The name says it all when it comes to the offerings of Animals With Hats, a company created by RIT alumnus Matt Wolff. Located in the Rochester area, the company designs, creates and sells t-shirts with images of animals wearing hats of various sorts. Wolff is the first to admit that the concept of online t-shirt sales is nothing new, but the images featured on Animals With Hats merchandise are goofy, loveable and distinct.
Wolff is adamant that the message and lifestyle of a brand, like Animals With Hats, can represent a wider community. In this regard, he has pledged to donate 10 percent of the proceeds to animal shelters. Along those same lines, Animals With Hats sponsors various athletes who choose to “express him or herself in a positive manner.” Wolff elaborates, saying that he loves the lifestyle of those involved with action sports such as mountain biking and motocross, and he wants to be able to associate his brand with that active community.
Art, Wolff says, has always been a hobby. The company started with some of the sketches Wolff drew of his basset hound, Kirby. The dog would often be matched up with imagery including shoes, clothing and at times, hats. Wolff says, “I always loved the clothing industry, in terms of creating my own brand … [Animals With Hats] is all about representing a positive lifestyle, getting a good laugh and just having fun.” Thus was born the logo and inspiration for the designs and images to come.
Wolff states, “I really took all the things I learned and did at RIT and brought it together when I started this company,” which began as an independent study during his final quarter at RIT last spring. Wolff not only built the website on his own, but also manages all of the finances and orders for the company, as well the code that runs the backend of both the website and ecommerce storefront. The artwork for all of the shirts is now handled by RIT student and Illustration major Emily Gage.
Much more than just a monetary venture, Wolff really finds a lot to love in the expression of his own brand and the entrepreneurial spirit of it all. “It’s something I’m really proud to be a part of — it represents the creativity that has always been a part of my life.”
Animals With Hats can be found at www.animalswithhats.com.
Editor’s Note: Emily Gage is an illustrator currently employed by the Reporter