Shopify gave us some love on their blog today along with several other cool Portland, Maine companies. We've used Shopify for many years, almost since the beginning. Shopify's platform and services definitely have contributed to the growth of our ecommerce and retail business.
Here's the profile they wrote about us.
A slower kind of life
Jeff Lauzier taught in inner city Boston before his school was rezoned and started admitting suburban kids. His impetus for leaving teaching? “I realized I hated parents,” Jeff says. In 2001, he left Boston for a slower life, just 40TK minutes outside Portland, and became a partner at Joseph’s, an upscale menswear shop in Old Port. Ten years later, Jeff began experimenting with screen printing, launching what would become Loyal Citizen as a side hustle run out of Joseph’s. “I’m a hands-on guy,” he says.
A nod to New England pride and Jeff’s interest in history, Loyal Citizen is known for its T-shirts featuring nautical designs, Maine heritage, and political figures of the past—all still printed by hand in Jeff’s basement. In 2015, he and his partners, Julian Redman and Brock Foreman, decided to launch a pop-up, testing the brand’s viability in a retail setting. In just two months, they made $50,000. “We couldn’t print fast enough, and we actually ran out of product,” says Jeff. “[That made us] realize there was probably a market for what we wanted to do.”
This business was a side project that kind of morphed into something greater.
Loyal Citizen moved to a dedicated space that same year, just down the street from Joseph’s, where they expanded to carry prints, locally made bags, and beard balm (the latter also made by hand by Jeff). In 2018, Jeff says he and the team were already starting to question the physical location, as rents soared in the area. If the store moved to a street with better foot traffic, the rent would double. “And that’s a lot of T-shirts [to sell],” Jeff says. Since my visit in the summer of 2018, and four years after opening its doors, Loyal Citizen closed its retail operation to focus on its online store.
A self-professed control-freak, Jeff still has his hands in many aspects of the business, balanced with his hours at Joseph’s and time for his family. “If I get five hours of sleep a night, that’s a lot,” he says. But Loyal Citizen is also his creative outlet. “This business was a side project that kind of morphed into something greater,” he says. “I’m not going to retire anytime soon.”
“What do you do for fun?” I ask.
“Print T-shirts,” Jeff says.