While the internet was quick to transform Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” into tongue-in-cheek sayings and comical memes, one company is trying to turn it into a quick buck.
Great Again Gear, launched in early June, sells an array of hats with modified versions of the phrase, including its top selling “Make Montauk Great Again” and “Make Kanye Great Again.” The concept is the brainchild of Avery Andon, founder of Andon Equities and manager of street artist Alec Monopoly by day, who claims to have come up with the idea in early June and made it a reality within a week. It has since taken off on Instagram — and is already making money, grossing more than $5,000 in two weeks and enough for Andon to recoup his investment in the first five days. As opportunistic as it is successful, the venture riffs on pre-existing internet phenomena, itself short of shelf life.
Andon explained that the idea for the hats started as “a novelty for places that are already great.” Buzz over the gear grew when YouTube personality Casey Neistat, who has more than 3.5 million followers, wore one of the hats in a recent video.
The three-person team is based in L.A. where they’re looking to expand into t-shirts and hoodies, and recently expanded to include hats with statements like “Make America Gay Again,” directly borrowing from a recently launched American Apparel campaign.
Andon noted the company has no affiliation with Donald Trump, despite the obvious reference to his campaign slogan. The inherent Trump invocation, however, has led to some pointed letters, primarily from Trump opponents who expressed concern that it makes light of gay rights or pokes fun at Kanye West.
“It’s been such an emotional campaign, I think that any association with Trump will offend those that don’t like him,” Andon said. “It’s something that I was concerned with off the bat when we started doing marketing ads.”
Given the geographically specific appeal of the hats — Montauk, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Nantucket are among the “Make [blank] Great” hats he’s produced — Andon has advertised regionally on social media, which has been particularly effective in spreading the word. He also explored different forms of sponsored posts, experimenting with different visual backdrops including a beach concept for the “Make Beverly Hills Great Again” hat. Great Again Gear has been particularly popular among college students and recent graduates and currently has more than 5,000 followers on Instagram.
Though the company currently conducts sales exclusively online, next week it will begin selling at select boutiques in the Hamptons in response to repeated requests from local shops to merchandise the hats. Though Andon is doubtful the slogan has any legs beyond the presidential election, he already has ideas for other custom offerings. Among them a prospective apparel company called “What Would Khaled Do?” in reference to DJ Khaled who exploded in fame last winter through his prolific Snapchat account.
“Ultimately our plan is to continue building the brand, and I think we have a pretty good sense of who our consumers and demographics are,” Andon said. “We want to introduce other fun novelties.”