Behind each GovX brand, there’s a story. Today we’re launching our new Brands on Point series by looking at a GovX member favorite: 7.62 Design. Creators of military-inspired T-shirt designs that celebrate the warrior ethos, 7.62 Design’s artists dedicate themselves to honoring an often overlooked community. We sat down with founder Jeff Scholz, an eight-year Marine Corps veteran for a chat about a brand that aims to—among other things—redirect the public focus from celebrities and sports stars to the people who REALLY make a difference.
On serving in the United States Marine Corps.
I was always interested in the military as a kid, especially the special operations community. Back then it was a lot more in the shadows, a lot less public and high-profile than what you see today. I remember being in my USMC recruiter’s office (dumb luck, he was a Force Recon guy), and seeing a photo of a Force Reconnaissance Marine in a swamp with a massive ruck and an Uzi slung to his side, shooting an azimuth from his lensatic compass—this was in the mid 80s, mind you—and I remember saying “THAT’S what I want to do.” I started out with 2nd Recon Battalion and ultimately achieved my goals with 1st Force Recon based at Camp Pendleton. I served from ‘85 to ‘93, highlighted by my time with two phenomenal platoons during and after Gulf War One.
Crowdfunding? What’s that? I started 7.62 Design in 1997 with just a $10,000 loan from my grandmother — the only one who believed in my crazy idea!
The inspiration behind 7.62 Design.
During my entire time on active duty I never wore a ‘moto’ T-shirt. I knew I was a Marine and I didn’t need to prove it. With 7.62 Design, I wasn’t interested in creating something individually boastful, as much as I wanted to put an emphasis on the military community as a whole (branch, unit or MOS).
I saw a void that was begging to be filled. There was a lot of cheap, childish, poorly done stuff that didn’t remotely reflect the actual mindset and values of our community. Since childhood, I was always interested in design and illustration and I’d done some simple shirts for my platoon brothers, and so it just evolved from there.
I started 7.62 Design in 1997 with only a $10,000 loan from my grandmother (after successfully peddling my crazy idea to her), repaid her early and the rest is history. We began with simple line sheets, mailing loads of samples, doing trade shows and built up a loyal wholesale customer base. It just got bigger and bigger and got to the point where we are today.
Putting the focus on the real heroes.
Our creative direction is to avoid a tacky, first person ‘me, me, me’ approach and instead emphasize the community overall. We want to tap into the mindset of those who don’t buy into the celebrity worship culture and remind Americans who our nation’s unsung, true heroes are.
Those 11 warriors who died in that awful Blackhawk crash off the Florida coast? Few Americans will ever know their names, but they’ve no problem remembering the jersey numbers of a mob of overpaid goons, safely chasing an orange ball up and down a wooden court.
I see a slumping, distracted society that doesn’t seem to care about the people who really matter. Take a look at what happened just last month: Those 11 warriors who died in that awful Blackhawk crash off the Florida coast? Few Americans will ever know their names, but they’ve no problem remembering the jersey numbers of a mob of overpaid goons, safely chasing an orange ball up and down a wooden court. I think that most Americans don’t have their eyes on the things which really matter. They don’t see that the world is on fire right now, and they don’t stop to value the people who are actually doing something about it. The audience we proudly cater to are the people who dedicate their lives to our country and community. In my eyes, these are the men and women we should be idolizing, not sports stars. Not celebrities. These folks are the true heroes, and I think our brand represents that mindset.
Also, we’re not focused solely on the top-tier guys and the special operators. That lance corporal with 100lbs of infantryman’s kit on his back? He is our hero. What he goes through, especially if he’s seen combat, is some enormously tough stuff. Unfortunately, these people don’t get much notoriety. My goal was to give back to those warriors and raise awareness of the contributions they make.
That said, at the end of the day, it’s really just T-shirts. We’re not finding a cure for cancer or building a next-generation space shuttle. What we present is just a simple but important message; a celebration of the warrior spirit and an emphasis on those who are the true heroes.
Authenticity is crucial.
Although we obsess on sharp designs and top quality merchandise, getting the story right is key. This community is incredibly detail oriented and prideful about what they do. If there’s even a slight goof on a design we’re going to get thrashed! Each design is created with the utmost care and attention to detail because we know our audience deserves that effort. Even our humorous designs must contain the proper content to accurately reflect the subject’s theme.
What’s it like working in the 7.62 office?
It’s a lot of fun. We’ve got a great team and a highly energetic working atmosphere. With the kind of volume and work we do, people think we’re bigger than we are, but we’re a team of only six highly motivated Americans with a bold idea and we’re running with it!
Now you know the mission and the motivation behind one of GovX's favorite brands! Head over to 7.62 Design and browse their full collection of warrior-inspired shirts.