SS 149 – The Guys Behind State & Liberty
Episode 149 Show Notes
Grant and Heavey are joined by Lee Moffie and Steven Fisher, creators of State and Liberty shirts. They start off with a 30-second pitch as to what makes their product so great. A grab bag of topics for the episode today as the double duo talk about shirts, season tickets, Taylor Swift, and the Instagram diet.
If you’re looking for great-fitting, comfortable dress shirts, you’ve got to try one for yourself. Use the discount code STRENGTHANDSCOTCH to get a discount upon checkout.
[02:30] The Instagram Diet
Grant mentions another article on the Instagram diet, which is composed literally of three rules – photograph everything you eat, you can only eat foods that warrant a post on IG (meaning, they have to be pretty), and you’re not allowed to eat ugly foods.
The article further states that people are getting a ton of success in getting their diets under control after following the Instagram diet. Grant suspects it all comes down to peer pressure.
Knowing your friends are going to judge you, you wouldn’t want them to see you’re eating crap. You know you have to look good and healthy. Therefore a network is network created where a community of like-minded people follow each other and keep each other aligned.
[04:30] Traveling and Dieting
Lee and Steven admit it can be difficult to maintain a nutrition plan while traveling, with all the great restaurants and food spots around town. Nevertheless, they’re pretty dialed in with eating healthy by maintaining a high-protein, low-carb diet.
Heavey also has this traveling rule that he can just eat whatever he wants since he’s got everything dialed in when he’s at home. However, he has been on the road more frequently than he has in the past. Realizing he’s finding himself off the rails after a month of doing this, he’s actually thinking of revising the rule and jump on the IG diet.
True enough, it’s so easy to justify it to yourself when you’re on the road. You try out certain foods at certain places then you’d realize you’ve been eating like crap for the past month.
[06:15] Worst Foods = Pretty Foods and Peer Pressure
Back to the IG diet, Lee thinks part of the issue is that some of the worst foods out there are the prettiest.
Again, Grant stresses the peer pressure or the community element that keeps people so engaged. There’s a thin line between you and other people that you’re constantly berated if you make a mistake. You want those likes. So the more likes you get, you keep posting more. Grant initially thought this diet was stupid but he realized it actually makes sense. There is some power there!
Heavey adds that the peer pressure piece of it is real. He also cites there’s a pretty large body of scientific evidence supporting this. If you track your diet or any metrics around your body composition or your intake (ex. weighing yourself regularly or logging your food and taking pictures and posting online), you will make better choices for yourself. The reason for this could be that other people are looking at it or that you’re more aware of what you’re doing. For instance, you try to pull up your feed and scroll back, and you realize you’ve been on the road for 30 days eating crap.
What Grant used to do back when he still cared about his intake is that if it was a work trip, he’d be strict with the diet. Otherwise if it’s a personal trip, “whatever goes, goes.” He was on vacation anyway. However, he agrees with Heavey on the fact that tracking your food intake does have its benefits.
In conclusion, Grant thinks the IG diet is actually effective. (It could be his secret to getting skinny.)
[09:22] From College Pals to Business Partners
Lee and Steven started the company two years after they graduated. They had different jobs but they’ve always talked about business. They already had a previous business relationship in terms of investing, and they both always had a passion for clothes.
Aside from having that desire to look nice, they found themselves having to wear a suit and tie everyday which they weren’t used to and hated doing. They thought it’s part of the reason they didn’t love their 9-5 job so they started talking about how they can make comfortable clothing. They essentially went into it with zero fashion experience and background.
[10:45] What Makes ‘Em Different
Steven explains there are three things they want to accomplish. They wanted the skinny cut where it could fit in the waist without pulling the buttons on the chest. They wanted to make this out of athletic performance fabric that’s stretchy, light-weight, comfortable, and low-maintenance. Third, they wanted it to look professional where you can wear it to any meeting. In short, anyone wearing it has the best-fitting, best looking, and most comfortable shirt in the room.
[11:30] Are They Making Pants and Ladies’ Clothes Too?
Grant wishes State and Liberty also had pants to fit his big ass perfectly. Good thing they’re working on it. Prototypes are in the works and they’re excited about it.
Are they making clothes for women? Lee explains that when they started the company, they intended to make clothes for themselves. Basically, they are their target demographic. And even without any fashion background, it was easy for them to design the stuff and come up with different patterns and products, knowing what other guys like them would like to wear. As for women’s clothes, they’re plain clueless.
[13:25] The Clothes Perfectly Fit
Grant says the shirts fit him well even with the big shoulders and big chest he has. Heavey is the same. He has crazy long arms for his waist size and the shirt perfectly fits him as well. In fact, he says it’s the only shirt that fits him where he doesn’t have to go to the tailor.
[13:53] The Business Model = Athletics + Fashion
Grant raises this question regarding their business model since the gym rats he knows never puts on dress shirts. They are almost always in sweats and sweaty shirts.
Steven clarifies that the gym rats are not their specific target market. Instead, there are so many people out there that get up early to work out before heading to the office from 9 to 5. Many wake up at seven to go to work and work out in the middle of the day. Former college and high school athletes now retired from that and working a normal job need to dress up everyday. These are the people they’re going after. Although they also go after some of the professional athletes that like to dress up on the way to games.
Lee adds the beauty of their shirts is that while the shirts fit bodybuilders and weightlifters better than anybody else, they’re also catering to that guy who doesn’t go to gym for three hours a day, but he’s into health and fitness and would still want to have that comfortable-fitting shirt.
[16:15] Lee’s Transition: From Professional Hockey to Business
Lee has been a hockey player for 23 years and going a different direction from his identity has been a tough one for him. He recalls this was originally a part-time business two years ago which ran for about eight months. They launched a new collection of shirts and had great response to it. Soon they realized it was more than just a hobby now but it was potentially going to be a real business.
[18:08] Steven’s Transition: From Data Analytics to Business
Steven, on the other hand, was on the business side, doing dynamic pricing, ticketing, marketing, and doing data analytics for the Detroit Tigers. Then he realized the 9-5 life was not for him. So they got to the point where they had to decide whether they take the opportunity and run after it or shut it down.
[19:20] Going Off Topic: Buying Reservations for Season Tickets
On a different note, Grant is curious about this recent movement of buying reservations for season tickets. Steven explains how Michigan has done this for years. The proceeds go to the college football program. Part of that is to make money and another part of it is feeling you’re a member, not just a customer. Generally speaking, the different areas of Michigan stadium have requirements for certain donation levels to buy that ticket.
On a professional level, the Warriors are building a new stadium. They’re the first NBA team to adopt Jerry Jones’ model where you have to pay for the reservation to be able to pay for a season ticket. The owner puts his own money in the stadium and then collects all the dough.
As a fan, this is apparently frustrating. Heavey’s former officemate was on the Lakers waitlist for a long time. At that point, he would defer every year. So they’re probably filtering out people who aren’t very serious about it.
[22:44] What Happens in the Bad Years?
Steven adds there’s a give and take piece in terms of how much charge for them. For example, the Warriors can charge whatever they want and sell the season tickets. But if they decide to charge a ton, when the team gets bad, people are just going to drop them. However, you can’t just buy your way up into better tickets. When the team gets bad, people wouldn’t want to drop their ticket because they know when the team gets good again, they can’t get those tickets back. That said, you build some goodwill with your customers by keeping it low. Maybe you don’t make as much money in the good years but you make more money in the bad years when people don’t drop their tickets.
Grant says this explains why it’s been so successful in the NFL considering they only play eight-home games. So even if you’re the worst team in the league, there are people who are going to want to get on those eight weekends; as opposed to buying 41 home games in basketball or 90+ games in baseball.
[24:33] Going More Way Off Topic: Taylor Swift is Back!
Going even even more way off topic, Grant asks them about Taylor Swift. They’re happy she’s back though. First time Grant heard it he thought it was awful but the second time around, he wanted to listen to it the rest of the day.
But what they’re doing for her tickets is even crazier, To be able to reserve a spot to buy a ticket, you have to do xyz (ex. what her YouTube video five times a day, buy her sweatshirt, etc.) Buy her $60 snake ring and it gets you points to get you into the queue to buy tickets for her show in your city. In short, you have to accumulate points to get closer to the front of the line to buy better tickets.
This got Heavey wondering if State and Liberty has this kind of loyalty program like post pics on IG and get discount codes or get access to a limited edition shirt.
[26:05] State and Liberty Loyalty Program
Good news! State and Liberty has just launched their loyalty program. With the intention of getting closer to their customers and learning more about them, they didn’t want it to be just about money.
Instead, they focus on customer sharing and following the brand. Once you accumulate a certain amount of points, State and Liberty will custom-make something for you – it’s something that sets the product apart a little bit. Or it may just be something the customer wants.
Grant adds the reason for the blowback against Taylor is they focus on who spends the most money on her. Good thing State and Liberty is doing the opposite.
[28:10] State and LIberty is Backed by Pro Athletes
Another things that stood out for Grant and Heavey is how State and Liberty does an amazing job finding professional athletes and personalities to represent them. Steve and Lee explain how this is a combination of things.
Obviously, they have a lot of connections within hockey and baseball and wrestling. Plus, they show up at locker rooms with 20 shirts in a bag. Guys would come over and try them on and they’d buy them. They’re excited about the story Lee and Steven are telling. They’ve also had issues with finding shirts with great fit. And with all the traveling and how they’re built, the shirts are just perfect for them.
It’s incredible how they’ve been willing to post on social media and spread it around the locker room. They don’t have formal brand ambassadors but it looks like they do if you look at their social media and website. These guys aren’t paid. They’re all organic. And these guys are all acting as ambassadors for them. Lee and Steve feel very lucky because of this.
Heavey adds it could be the dream shirt of any pro athlete. It looks nice and you can just toss it in the bag and it will come out wrinkle-free and whatnot. Another thing that stood out for Heavey in the story is just walking into locker rooms. And it’s funny how big names have actually ordered their shirts and how more orders are just coming in.
Grant suggests they go for Connor McGregor too! Let’s see…
[32:00] Where to Find State and Liberty
State and Liberty is having a pop up shop in Boston (at the time of recording). By the time this airs, Steve and Lee may already be out of Boston but you can still check them out at 125 Newbury Area, Boston. Try them on and get a feel for them.
Lastly, Lee and Steve ensure customer satisfaction. So if you’re nervous it’s not going to work out, they pay for the shipping and they will send back the new ones to you. It’s risk-free. Pick them up online and they will take care of you. Also, sign up for their mailing list to stay up to date of what they’re doing.
State and Liberty website
Check out the gear page for everything Strength & Scotch! You’ll find a listing of all the supplements and other programs we’ve discussed on the show as well as our killer t-shirts!