Photography of myself with photographer Richard Perez
Why do people love Wisconsin Skinny?
I get asked probably 5 times a day what "Wisconsin Skinny" means. Many times I wish it was just a name brand that meant nothing so I could just not tell the story over and over, but instead I give the 1 minute story.....I came up with the name,Wisconsin Skinny, in a bar describing Midwest women.I thought it was cool and here we are,but in reality it's many years of a twisting turning life to get where we are today. So here it is!
2004 - Being a little odd in my own way I constantly felt I was ahead of the game,but having crazy ADD I guess I never did anything about it. I was always thinking of cool ideas for businesses but never following through and then just to see someone "invent" this idea years later was frustrating. Well one day I came up with the word "Wisconsin Skinny". It was a term I used for Midwest women that had what Maria de Medeiros character in "Pulp Fiction" called a bit of a tummy, like Madonna did in "Lucky Star" It's the look of a woman with real curves, nothing fake about it. It's a gorgeous look. So after that I just continued to use this term.
2005 - So now is the twist in my future.... After seeing my artwork online a business man from LA calls me and asked if I would draw designs for a clothing line he was looking to start up. Mainly tattoo related theme, so in a week I come up with 30 totally different ideas. My designs range from Japanese, traditional and skull designs. After a couple weeks he decides to go a different route. All I could think of was " Damn" I have some cool designs and he's going to go a wimpy cookie cutter route!" I was annoyed and just threw my artwork in a pile.
Then one day I was out with my friend Mason Williams ,who is an incredible tattoo artist in his own right. having a couple beers. We started talking about women and what we considered attractive. That's when I dropped the "Wisconsin Skinny" bomb. He loved it! When he went back to Cincinnati he told his friend Kore Flatmo who next thing I knew started saying it to people on the west coast. Long paragraph short, after doing a guest spot in Seattle. One of the artist told me she was "Wisconsin Skinny" She heard it through Kore.. Oh shit I better do something otherwise someones going to take his idea and make millions!
Kyleigh Jane, photography Shandra Kerr
2006-2007 Around this time I opened my own tattoo shop and started printing neck line "Wisconsin Skinny" shirts for my friends and tattoo shows. They went pretty fast and I thought maybe I'm on to something. Ricks International Tattoo convention was in 2007 and I figured that would be my feeler out show. Busting out the designs from the previous LA story,I did a small very last minute run of hoodies and shirts. My problem was once I printed the shirts the week before,people bought them up as soon as they got to my shop! So I actually printed the shirts that morning of the show! The show was a huge success!
2008 - Now I needed to get my act together, I had a product people loved just needed to get a great product out there! I met a wonderful women named Julia Fiske who owns Save the TaTas clothing whom I designed temporary tattoos for. I'm a huge fan of Johnny Earle / Johnny Cupcakes and he was nice enough to give me a couple good tips, but Julia was the first person to open up to me and shed some light on this business. Guiding me in the right direction.
Bernie Dexter/photo by Levi Dexter
So with a Myspace account and some photos of my friend's Amy and Veronica, I plunged into the world of promoting my product. Somehow through a friend, I got vintage model Bernie Dexter to do a shoot for me and next thing you know everyone from the hot rod to rock-a-billy crowd wanted to buy Wisconsin Skinny Clothing!
About this time I closed the doors to my tattoo shop, moving back to Madison,WI focusing more on Wisconsin Skinny. With people constantly asking me where they can buy I finally found someone to make my website. Early 2008 Wisconsin Skinny Clothing was online! With a couple different designs, this was my start.
2010 - Now I could babble on forever, but honestly til now it's been traveling to shows like Viva Las Vegas, Lone Star Round up in Austin TX, Hunnert Car pileup in IL and many local shows getting the name out. Advertising in Magazines like Garage Magazine (thanks Red Dodge for tid bits of wisdom when I asked!) , Gearhead magazine for keeping on me when I first started and Rock-a-billy Magazine. Savage magazine for going out on the limb and do a killer 2 page spread on someone they just met and Madison Magazine for a nice little blurb that made people in my city finally look at me. Pat O'malley and the Chosen Few crew for letting me setup a booth at The Madtown Throwdow MMA fights.
I'm now building a bigger, better website and always keeping things fresh. Always working on getting into as many stores as I can so to make it easier for Skinny fans to get fun clothing. So if you want Wisconsin Skinny in your town, start harassing some stores!
As I always say... "Wisconsin Skinny is about good ole fashion pride, believing in yourself and what you stand for. When did being different become a bad thing?"
Thanks to so many people that have made this possible, it's a long, long list of good people!