Sully's founder Chris Wrenn (left) and (at the time of this photo) Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly (right) cutting the ribbon at the Sully's Brand showroom opening in the Fenway Target store.
It's hard to believe, but Sully's has entered its 24th season!
Over two decades ago, we were the guys peddling anti-Yankees stickers and apparel in the streets of Boston. But it wasn't because we necessarily wanted to talk smack about Boston's rivals, it was driven by our love of music!
When we first headed out to sell our wares from backpacks to the crowds leaving Fenway Park, we did so in an effort to raise funds for the Bridge Nine record label that I had started a few years earlier in 1995. Banks weren't giving loans to teenage punk-music fans looking to release albums, so I had to get creative. My friends and I earned the money that was needed to invest in Bridge Nine's bands by offering merchandise that helped Boston fans speak their minds with bold slogans that you couldn't find in the pro-shops. It paid for studio time, radio campaigns and advertisements for dozens of bands. It also covered plane tickets to send them all over the world, and bought tour vans to keep them on the road playing shows.
Summer of 2000 Fenway vendors photo courtesy of Kate Bowen
After a few years, I realized this wasn't just a chance to help my favorite bands release albums, but it was also a great business opportunity on its own, so the Sully's brand was born. I set out to create a new Boston-centric brand that captured the same outspoken spirit as the punk-rock bands that I loved. It was based on what the fans wanted to say - to their friends AND to their rivals. It was a simple idea. Make the t-shirts that you had to have, couldn't get anywhere else, and everyone asked you about. We've helped Boston fans world-wide literally wear their emotions on their tees. And by doing so, we've helped Bridge Nine release a LOT of great music. Over 300 titles, and almost all of them on vinyl! With bands like New Found Glory, H2O, Dropkick Murphys, Have Heart & more. In the early days it was all about taking shots at our rivals, now we spend most of our time reminding people to BELIEVE IN BOSTON.
We don't want to just make great looking gear, though. While our earliest offerings leaned somewhat negative at times, we wanted to be a positive part of our community. That is why we've chosen to focus on cause marketing initiatives that help reinvest locally through charities, like the Jimmy Fund and the Red Sox Foundation. And we've used our trademarks to help, most notably by raising over $61,000 for the Boston One Fund and almost $36,000 for the Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan Memorial Fund through the sale of special edition "Believe In Boston" t-shirts.
Our passion for all things Boston helps us to create original apparel and merchandise that not only lets you rep your city, but also look great doing it while supporting a vibrant music scene, so thank you for joining us on our journey!
- Chris Wrenn
Sully's Brand Founder
Chris Wrenn making an on-field check presentation to the Red Sox Foundation at Fenway Park