Keller, Texas based Span Tag Clothing has taken their love of tech and integrated it into their need for clothes that fit with a line of 12 big and tall tees that any geek would love. You’ll find shirts in sizes from XL to 6XL for a sweet $20. I talked to Span Tag Co-Chief Ryan Merritt about the company’s origins, plans for the future, and the Big Rad SketchPad. Read our interview and learn how you can win a shirt from Span Tag below!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Ryan Merritt, a self-proclaimed big and tall “geek” with a flair for aesthetics. My love for art came first–I inherited those traits from my father, who’s a professional opera singer. When my first computer serendipitously found me at the age of 13, an affair began that led me to the path I walk today. Now, I’m a web designer, with a degree in Multimedia. The path had a few detours, as I began my higher education with Fine Arts and switched to Graphics along the way, but Multimedia was the best fit, as it combined all of the things about which I’m passionate.
How did Span Tag Clothing come to be?
Perhaps the biggest problem for me, in a non-professional sense, is the lack of clothing options available to me and all of the other big guys out there. The problem is compounded by the fact that we’re charged a premium for clothes that may not be the best fit or style for us. Also, we need more variety. Naturally, I had to be the solution. While attending the Interactive portion of South by Southwest (SXSW) this year, I looked around and thought, “these are my people.” We’re geeky.. sure, but we’re smart, stylish, and nostalgic as well. I felt a sudden wave of urgency come over me at that moment. The same thing happens when I’m on the cusp of figuring something out programmatically. I knew I had to help out us big guys with similar interests.
Sam Oh, is the other co-chief. He’s a coworker who’s attended SXSW with me the past two years, and we have just about everything in common, aside from physical size. He’s a great person and a workhorse, and he happened to be on the receiving end of my brain purge when I came up with the idea to start a clothing line for the big and tall community. While walking around between interactive speakers, we bounced ideas off each other, and the name SPAN Tag Clothing was born. A SPAN tag is an HTML element that allows you to style anything. The word “span” also doubles as a reminder/call to action, as it literally means to extend over or across. It stood for everything we wanted the company to be about.
So we ran with it. Sam had the same wide-eyed optimism and excitement as me when he realized we had a great opportunity and the natural talent to pull this off. The following month, April 2011, our LLC filing was approved, and we launched the site on June 25th.
Tell us about Big Rad Sketchpad – I saw a link to it on your site.
We’ve had a lot of great feedback since our launch, and we feel our customers and fans should drive the business forward–after all, we’re a community–so we decided to give them a behind the scenes view on some ideas we’re considering. That’s where the Big Rad Sketchpad came into play. We want everyone to help determine where SPAN Tag Clothing needs to go, and the BRS is a social tool that encourages feedback and participation on our thoughts and designs.
What are your plans for the future?
Our next steps are exciting as well. We had our first quarterly meeting last month, and we have a lot of great ideas on new lines and products to offer as STC grows over the years: new themes, hoodies, shorts, pants, and even more sophisticated attire. We also plan to start a YouTube channel soon and even a contest, so look for our network to start getting some updates over the coming months.
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We’re giving away a shirt from the Span Tag Clothing collection! Here’s how you enter: