Since high school, Andrew Tew yearned of the day when he would sell his own line of custom-designed T-shirts.
At a glance
COMPANY: Flooded Streets LLC
OWNER: Andrew Robinson Tew
EDUCATION: Clemson University, 2009, bachelor’s degree in English
DAY JOB: Litton Entertainment, Mount Pleasant, as a business development associate
He even decided the name for his future company would be “843,” after the local telephone area code.
Tew never forgot about his idea, not through college or a stint working on a tugboat out of New Orleans for a year after he graduated from Clemson University.
While going up and down the Mississippi River, a new name for the business came to him: Flooded Streets.
Named after his experiences (and that of countless others in Charleston) of waterlogged roads after heavy downpours while growing up in the low-lying Holy City, Flooded Streets resonated with him. So he jotted it down in a journal and kept coming back to it.
“It doesn’t get much more Charleston than Flooded Streets,” he said of the company name.
After a year in Louisiana, he returned to Charleston, landed a job with TV syndicator Litton Entertainment in Mount Pleasant and started thinking about designs to go on T-shirts.
Earlier this year, Tew decided it was time to weave his dream.
He registered his company in March with the South Carolina secretary of state and ordered 135 blank T-shirts in several sizes. His parents’ dining room in Mount Pleasant became a makeshift warehouse.
“They weren’t too excited about that,” he said.
Tew wanted images that harkened back to another time in Charleston. He remembered the image of the Hat Man on the side of a building at Broad and Church streets.
He entrusted a graphic designer to transform the image to that of a man wearing rubber boots and holding an opened umbrella.
Tew also found an old logo of an anchor with the words “In Defense of Charleston,” a throwback to the days when the region boasted a thriving Navy base and shipyard.
In addition, he discovered an old Woolworth’s luncheonette sign, a shop that once graced King Street until it closed in 1997 after 95 years.
Those three designs were incorporated onto T-shirts. Tew launched his online business June 1, with T-shirts selling for $25 a pop plus tax and shipping. A free sticker of either the “Hat Man” or the “In Defense of Charleston” symbols is included with each order.
Sales from the first two weeks were so good, he placed orders for more T-shirts. By this fall, two or three new designs will be introduced. He’s staying mum on what they are until they are released.
Most of his sales have been local, but word is spreading out of town, too, as friends tell other friends about the T-shirts.
“It’s been rewarding getting orders from California,” he said. “There have been some random orders, too.”
Tew eventually wants to expand his clothing line, offering hoodies, hats and maybe even socks.
If you look online, he hasn’t hired chiseled models to show off his wares. They are friends of his who are doing it to help him get started.
Tew doesn’t see the side business taking over his full-time job working on promotional campaigns for Litton’s website and digital business, but he’s happy to finally get his dream on the racks, even if his line is not in any stores yet.
“It’s not making boatloads of money,” he said. “But it’s a little hobby. I have really enjoyed it.”
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.
Flooded Streets takes its name from Charleston’s infamous flooding after heavy downpours.×
The Hat Man image on the side of a building at Church and Broad streets has been transformed into one of the designs on Andrew Tew’s online T-shirt business, Flooded Streets.×
Andrew Tew has launched an online T-shirt business called Flooded Streets out of his downtown Charleston apartment, Monday August 5, 2013. Grace Beahm/Staff×