John LaRoy, CEO of Apparel Redefined and Rockland Page, owner of ROCKaBLOCK share their experiences and insights on starting and growing a business in the t-shirt industry. They emphasized the importance of following one’s passion, taking calculated risks, and seeking inspiration and advice from mentors.

John LaRoy discusses the importance of legacy and innovation in creative fields, while Rockland Page shares his journey of creating a business that inspires people through apparel and augmented reality. John and Rockland emphasize the importance of inspiring conversations and creating a better world through their work.

Key Highlights

• Entrepreneurship, art, and fashion with Rockland Page. 0:00
• Inventor’s legacy and flying car design. 5:05
• Starting a business from home, with a focus on the fear and uncertainty of taking the leap. 8:42
• Starting a business, creating inspiring designs, and overcoming challenges. 12:24
• Entrepreneurship, marketing, and product development. 17:34
• Entrepreneurship, growth, and niche marketing. 23:54
• Entrepreneurship, art, and business advice. 29:14

Presentation Transcription

Curt Anderson  00:00

Hey John, we’re back for another awesome interview. How are you doing?

John LaRoy  00:02

I’m good Kurt. How are you?

Curt Anderson  00:04

I’m just so fired up for this one. So man, we’re here at apparel redefine my dear buddy, John LaRoy. John, we’ve been hitting these up every week, just having a great time. And we’ve been pulling in some awesome folks who are just dedicated to fashion and branded apparel. And we’ve got our good buddy Rockland Page is in the house here rock, how are you? Man?

Rockland Page  00:22

I’m good. How about yourselves?

Curt Anderson  00:24

Hey, we’re doing fantastic. And so few things I want to dive in. You’ve got a fascinating business. Really interesting background, we want to dive into your background a little bit. So let’s go back in time before entrepreneurship, what kind of, you know you’ve got a corporate career. Just give us a little background on yourself. And what was your journey early on?

Rockland Page  00:43

Okay. Well, I started out as a graphic designer, major web group in Indianapolis and always had a love of art. I come from a line of artists, my grandfather was a self taught painter. My father did sculpture, my aunts and uncles, they all did art too. But none of them actually really pursued me as a full time career. But as a kid, I always loved doing it always love making money with my art. And I would draw, you know, group in the 80s and the 90s. So I would draw like Ninja Turtles and treasure trolls and all these things and you make comic books and sell them to my friends. And when I would come home with you know, 510 bucks from something I drew, I said, Hey, I can make money doing this. Um, so fast forward and went to Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, graduated in 2000, and went to Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where I majored in fine arts graphic design. And I really loved my time there. And I knew I still want to pursue art. So after graduation, I moved to Chicago when I got a job with Ebony and Jet magazine, which at the time, were two largest black publications in the country. I was there for about four years. And then I went over to the Chicago Tribune, where I worked there for seven years. And there, I hope not a teen publication called the mash, which was like a, if anyone’s familiar with it, Red Eye, which was like the commuter paper for you know, quite a number of years in Chicago. It was like a teen version of Red Eye where high school students would write stories, and it was actually distributed through our high schools throughout Chicagoland. And so that was a great opportunity just to, you know, really, you know, take charge of the brand, really get to mold it and help create the voice and the feel of the brand, and shape his direction. After that, I went on to what they call the blue side, which was actual Chicago Tribune, Rouse, a features art director for food and dining section, entertainment, automotive, things like that. But a newspaper industry started to decline. I decided to leave that leave the paper because it was just uncertain times. And I took a job with an engineering firm, called STV. And I worked with your creative services department. And even though it paid well, it was honestly one more boring job that ran in my life. It was this I went to art school, I went to work one of the largest newspapers and magazines in the country. And I’m used to seeing my work on like a newspaper stands or at the checkout line at the grocery store, I’d say, Hey, I design a cover. I did that. And I went from doing that to designing proposal covers or PowerPoint presentations. And you know, it’ll just be an intersection of like, you know, like, posted in like, you know, 95th Street or something in Chicago, and nothing fancy about it, nothing sexy about it. And it was just honestly killing my soul as a designer and artist. So that’s what really prompted me to go full time in entrepreneurship. I had some friends that were in the t shirt businesses, and they really weren’t, you know, designers or anything, but they’re actually you know, just printing shirts, weathers with a Cricut or, you know, screen printing or vinyl or those things. I’m like, why can’t I do that myself? I know I can make great shirts. I can do great designs up to see my work all over the country? Why can’t I make a t shirt. And so after a lot of planning and prayer, and even talking about why I decided to go into t shirt business, and I started out with a machine called the Oki data Pro, which is a heat transfer system. I just knew I want to do full color shirts, be able to do one at a time that really were about bulk. And that’s what really got me started. I started rocket black in 2017 in November 2017 in the basement of my home, and I just had the heat press my computer and my printer and website. And then that’s started off

Curt Anderson  04:40

by man that is absolutely phenomenal. So a couple of things I want to dive into. You shared that you had artists, you know, artists in your background, right? So a little bit in your DNA. Was there a particular person was there a thing that like really inspired you to pursue, you know, the art, you know, being in the more fashion side was there anybody that you want to really credit or any particular thing that drove you that direction. I think

Rockland Page  05:05

my grandfather, he’s probably my biggest influences. Even though I didn’t spend much time with him growing up. I think last time I saw him was about three or four years old. But I would always hear stories about how he could draw and paint anything. And he only had a third grade education. And then his father was a inventor. And so in 1945, or 46, he actually had a patent for a flying car. And I’ll say, New York. And I would always hear stories about this flying car. It’s my car here, right? And then about seven or eight years ago, maybe a little bit longer, I get a package in the mail. That one of my cousins, he found, she found all the patents and all the drawings off newspaper articles. I was like, Oh, wow, this is legit real. And so to see how my family, they love doing art and creative things, but no one ever really pursued, I felt like it was my responsibility to do something with this gift. Trying to make good sense of it, I really chose fashion because No, if you if you’re a gallery artist, you have to go see your work, get to go to a specific museum or a gallery, or they might not be able to afford your painting or whatever else. But if you pay 25 bucks for a T shirt, art can practically go all over the world. So one person wears a shirt, and they bought in Chicago and then next know they’re in like, you know, Egypt, or Japan, there’s a possibility of you know, people seeing it all over the world. So it just seemed, you know, make my art for the people make it easy and accessible. And is making an impact and put on a shirt.

John LaRoy  06:49

Sorry to interrupt but do you have was there drawing some middle with the pen? Yeah,

Rockland Page  06:54

the word phones. I don’t have any right now because everything’s packed up. But yeah, my grandfather, great grandfather came up the concept. My grandfather did the initial drawings. And then I think they actually went to like some kind of law firm actually had the technical drawings. schematics of this it looks like a basically a helicopter with wheels and the propeller blades fall back. And the idea was, if you’re stuck in traffic, you just open up the propeller. You take off. And

John LaRoy  07:22

I want to do I think that’s a really cool, you can put on a t shirt, the drawings in your new shop, like how that’d be like the backdrop like the actual blue. Like that’d be sweet. Oh, yeah.

Rockland Page  07:34

Didn’t want to do that. And so see, actually have a couple of his original drawings. Well, I took them down, but there they were up on my wall. Just some paintings here. That’s awesome. To see that, you know, you know, didn’t get to know him much. But to know that piece of him still lives in me. Yeah.

Curt Anderson  07:53

That is, what a great rock. Thank you for sharing. Just you know what a pioneer and just ahead of his time. I don’t know if I live long enough. Hopefully you guys do at some point in time, we will have flying cars and rock we can credit grandpa on that one. Right? So that was that’s an and John, what a brilliant idea to carry grandpa’s legacy, slept it on a t shirt. And, you know, carry that out. I’m gonna go here rock and John, I want to pull you in on this. You know, I heard you know how many entrepreneurs you hear, you know, started in my garage. Right? You know, Steve Jobs. I think you at Packard, you hear all those garage? You started right in your basement. John, you work with tons of folks, you know, dozens and hundreds of entrepreneurs. How often do you hear you know, hey, I started my garage starting in a basement. It was having that leap of faith and that courage? What do you hear from your clients?

John LaRoy  08:42

I mean, in our industry, pretty much everyone starts in their garage or their basement. It’s a very garage I call a garage based industry. So yeah, we hear that all the time, especially. You know, when you see the downturn in economies of 2008 bubble, usually you see that’s when you see our industry have an optic of essentially people rushing into the industry to get started. There are low barriers to entry. So yeah, it is very garage slash basement style industry. But when we talk about some of our corporate clients, some of them are legacy, you know, where grandpa started at great grandpa started in it. They’re carrying on the family name. Well, yeah, I mean, most of the time, you know, you hear the same story over and over again and start on the back of a bar napkin. And that’s true. You know what I mean? It always it always boils down. There’s always a seminal moment. There’s always a beginning. And then the action after the thought usually starts in the home, or, you know, at the bar, and you have to go back to do your work and most people don’t have space, so they got to start in our house. And yeah, it’s it’s Not a on unique if that’s a word or a rare origin story to hear most businesses start in the home because that’s where you are, most of that’s right.

Curt Anderson  10:11

And so rock, rock, let’s go here what I love what you shared, like, Hey, I talked to my wife. So let’s go back to 2017. And take us there. You know, you had a great corporate career. You’re working at Chicago Tribune, you know, you died, you took your tone of engineering, just you know, in I credit you for having the man of conviction that you are that you know what, this isn’t quite for me. What was it like taking that leap was exciting, scary? What did your wife like? What was going through those first days, if you can go back to 2017?

Rockland Page  10:41

probably goes back like 2015 or 16? I guess one of the idea to kind of start over Yeah, when it first started. Yeah, it was the most terrifying thing I ever did in my life. But I think just one day, I just had this revelation that one day, I’m gonna wake up an old man, I just wish I’d done this. Because we all know that person, they’ll say, Oh, I wish I had opened up a restaurant or I could have played the NFL or I wish I travel the world or, you know, I think they’re younger at opportunity. And there’s really just no perfect time to do this. And so I just knew I want to get started making shirts, I knew I wanted them to be high quality. Not to look like they’re made in my basement. So we’re glad you came out the store. And, and what my, you know, background as a designer and a fine artist, I feel like okay, I can take this. I know a little bit about printing, because I’ve had to do press checks and things for the newspaper. Let me see if I can do this for shirts. And so I kept going back and forth with the sales rep from from a company called Cold SE for probably a good year, year and a half getting samples, because I didn’t want to spend 1000s of dollars on this machine, and then a wash shirt comes off. So she sent me samples and you know, I kept going back and forth. And finally I said, Okay, I’m gonna bite the bullet. And at the time I took out what was it felt like a you know, humongous loan, like $11,000 and above this machine, and it came in on this big Mack truck on my residential street. And then late dropped off was like just a crate, one little crate, but this MacBook is on my street. And I was like, Okay, this is it. And so I made the announcement on Facebook, like right before Thanksgiving or right after, say, alright, this is it. And then I told my wife like this thing’s had to pay for itself. I don’t know what’s going to happen. But the thing is, you have to pay yourself for the most part. And I had no idea people thought the name rocket Black was gonna be stupid. You know, even though people like my name, Rocklin, you know, like, let’s see, let’s see if they want to rock a black shirt. And so I didn’t know anything about web design, or, you know, e commerce, I just went for it. But it is terrifying and scary to put yourself out there for scrutiny. Because, you know, if people don’t buy your stuff, I mean, it’s kind of attacking itself because I’m pouring myself onto the shirts. Um, but you know, people have been really supportive, you know, especially then and over the years. Yeah,

Curt Anderson  12:59

I love that. So let’s dive in. So rocket block is the name of the company, your founder, just what an inspiring story, my friend that is just fantastic. And it was just giant I love hearing these origin stories. So let’s dive into rock a block and please share with folks you know, again, you got it started, you know, came from an idea turns into like a little bit of a side hustle. Now it turns into a business. How do you guys make the world a place the world a better place dive into what do you guys do at ROCKaBLOCK,

Rockland Page  13:26

it will record black. You know, we’ve had a few slogans over the years. One was the adult church people, inspiring church inspired people entertained, to create it to inspire. I wanted my shirts and designs to be inspiring people, you know, to create conversations to really get people thinking. And so a lot of my work in in John and you know, apparel redefined has been a big help, and lately is creating shirts with a message where I share black history. So the shirt I’m wearing right now, it’s called the pioneers. And it has six pioneers, six black pioneers. So bass Reed, Bessie Coleman, a Seco and I have people that are well known, and that’s a well known one. But it gets people asking like, Hey, who’s that person? Why are they so important? Why are they on their shirt, it creates a dialogue. And the predecessor to this shirt was called the Freedom Fighters which had Marcus Garvey, Harry tough, and Frederick Douglass and several others. And so that, you know, for last five, six years has been my most popular T. But now I’m actually incorporating augmented reality into the shirts. And so when you view the shirt through a smartphone, or Instagram app, all these characters come to life and give you a life story. So it’s not just shirts, we have stickers, you know, enamel pins, all sorts of things, but people are just like floored. So yeah, here’s just one of the pins here. You can see it. All these things actually come life and talk to you. And this has been like, amazing to see people’s reactions to it, though when they say oh, nice shirt. Oh, well check out what they can do and they flip out and move them up and I got to the point where at first I was doing shirts with my heat transfers, but I backtrack. So in 2020, it is where I’ve come to meet with apparel redefined. It’s 2020 during the pandemic, rolling lockdown. And I just switched over to screen printing, I just bought like a little ratty, happines, press to do my basement. And I was gonna wait for the 2020 Federal season and then the world shuts down. And I’m like, Oh, God, I just spent another like 15 grand on this equipment. What am I going to do? Everything shut down. I don’t know where to get orders from all around the country. Because at the time, we had no the police shootings, the riots violence. That’s what people were looking for black owned t shirt companies, I was on the first one to come up. And so people buying T shirts, people I didn’t know New York, LA, Texas, all these things. Then out of nowhere, I got an email from a producer at ABC seven, Chicago. And they’re saying, Hey, we found a brand online, we love it, we want to feature you on air. And I’m like, Okay, let’s do it. And I’ve never been on TV before. And so a couple weeks later, I’m in my living room, I’m on my iPad during the Zoom call, I really couldn’t hear anything the anchor was saying, but I’m on live TV, like around 10 o’clock in the morning, and head on my freedom fighter shirt. And I was telling about company, what we’re talking about now. And I remember lasting anchor, you know, asked me was so wrapped what’s next. And I’m just so nervous. I’m like, I don’t know, I just want to get out of the basement. And I just, that’s where the interview ended. And. And so seconds after I got off the air, my phone’s blows up with orders, people calling me text me saying they saw me on TV. And it was just nuts. Just when my wife and daughter came home, I was just like, curled up in the fetal position on the floor. Because there’s just too much coming in at me. And normally I do like maybe, you know, two or three orders a week if that I had over 100 I had to fill in but one of the people that called me was, uh, one of, you know, John’s employees, and said, Hey, we see you know, you’re doing this, and we think we can help. And there’s no way I’m going to keep keep transferring the shirts. And so that’s where our relationship began. And so they started becoming my printer for the freedom fighters and pioneer shirts, because there’s too much for me to handle. And so, you know, my production increased the quality increase. And so this has been in relationship for about four years now.

John LaRoy  17:34

Yeah, for four or five years. Absolutely.

Rockland Page  17:37

So yeah, that’s, I mean, that’s where that origin story started. So and even though I’ve been in business, no technique for, you know, a couple years at that point, I feel like that was like the Genesis, the real birthplace back of black. From there, I moved into a storefront not far from the house, just to get out of basement and actually grow the brand. But yeah, so that’s where we are now.

Curt Anderson  17:59

Man, rock, dude, hats off to you. Because you know, so many people again, you know, pursue, you know, someday is not a day of the week, right? Someday, I’m going to start my business someday, I’m going to do this, and so credit you to have the courage. And I love that, you know, as entrepreneurs, we’ve all been in that little fetal position at one time or another. I don’t know about you, John. But I’ve been there are many times, and I just love how, you know, just goofy circumstance, right? Just that persistence, being in the right place. Right time. John, don’t you love how, you know, like you said, you know, not an uncommon story of how you start, but boy, there’s not a story. That’s the same of how that journey plays out. And what an inspiration to hear rock story and how building his business and then how he lines and partners with you just hear a little bit of like, how you’ve seen this or your relationship with rock what you’ve seen?

John LaRoy  18:44

Yes, phenomenal. I mean, like you said, they’re the seminal points are usually similar. But after that, it’s it’s a spaghetti map, every you know, everyone goes all different ways. And it’s really interesting to see. And yeah, I mean, we saw him starting to blow up, especially here in Chicago, and like, I saw a little bit like on the website, and I’m like, Man, this guy’s gonna need some help, you know, if this continues to go, because a lot of people like WGN, ABC, like our local news here, they do a really good job, since the pandemic, like doing like small business spotlights, usually on Fridays and Saturdays. And we’ve had actually, like, probably four or five customers that we work with come in, and they do a little free trial, and it’s phenomenal. But yeah, I mean, seeing how impactful that marketing is, you know, like, that’s the one thing that like, Kurt that’s why we’re working together, right, you know, manufacturing our, you know, how do we become the stop being the best kept secret in your words, right? Or your mom’s words? Right. And as manufacturers in Grand Rockland, you know, you get this, like, we spend so much time heads down, doing this working on the business that we don’t spend enough time telling people actually what we do, so well. and ABC seven comes in and knock on your door like we’re gonna tell people for you. It’s like, yes, please, you know, but then you don’t realize what happens after that, which is good. And yeah, it’s just phenomenal to be able to tell your story because me myself for 19 years curtain we talked about this a lot. I really think people want to hear my story because I’m in my own head. But if it’s good enough for you to like Curt, then other people might like it too. And Rockland story is way better than mine. And his his his popularity has grown. And then even the the conversion and the conversations I mean, with with rock, just a little bit different spelling, but our O Q, who we had, you know, Ross on a couple of weeks ago, Kurt, but his partner and Ryan Moore at all made, you know, great mission story, great statement behind what he’s trying to do, and then partner with Rocklin to kind of merge two worlds together. It’s been phenomenal. And then the augmented reality thing is just so cool. Rock was here a couple months ago. And that was the first time I saw it live. You know, we’ve seen 1000s of the shirts go through our shop, but I’ve never actually put the app to it and had the shirt talk to me. You know, I mean, like, it’s crazy, but it is so cool. And we talked about this all the time, Kurt like product service experience, right? Well, he’s just married to together the product and the experience, you get the experience of the actual freedom fighter, the pioneer talking to telling your story, and then actually a product. I mean, it’s phenomenal. Rocklin has done a fabulous job. And I wish him all the best. He’s got a lot going on. I know the feeling of moving a business. It’s absolutely overwhelming. And I don’t want to do it again. But we are gonna be doing it soon, as well. And I don’t wanna say I’m not looking forward to it. I’m definitely am I just know what you’re going through man and keep going. But it will get better.

Rockland Page  21:59

Thank you. Thank you appreciate. Yeah,

Curt Anderson  22:01

well, it’s been rock I’d say is super inspiring. And I love you know, I’m a huge history buff. I love how you’re carrying the legacy, you know, to, you know, a wonderful heritage. Let’s, I’m going to pull up your website in a second. But I want you know, for folks out there to hear in this this, you know, augmented reality, they might be like, hey, what do you guys, what are you doing there? Right? What are you talking about? Once you kind of tee this up? And then I’m going to go to I want to jump onto your website because I’m going to show folks what’s going on in rocket block, but just what’s going on with the augmented reality. Okay,

Rockland Page  22:32

well, so some people will you know, they get the acronym wrong will be abbreviation rounders. Oh, that’s AI like know that. Oh, geez. A reality. And basically, the reality, I’m trying explain best way I can is taking a virtual object or acid and superimposing it on top of a real world object or environment. And we use it all the time. So whether if you’re playing Pokemon Go, or using a Snapchat filter, we put some bunny ears or dog appears on your face. That’s augmented reality, I just found a different way to do it in Cabana, with storytelling and history. And this really make it something compelling. So it’s not just sort of just no lights up or flashes, it does something that actually gives you history and knowledge and creates conversation. And you know, a couple of museums have actually picked up the pieces and selling him in gift shops. And so earlier, John mentioned that there’s three avenues, what product, service and experience. So now we’re delving into the service part where we’re going to be creating augmented reality, enhanced apparel for other companies, or other grants. So it still is fledgling, you know, kind of capacity, because I’m still very much a team of one with some consultants. But I really think it shows a lot of promise to you know, be able to create the service, along with the products and experiences for other people. Well,

Curt Anderson  23:54

I absolutely love it. John, I think last week, if I’m not mistaken, use that word maturity. And you know, and you’re such a humble guy, you’re like, you know, I really, I’m not crazy about that word, but it’s, you know, coming into things with I love, you know, don’t you feel how you’re maturing as an entrepreneur, right? Like, you know, you go back to what you did, six, seven years ago, and you know, and I’ve been at it for 35 years, and I’m still amazed at the dumb mistakes I make on a daily basis. But do you see yourself maturing as an entrepreneur like, how do you feel there?

Rockland Page  24:21

I do. Well, I feel like I’m making a whole new set of mistakes. Yeah, I see and I still find myself curled up in a you know, more fetal position they set the price tag is a lot higher. Annual $10,000. But, but I see the growth, I definitely see it. I look back to my earlier shirts and a Korean or if I go to an event and I have a pop up shop, someone comes wearing one of my old shirts, my Oh. But let’s replace that one. But I’ve never seen a lot of growth. But honestly, I’ve been hardened by the industry, but I’ve been seasoned by all of this. And when this period was jet black when I first started

Curt Anderson  25:00

Yeah, I had here when I started to, and I, you know, I hear you. So that’s Hey, God bless you, brother. So hey, let’s dive in. Let’s take a look, let’s we’re gonna go on a little field trip. And join me if you will, we’re going to join and check out rocks website. So, rock, I’m on the hoodie page, and I’m a hoodie junkie. So I had to start here, just share a little bit what’s going on, what are we looking at?

Rockland Page  25:23

Okay, so right now we’re looking at our heavy selection. So love our shirts come in hoodies, and T shirts, and tank tops. Some are just exclusive depending on what the need is for the designs fulfill design works better on the hoodie, stay on a hoodie. But I’ve tried to make a little something for everybody. We almost everything’s in small batches, because while these are still do by hand screen printed by hand, but I focus a lot on humor culture. So the one you see on the bottom right, it says if it doesn’t connect me to can we sum up my bit of a beard aficionado if you can’t tell. And so that’s one thing people remember about me or talk to me about as my beard. And so I just tried to come up with like, all these little silly quips or things in my mind. I see people resonate with it, and they do. So here’s what I will say, at beards are God’s gift to women, some different beers are grace. Again, somebody a friend of mine said that to me, and I was like, No, I’m gonna put that on a shirt. And so that’s a great thing about being able to make your shirt you can put anything you want on shirt. And that was done surprisingly, well. Probably one right here in the bottom left and not today care. And it’s probably the most abrasive design I have so far. And I wasn’t even sure how people were going to receive it at first, but people will either love it or hate has been very polarizing. But uh, but I feel like it still is one of my strongest pieces that just says a lot without saying a lot. I’m a father. So I’ve had to do things with the you know, fatherhood, for like, dads get the short end of the stick specimen on Father’s Day. So I came up with the brand dedicated all day. That so it’s actually one of my trademarks, as well. And so just, that’s a whole nother realm of business setup. And we’re going to dive deeper into, but yeah, just try to make, you know, something comes to my mind. I just throw it on a shirt or hoodie or tank. But as businesses growing, I need to be more structured. Because now the artists who just wants to create, create, create, but then, you know, I gotta think about fulfillment, the cost of goods sold all these things. Now the businessman has to step in, or, you know, the, you know, the bookkeeper said, hey, just man, you know, XYZ and all blanks and printing, like, but are these on sale. So now to be more strategic here on the teacher pays, these are definitely some of my staples that are gonna be in top sellers for like, last five, six years. And so every now and then I try to throw new shirts on here, something kind of funny happens. So this one born in the 1900s. Again, I had no idea how that one was gonna work or if people were gonna respond, but I tried to keep an eye on social media and what people were talking about and, you know, kids are asking, like, Mom, Dad reborn in the 1900s. And so I’m gonna go take some pride in being born in the 1900s Yeah, so my Juneteenth designs, you know, again, being a bald, bearded and blessed man and somebody who’s most simple designs or someone bestsellers the simple phrases Yeah, so you see the pioneers the you know, dedicate all dad shirt not today can shirt. And I’ve tried to find ways to you know, even if the shirt itself doesn’t do anything I wanted to create I want to create an experience and evoke some emotion or response from either the person wearing it, or the person you know, looking at a person wearing

Curt Anderson  28:35

Well, combination of things as a as a proud dad, we’re all dads here. Just I absolutely love this shirt here. I think the Karen is as hysterical. And again, earlier in the program, you talked about the Pioneer shirt, just you know, again, brilliant, just love the direction. In John, I’m gonna pull you in what’s great, you know, when you see people again, we talked about, you know, whatever word you want to use, you know, seasoned, more experienced if we want to use that word mature. But isn’t it fascinating when you find your clients, how they find their niches, they kind of find their crowd, they find their peeps, if you will, who they resonate with, who they connect with, you know, you want to chime in on that a little bit on like, how you see your clients resonate and niche down.

John LaRoy  29:14

Yeah, I mean, you could totally tell RocketBox artistic skill here. I mean, just looking at the collection. A lot of times you’ll see like brands that don’t really kind of, like you just said resonate with people outside of their niche, but like, you have three or four different styles of art in here that are all conveying different messages in different ways. But a very powerful I mean, I haven’t seen some of these yet is the first time and they’re phenomenal. They’re really good. They’re clever, classic, subtle, you know there’s a lot of good stuff in here. But again, like seeing the brand mature and emerge and seeing Brock blacks talent come out is It is really cool to see because you look at like the style of shirt that he’s wearing the freedom fighters, the pioneers, very different than what you’re seeing, like right now on the screen, but also equally as cool, you know, and very, very true to what he’s saying, in his mission and his vision, you know, all that kind of is conveyed through his art, which is, again, the beauty of being in this industry. And you can see the passion for what he does come through in his work. But yeah, it’s the website looks clean. It looks you know, it’s obviously is a representation of the business is your digital storefront and looks clean looks professional. Looks awesome. Again, just great work. Rocklin.

Rockland Page  30:43

Thank you.

Curt Anderson  30:45

Yeah, I, and by the way I do, I’d like to tackle Sure, I might get that one for myself as well, right. I’m not pregnant. I like tacos. I love that. So Rocklyn, what else do you want to anything else that we can share here? As far as your website goes? Anything else that we can point out for friends?

Rockland Page  31:01

Now that’s pretty much Sydney, there’s so much to see even some of these I haven’t even looked at in months, just because I’m running around doing everything. Yeah. Well, that’s still up on the site. Let me take that down. Or you know,

John LaRoy  31:12

but are you able to show that augmented reality on site?

Rockland Page  31:16

Let’s see, if you go to the pen at the freedom fighter shirt thing, we can go to that. Go back one. Go to the adult freedom fighter.

Curt Anderson  31:28

This one right here.

Rockland Page  31:30

The other one? I don’t know if I’ll put a video on that again. So I gotta go back and do a complete audit on my website and make sure everything’s up to date. Yep, goes to the homepage.

Curt Anderson  31:44

This one here?

Rockland Page  31:47

It’s a left yet.

Curt Anderson  31:48

Right there. Okay, there we go.

Rockland Page  31:53

And I think if you go to the images, just scroll down a little bit. You see a video right there, right there.

John LaRoy  32:01

So cool.


Messiah God, and I was born on only 1718 87 in St. Anne’s beige American strength is in my bloodline. Born Frederick Augustus Washington building. My name is Frederick Douglass and I was conceived under the yoke of oppression on a plantation in Talbot County, Maryland, around 1818.


Born as our mentor Ross, my name is Harriet Tubman, and I was born on a slave breeding plantation in Maryland, around 1821. I am the most well known conductor on the Underground Railroad, Milan


as Isabella Mumphrey. My name is Jonah juris, born into slavery in 1797, and Ulster County, New York.


My name is William Edward Bogart, Dubois and I was born on February 23 1868. in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.


My name is Ida B. Wells. And I was born into slavery on July 16 1862, and Holly Springs Mississippi I

Curt Anderson  33:17

absolutely love it. That is brilliant, man. What a what an inspiration that is awesome. Okay. Rock will I’ll stop sharing I’m going to come back to you guys. Dude, I just man What if far exceeded my expectations this was just you’re just such an inspiration. I’m John might run through a wall. You know, John has like, he’s has all these inspiration things on his wall behind them. And you know, we’ve got all this Packer gear, you know, and Vince Lombardi quotes but man talking to you, this was just so inspiring. Rock let’s go here as we start winding down. How about business advice, when you started your entrepreneurial journey, maybe something you want to share with like your younger self or younger entrepreneurs, what was the best business advice that you’ve ever received? Um,

Rockland Page  34:04

there’s so much but it really resonates with me now that I’m really even trying to grasp is it’s hard work on your business, why working in your business? Right now I’m still gonna run around like a chicken with his head cut off. Like if one of my interns show up, I gotta go back and clean screens. I gotta go print films or you know, do all these things. And so it’s hard to know, release, control or relinquish certain duties people. But yeah, I think that’s you know, it, say you know, get a separate bank account from your personal bank account if you’re running a business and I tell people this all the time, go for quality. And, you know, don’t just try to go cheap on you know, when people start their T shirt business or the t shirt journey, allowed them to go to the nearest hobby store, buy the you know, I’m not sure about say the name of the vinyl printer here, but they buy that cheap vinyl printer and they think gonna be able to sell a $50 T shirt. But that so I tell people no go for quality and if you’re not about that T shirt life and you know learning the craft, professionals make it for you. So, yeah, I mean that there’s a few more nuggets right there.

Curt Anderson  35:15

brilliant advice, my friend John parting thoughts, words of wisdom, your takeaways from our conversation with our friend rock today.

John LaRoy  35:23

Yeah, first I just want to say thanks, Rachael. I know short notice. Thanks for jumping on a call. I know you’re extremely busy with the move. And everything else you got going on. Curt as always, great job. And I appreciate everything you’ve been doing for us for the company. iMac, Jason Theresa, everyone at your team over there. And you know, before we jumped on our call, just connecting with Rocklin, you know, because your expertise specifically in the manufacturing niche of helping us tell our story, you’ve been great, and hopefully I’ll be able to help Rockland as well as his journey continues into Indiana. But yeah, parting thoughts. It’s a great day here in Chicago, we only got about three months of weather like this. So we’re going to wrap it up and go outside and enjoy some weather.

Curt Anderson  36:10

That’s right. Enjoy some weather, Rockland, where can people find you we’re gonna put your website we’re gonna put social and the links here. Any parting thoughts that you want to share where people can connect with you?

Rockland Page  36:22

Well, you can definitely find me online at rocket If you’re on Instagram is rocket blog brand. If you’re doing tick tock, we’re just simply Rackable. So those best way to find this and you know, and I let people know when the move is going to happen. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going, but it’s going to happen soon.

Curt Anderson  36:38

Well, you know, no doubt my friend, you’re going to be a massive success. We can also find a Rockland here on LinkedIn for our b2b folks out there. So again, check out his website, buy some shirts, we strongly encourage you to get great, especially the augmented reality, man who just you’ll impress your buddies with those T shirts. So Rockland we wish you massive success. We appreciate you hanging out with us for one second. And John. We’ll be back next week with another wonderful guest.

John LaRoy  37:05

Sounds great. Thanks, guys. Thanks.