The idea for The Normal Brand came from Sansone’s discontent with popular regional brands such as the East Coast-inspired Vineyard Vines, Southern Tide, and West Coast-based Johnnie-O.
“They are all brands that are made to represent a different lifestyle that I didn’t relate to,” said Sansone, ’06. “I wanted something more personal, more normal to me.”
Sansone started out making a few t-shirts, which he called ‘normal shirts.’ People’s warm reception and encouragement prompted Sansone to turn the idea into a company. In March, he put his story onto a website and sold his first run of hats embroidered with a bear logo inspired by Missouri’s flag.
“We sold out immediately and kept selling out,” said Sansone.
The Normal Brand’s largest marketing tool is social media. In about six months, The Normal Brand’s Instagram account has acquired nearly 2,000 followers. St. Louis-native actors and professional athletes have posted pictures in their Normal Brand gear using the hashtag “#mynormalbrand.”
“We are able to give a 360 degree view of the company from the story to the lifestyle to the product,” said Sansone of The Normal Brand’s social media presence. “It’s the best way we know how to tell our story.”
Sansone has been working hard to expand The Normal Brand’s products. Since March, he has added t-shirts and polo shirts to the website, and just recently has received shipments of his first full line of clothing for this fall. The fall lineup will include polos, henleys, button downs, and even backpacks.
Over the summer, Sansone took The Normal Brand to the Chicago Collective, a large trade show that attracts hundreds of retailers. Despite the clothing market being notoriously competitive to break into, The Normal Brand stood out.
“We were called the most impressive brand at the show and we got into retailers throughout the country during this first show, which is almost unheard of,” said Sansone. “Buyer after buyer couldn’t believe how we nailed the brand and the quality with our price point.”
What’s next for the growing company? Sansone has begun a partnership with the St. Louis Blues to produce co-branded apparel. Normal Brand clothing featuring the Blues logo will be sold at the Scottrade Center this season.