2017 Hot List: Matthew Boelk

"No day is ever boring."

Our annual picks of the industry’s rising stars – a brave, bold group that’s trailblazing a unique path to success.

Matthew Boelk

Groceries Apparel (asi/58273)

There are entrepreneurs, and then there are entrepreneurs like Matthew Boelk. In the early days of his company, he’d joke whether to buy fabric or groceries – hence the firm’s name: Groceries Apparel (asi/58273). “We’re not backed by any conglomerates. We thrive on word-of-mouth,” he says. “We own our factory in Los Angeles. We’re not trying to be Gildan – we’re more on the premium side of the promo industry.”

Seeing a “hole” in the market, Boelk founded Groceries Apparel in 2010. He thought Groceries could be the one to offer organic, blank apparel that was made in the USA. Today, the Groceries line is sold at retail in top boutiques – think stores like South Moon Under – and at wholesale through the promo products market. “The same quality shirts that sell for $40 or more in stores are the ones we offer to distributors,” Boelk says. “Everything is garment-dyed, ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and produced locally. We want to partner with brands that believe in the same things we do.”

While Boelk says his company is growing and sales are good, he’s not handing off his baby to others. He’s still involved in pitches, product development and most other details in manufacturing. “No day is ever boring,” he says.

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