2021 T-shirt Design
Black Octopus Mercantile
I’m Missy Johnson the creative juice behind Black Octopus!
Black Octopus Mercantile was hatched in December 2017. But our history is a little longer than that. We actually started out by calling ourselves “Park Circle Local Brand”. It was based on the community where we lived in North Charleston, South Carolina.
We really have to thank a loan counselor for helping us to bring BOM to life. When we were applying for a business loan to help build this business of ours, he told us that Park Circle Local Brand was too much of a niche market and that he couldn’t invest in it because it couldn’t be sold in other areas. He suggested a new name and building a new brand that could be sold anywhere.
From there, and after lots of scribbles and talking with family/friends, we came up with the official name of Black Octopus Mercantile. The loan counselor told us early on that a brand should have a catchy title and a cool story behind it. Here’s ours. “Black” comes from the ink of the first Park Circle Local Brand tee we ever printed, “Octopus” is in honor of my husband’s Navy Service and his help in building BOM, and “Mercantile” because there is a retro-flavor to our design work. Plus, it sounded kinda old school surfy.
Before going out on my own, I was earning my living as a professional graphic designer and had been doing so since 1987. I graduated from college in Charleston with a degree in Fine Art with minors in Graphic Design and Illustration. I’ve worked for several different apparel and promotional companies. I was fortunate enough to work on some pretty cool accounts; Margaritaville, Caesars Palace, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Charleston Beer Fest, Gravity Graphics, Bahamas Billfish Tournament Series, Blessing of the Fleet, Taste of Charleston, local restaurants, overseas clients, and so many more. I earned my chops with some of the big guys!
Some of the things I’m most proud of is that my work has been used as the official tee and design for numerous local and national events and national resort wear / apparel lines. And even more super cool is that my designs are being shown on Netflix’s hit tv show, Outer Banks (OBX) filmed in Charleston. I’ve also won some accolades over the years, like a Charleston Ad Federation Gold Addy. You can see our stickers and merch on the popular Netflix tv show OBX that films in Charleston and we’ve been humbled to see musician Garth Brooks wearing our tees.
Because I worked as a staff designer behind the scenes, many people don’t know me, but they probably have something I designed in their closet.
If you want some digs in your closet, our online shop is always open. And, if you’re local to Charleston, South Carolina, you can shop with us at The Station at Park Circle, too.