audience.” He says that so far it’s been well adopted.

    Justin has become an unofficial ambassador for Raleigh, even accompanying Mayor Nancy McFarlane to speak at SXSW. He credits both the city and the continuously deep talent pool for much of its recent success. “Now that we’re getting a larger footprint of small business and tech, options for graduates have expanded to much more than just corporate opportunities. This makes Raleigh much more attractive for an early stage entrepreneur. The cost of living and creating a business is so low in Raleigh, it really provides the opportunity to operate with much lower risk.”

    While Justin agrees that Raleigh can be a nourishing environment for entrepreneurs, he recognizes the challenges of evolving from the old way of doing things. Bureaucracy and lack of innovative, solution-focused thinking sometimes presents a real challenge to helping new ideas materialize. “Things aren’t as complicated as they are sometimes made to be. Instead of always going by the book or saying no when an idea reaches uncharted territory, I’d like to see the city think bigger picture and be a partner in developing innovative solutions.” Justin has been trying to launch his side project, El Taco Cartel since early 2015, but has run into challenges bringing it to market because Raleigh hasn’t decided how to classify his food cart. He’s working with city and county officials to build out a mobile food and beverage guide to provide a framework for not only him, but to pave the way for future entrepreneurs in the same space.

     

    When asked whether he would rather be blessed with luck, talent, or hustle, Justin answered emphatically, “Hustle, 100%. Luck runs out. Talent is not necessary. With hustle, you’ll always figure out a way to get it done.

    What more needs to be said?

    Learn more about WedPics as well as a few of Justin’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - NEUSE RIVER BREWING CO.

    It seems like every week there’s a new brewery popping up in Raleigh. Of course, nobody is complaining. The economic impact of the beer industry across North Carolina is undeniable. In 2014, it brought nearly $8 billion into the states economy, while creating over 26k jobs and over $213 million in state and local taxes (National Beer Wholesalers Association). One of the most recent and exciting breweries to call Raleigh home, is Neuse River Brewing Company (NRBC). Owners, Ryan Kolarov and David Powell, both NC natives, moved back to Raleigh in 2012 from Northern California to be a part of the movement. We sat down with David and Ryan for our latest installment of Raleigh Hustles Hard, to learn more about how they went from home brewers with a dream to a couple of Raleigh’s coolest new small business owners.

    David and Ryan have been home brewing for as long as they can remember. David’s passion began while living in Brooklyn, NY, working in the film industry. At the time, Ryan was brewing his own beer at home, over 1,600 miles away in St. Thomas. As fate would have it, life brought them unknowingly, six miles from each other in Northern California. By complete chance, they reconnected in 2009 and almost immediately starting brewing. “We both had such unique styles that complimented each other”, said Ryan. In early 2010, they began brewing in Ryan’s garage. Ryan was working in the brewery and winery industry at the time, so they were blessed with a lot of resources and great ingredients to pull from. “We just started experimenting and playing around with non-traditional ideas, and it turned out well”, said David. They were focused from the beginning. “From the moment we started brewing together, everything we created was working towards the dream of opening our brewery.”

    David and Ryan made the move back to Raleigh in 2012. With two growing families and Raleigh’s growing market, they saw a great opportunity in coming back home. “We grew up here. Raleigh is home for us. We have an awesome beer, food, and art culture that’s been emerging for the last ten years. It’s created a great atmosphere for this market.” Once back, they hit the ground the running. David began working at World Of Beer, getting a crash course in cost analysis and purchasing, as well as gaining invaluable insight into the current market value and consumer habits. “It really helped us understand the kind of beer and even particular flavors that the client was after.” While David was learning at World of Beer, Ryan began market research, scouting locations, and building the business plan for the brewery. Even with the years of experimenting and planning, opening NRBC did not come without huge risk. Both Ryan and David, along with their families, made significant sacrifices, even at a point moving back in with their parents and cashing out retirement accounts to purchase the necessary equipment. But with a lot of hustle, some help, and a bit of luck, Ryan and David broke ground at 518 Pershing Road, the eventual home of Neuse River Brewing Co., on July 1st, 2014.

    We were lucky enough to see this piece of property transform from a relic of a building into one of the coolest brewery / taprooms in Raleigh. It was truly a family effort. Ryan's wife Jennifer, who is also NRBC's Director of Sales & Marketing, was instrumental in the overall design of the taproom. David, Ryan, and his stepfather, Bob, built literally everything from the 30-foot concrete slab bar, to the 15+ picnic style and high top tables around the room. The real centerpiece is the industrial size fan that looks like it belongs in an airplane hanger. Even in the middle of the summer with no air conditioning, it’s still the coolest spot in town. The taproom shares an indoor and outdoor area separated by two large garage doors. On most days, you can find one of the Triangle’s many amazing food trucks, parked outside. NRBC is kid-friendly, and even has a kiddy table with toys and books.

    Neuse River Brewing Co. officially opened on July 31st, 2015. Right now, they offer three beers on tap; a 9% Neusiok Imperial Saison, a 7.8% Caleb’s High Noon Imperial IPA, and a 10.5% Affluent Tripel. “The Neusiok had a running start as soon as it was sampled. Everyone wanted it. So for the open, we focused on adding some other beers to give people something they weren’t expecting”, said David. The high gravity beers on tap are delicious. “Sometimes a high gravity beer is really nice because you can take your time with it and really enjoy the beer, your friends, and your surroundings.” However, don’t expect only high gravity beer at NRBC. “Soon, we’ll be a little more well balanced than how we came out of the gate. We wanted to come out with a bang, but you can expect many more exceptional beers at the 4.5 to 5% level.” With 10 open taps, and seven new beers on deck, expect that sooner than later. “We’re really excited about our next release, the Riverkeeper’s Wit”, said David. This special 4.8% Belgian style wheat beer will be a cornerstone of NRBC and go far beyond the stomachs of those who drink it. For every beer sold, 5% of the revenue will be donated to the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, which restores and preserves the Neuse River basin through education, advocacy, and enforcement. “We grew up stomping and playing on the Neuse River. It’s been a huge part of both of our lives. Because of that, it’s really important for us to give back.” Ryan and David’s hope is that eventually, others carrying the beer will contribute to the conservation by matching or adding to the donations.

    Ryan and David believe their focus on authenticity will help distinguish them from the rest. In addition to a strict yeast management program, which they said was the real worker bee in all their beers, Ryan stressed the importance of the water profile being unique for each beer they make. “Our goal is to mimic the origin of where these beers really come from. We take a lot of pride in that. For example, when we make a Saison, we work hard to make sure our water profile is the same as Wallonia, Belgium. Water chemistry changes the whole flavor profile of the beer.” Ryan and David have put the entirety of themselves into NRBC and it shows. “There’s a lot of pride that goes into your work. When you’re a small business owner, every inch of what you accomplished has a meaning within your life. Every time I see a piece of wood that I cut, I remember that day, and what we were working towards.” Very soon, you’ll start seeing a lot more of these guys around town. “We’re about 60 days away from distribution. We want to make sure that we don’t run out of beer for our customers! Look out for NRBC on tap at World of Beer and Bottle Revolution (Lake Boone Trail location) in the coming months. In 2016, NRBC will begin bottling and distributing to local bottle shops and bars. “We’re excited for the future, and look forward to creating something that people really enjoy.”

     

    Ryan’s favorite Beer: Consecration – Russian River Brewing Company

    David’s favorite Beer: Avec Les Bons Voeux - Brasserie Dupont sprl

     

    Learn more about NRBC, and some of Ryan and David’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing