Totally Good Time did not start out the way you see it today. There were a lot of left turns and a lot of trial and error to push TGT into the potential I knew was there.
Oh, and Totally Good Time is short for Kyle Menard. Hi. It me.
In late 2014, I moved from the east coast to the west coast with nothing to my name. Working at jobs that did not matter and for employers who did not see the potential I knew I possessed. I started brainstorming what business I could pursue and what I could do as I was sending in resumes for careers I did not want. I knew I enjoyed being creative and I knew I enjoyed business. Suddenly, I found myself making greeting cards. Greeting cards geared towards an LGBTQ audience. But after several weeks (I knew early on) it just wasn't the right fit for me.
Then, several months later, I started taking the same ideas from the greeting cards and incorporating them onto tote bags and tees. I opened an Etsy shop with my screen-printed totes. Keep in mind I had no idea how to screen print. I had no idea how to get the blank totes. I had no idea how to start an Etsy business and ship orders. But "no" was not an option. So, I figured out how and did it. All of it.
In March of 2015 I asked my friend Steph if I could take a picture of her wearing my new design, "What Would Mindy Do?" in honor of Mindy Kaling. Mindy's show, "The Mindy Project" was on Fox (at the time) and I was waist deep in love with her and her character, Mindy Lahiri. I posted the picture of Steph on the TGT Instagram. Then, it all started happening.
I woke up the next morning, after posting the picture the night before, to several texts with more than several exclamation points from my friend, Katie. Katie exclaimed, "Kyle! Mindy Kaling reposted your t shirt on Instagram!!!" Katie sent several texts as I hyperventilated, still not out of bed, next to my dog, Tobi. I checked my Etsy and there were many orders for this t-shirt that I had no idea how to reproduce. But wow was I excited.
Somehow, some way, I managed to figure it all out. My tiny San Diego bungalow was covered in Mindy Kaling tees. Here I am, screen printing a tee here and a tee there and waiting for them to dry. As they dried, I let my mind wander. If I take the money I made from the What Would Mindy Do tees and invest in some materials, could I turn this into a full time business? So, I did it.
My Esty shop was thriving as graphic tees were not quite everywhere on everyone like you see them today. I felt ahead of the trend and I made another tee that was a huge hit, Mulder It's Me. The tee was based off “The X-Files” character Dana Scully. Everything changed in the blink of an eye. I wasn't struggling and I was living. However, there was still a lot to learn.
One thing I didn't quite understand was how easy Etsy could take away your business if you violated their rules. I had violated their rules several times by producing garments that I didn't even realize were in violation. You get a vague email from Esty with vague explanation and you think everything is okay once you take that listing down. One year later, in mid-2016, and I went to click "log in" to my Esty store and it was gone. No log in for me. I panicked. I Googled "online retail business" and discovered Shopify. I set up a Shopify store as soon as the last "o" in "oh nooooo" left my mouth. I added what I could add to my new store and did what I could do to try and salvage any essence of TGT from Etsy.
From 2016 to about 18 months later was a bit of a rough patch. I was constantly working to clean up my shop, edit my shop, add new things, and create an overall aesthetic for my brand. I did not give up, I kept going. I believed what I had to offer was not being offered anywhere else and most certainly not the way I was offering it. This is where the TGT tag line changed from "good times ahead" to "pop culture, but make it fashion!"
During this time, I moved back east to New York and worked at balancing TGT's overall aesthetic and offerings. I was second-guessing everything and considered taking down one of the sweatshirts I offered based on the HBO show, "Big Little Lies," because it never sold. I had it on social media, I worked on SEO for that piece, and I made sure I could get it as seen as possible. I thought it was clever, I believed in it. Then, one Sunday morning, as I was on vacation in my old town of San Diego, I received an email.
The email was from the office of Reese Witherspoon and she loved my Big Little Lies sweatshirt and wanted to purchase some. There is no way to properly explain how that felt to receive that email. Reese wanted the sweatshirts ASAP. I was leaving back home for New York on Wednesday.
The next day, Monday, I drove up to LA. I went and got the supplies I needed and packed them into my suitcase. The following day, Tuesday, I got back to New York City. I took the air train to the subway and then walked home. That afternoon, I sewed my TGT tags in, I worked on those sweatshirts and I packed them. I ran to the last open UPS in Brooklyn and dropped them off at 7:59PM, one minute before closing.
Reese Witherspoon got the sweatshirts. She wore the sweatshirt. She gifted the sweatshirt. Nicole Kidman then wore the sweatshirt. Then months later, her husband, also known as Keith Urban wore her sweatshirt. Like, what.
It has been an unbelievable ride. There's been other wins that my pop culture and admiration loving mind can't believe. Throughout all of this I continue to curate what TGT is offering and come up with new ideas from my own mind. My goal has been to constantly curate and innovate. I always ask myself, "would I wear this?"
It's still me coming up with the idea, creating the design, sourcing the materials, deciding on the color, manufacturing the garment, packing up your order, and walking to the post office to ship it out. It's still me replying to your email, updating social media, creating marketing initiatives, working at advertising, and learning how to run a business.
Totally Good Time started out as a shop that was like party, a literal totally good time. Since then, it's changed. It's about feeling good the way you are right now. I want you to feel good, as you are, right now. I want you to do it for you. I want you to let go. I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to know that failures and rock bottom can lead to great wins and rising to the top. Because some people believed in me and I'm still here doing what I love. All in the name of Totally Good Time.
Pop Culture, But Make It Fashion!
Totally Good Time, founded and run by Kyle Menard, is a street wear shop dedicated to inspiring shoppers through nostalgia, referential phrases and good will. TGT was founded in 2015 in a small space in San Diego, California and is now based in an equally small space in upstate New York. Kyle designs, creates, makes, ships and handles every aspect of the production within TGT. He also handles all social media, marketing, copy, and outreach initiatives which has given hundreds of dollars to charities such as RAINN and The Humane Society.
The shop features handmade inclusive apparel, accessories, and more for everyone. An extra special focus is placed on thoughtfully creating original apparel and accessories you can’t find anywhere else and focusing around the pillars of pop culture, living the best life, introverts and equality. Not only does this focus inspire to keep creating, but alongside the Totally Good Time consumer, it’s what drives me, motivates me, and moves me.