Meet George from Believe Merch!

Published On December 23, 2013 | By Matt Gondek | Community

Believe3Believe Merch! is a Pittsburgh-bred clothing company for sports lovers. They’re a mash up of pop culture and sports heroes with a black & gold color scheme. Given the sheer number of products, and how often I see their tees in the wild, I figured they were ran by a large group. I was surprised to learn it’s all just one guy. George.

I recently met with George and had a discussion about the brand and how it got started. George is a great example of how much one can do when they work hard.

George started illustrating commercially in his 20s. He began with skateboard decks but quickly moved onto tees once others discovered his skills. He spent most of the 90s living and working in California for ABC skateboards.

In 2000, he moved back to Pittsburgh to be closer to family and began working at a print shop. It’s there that the first Believe Merch tee was born.

Mike Tomlin had just started coaching for the Steelers. One of George’s friends jokingly referred to Tomlin as the messiah. George took Tomlin’s head and put it on the body of Jesus with the words “Saint Tomlin” below it. He printed a one-off tee for himself, but it quickly began getting attention as he wore it around town. That’s when George knew he was onto something. He made more.Believe2

From that one tee design, Believe Merch! has grown to a roster of about 45 tees, with hats and jackets on the way. The designs cover a wide range of topics – like splicing Batman’s Bane character with the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, to a gold Kool-Aid man filled with beer.

When Believe Merch started, George hit Pittsburgh’s sports message boards hard to interact with fans and spread his message. Slowly built from word of mouth, Believe has grown to a well known brand here in Pittsburgh. You’d be hard pressed to go to any sporing event and not see at least guy or girl wearing one of the tees.

George keeps the brand’s new release schedule pretty open. New tees are released whenever a great idea comes to mind. Keeping no set schedule allows George to always produce the best products that don’t feel rushed.

You can learn more about Believe Merch! on their website at BelieveMerch.com. While you’re there, be sure to check out the new tee I helped create called The Two Headed Monster.

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Matt Gondek is an illustrator & writer from Pittsburgh. You can see illustration portfolio at MattGondek.com. He can be reached on twitter.

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