Corona del Mar High School juniors Andrew Boukather and Cole Friedman used to shop at Jack’s Surfshop in Corona del Mar Plaza.
This summer, the friends and business partners are selling a line of shirts from their newly launched Spruce Clothing company at their favorite local shop.
“Last year, we were dreaming about doing this,” Boukather said. “It’s really sweet. It’s so cool.”
Boukather of Big Canyon and Friedman of Balboa Island have been friends since pre-kindergarten and first talked about creating a surf/skate clothing line last year. Both students are interested in art, from SoCal street art to poster art of the 1950s. And Friedman had designed and produced a clothing line when he was in fourth grade — although he didn’t follow through after his initial production, he said.
“If you want to do it, let’s do it legit,” Boukather said that Friedman told him last summer. Friedman, who is a graphic artist who has won design awards and had two summer internships at surf/skate labels, began working on designs. Boukather took over the business side of things, including launching a website and social media campaign.
They selected four designs, selected fabrics and found a manufacturer in Irvine to produce a line of t-shirts this spring. Then they gave a few shirts to friends, and Spruce Clothing was officially launched.
“Someone would see the shirt and ask where to get it, and I’d sell them one,” Friedman said.
One person who ended up with a shirt happened to work at Jack’s.
“She wore it to work, and someone said, ‘It’s a really cool shirt — where did you get that?’” Friedman said. Eventually, a manager called them and asked for a meeting.
“I texted and called (Boukather) about 1,000 times,” he said. “Our end goal was just to get into Jack’s. We can’t believe we’re already in there. It’s a sick place to shop. That’s like the only place to shop.”
The shirts sell for $20 apiece and are basic colors — black, gray, white and blue — with stylized logos and artwork. Employees said the shirts were selling well.
The team already is working on new designs, and eventually they hope to sell sweatshirts, hats and beanies.
Boukather and Friedman say they spend an hour or two a day on Spruce Clothing, so it doesn’t interfere with schoolwork.
“We’re so happy we did this,” Boukather said. “It’s so much fun. We’re so into it.”