Revenge of the nerds
Anthony Baucum’s imAnerd Clothing has caught on with young people willing to embrace their inner nerd through uniquely designed T-shirts.
Anthony Baucum shows off “Attack of the NerdGlasses,” one of the most popular T-shirt designs in his apparel line, imAnerd Clothing, available at Boomtown Tees in downtown Tulsa.
For Anthony Baucum, nerdiness comes naturally, at least when it comes to designing T-shirts. He’s the owner of imAnerd Clothing, a unique brand of apparel marketed toward young people who enjoy expressing themselves by being — you guessed it — nerdy.
His business, unlike other contemporary outfitters, offers local clothing connoisseurs what he calls a “creative, innovative and fun” line of T-shirts that relates to them personally by conveying a style that’s all their own.
“It’s more about the ‘cool’ nerdiness rather than the ‘nerdy’ nerdiness,” Baucum says. “Essentially, I’m creating a whole new niche, a whole new market, because there’s not really a lot of ‘cool nerdy’ out there.”
Baucum, 20, developed the idea a short six months ago. At the time, he was in college at Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow. Today, he works part time while continuing to attend NSU. He says he wanted a business that reflects his quirky and adventurous personality.
Ultimately, he says that he considers his apparel more of a lifestyle than a brand and strives to encourage those who wear his shirts to articulate themselves through the different designs that are available.
“It’s a lot of fun for me because I can incorporate my personal life into the business,” Baucum says. “The nerdiness that it represents is something that everybody can connect to because everybody has felt like a nerd at some point in their life. It’s expressive, it’s different and overall it has meaning to me and the people who wear it.”
His designs range from simple layouts of the phrase “imAnerd” to eccentric portraits of animals wearing geeky glasses to edgier collages of political and activist statements, all with an emphasis on being nerdy.
Some of his favorite shirts are “Moonlit Owl,” which features a silhouetted image of an owl wearing a bowtie and glasses while perched on a tree limb, and “Nerds = Sexy Squared,” which includes a bolder sketch of giant taped glasses mingled with a collection of small drawn equations.
Baucum’s most popular shirt, “Attack of the NerdGlasses,” is one of his simplest creations. It depicts four sets of different-sized frames aligned down the center of the shirt.
“(It) creates a smile when anyone sees it because the word ‘nerd’ comes to mind instantly,” he says.
Baucum incorporates the glasses into some of his designs as a distinguishable attribute of his brand.
“The glasses add a flavor to the brand that conveys the nerdiness that the graphics can’t do,” he says. “They’re a good marketing tool because people recognize them and people can identify with the nerdiness that the glasses represent.”
Although Baucum initially drafted his designs as a way to illustrate his nerdiness, his main ambition in life is to create a thriving business that provides for his 49-year-old single mother and his two siblings. On March 30, he held a launch party at The Body Electric — A Tee Clothier on Cherry Street to promote imAnerd Clothing and raise funds for The Salvation Army, with 10 percent of the profits benefiting single mothers in need.
“I don’t want her (my mom) working as much as she’s worked her whole life,” Baucum says. “I don’t know how she did it; I’m just amazed.
“One of my biggest goals is to really give her a great life and buy her a house in cash … and she can really focus on being able to do stuff she likes.”
Baucum sells his T-shirts at Boomtown Tees downtown for $20 each and online at www.imanerdclothing.com, where prices generally range from $24 to $28. He also offers patrons a pair of large, multicolored “NerdGlasses” free with every online order.
Cheryl Quetone manages Boomtown Tees, which started carrying Baucum’s brand in February. She says she has enjoyed seeing his styles become successful.
“ImAnerd is a fun little brand that fits right in our fun little store,” Quetone says. “When you wear a shirt that says ‘imAnerd’ right on the front, you’re telling the world a little bit about yourself, and I think that’s what’s so fun about the shirts. We plan on selling imAnerd Clothing for quite some time and are excited to see what Anthony comes up with next.”
Baucum is marketing his T-shirt designs to a variety of local and statewide retailers and aims to see his brand sell in a national retailer by the end of 2012.