Creativity knows no limits — not race, creed or gender. It doesn’t necessarily just come with age either. It can be found in young people. In fact, they are often the ones who find sparks of inspiration.
Case in point, Rett Thompson. The 17-year-old, Frederica Academy student just happened to find his spark through something that he loved. An avid hunter and outdoorsman, Rett also enjoys showcasing his interests through decals on his truck, usually those are hunting or fishing themed.
“I’ve always been a ‘decal guy.’ I always wanted the coolest decals that no one else had for my truck,” he said.
A few months ago, Rett had an opportunity to create his own logo and brand.
“I was talking to my friend, ‘Byrd,’ (Phillip Kennedy). I had just killed a deer and I was trying to think of a good Instagram caption for a photo,” he said. “So we were talking about that.”
The idea they came up with would, in effect, change their lives.
“I wrote Coastal Assassin,” Rett recalled of the post. “That was just the thing that came to mind. Then I started putting together a little logo on my computer for a decal.”
That was the beginning of what would be come a full fledged business and social media empire.
Rett teamed up with his friends, including Phillip who currently attends Georgia Southern in Statesboro, to help figure out how to best share the logo. At first, it was just something kept between the friends. Rett solicited help from connections he had to help clean up the look of the logo. He got friends to help him print the decal image at an affordable price.
One of those whose help he enlisted was Luckett McKeown, 18, another Frederica Academy student.
“I told some friends, like Luckett, about it and they said you should make some hats too,” he said. “So I did but I also changed the name to Southern Assassins because it was broader.”
He enlisted Luckett and some other friends to come onboard as the pro team. They were given items to help promote the brand.
“We all go all over the country to hunt, not always together, so I asked that they just wear my stuff around,” Rett said.
To say it’s been well received is a huge understatement. Since mid- October when the first post made an appearance, the account has garnered nearly 15,000 followers. It’s popularity is spreading beyond the web, as well.
“I got a couple of guys in Oklahoma. Aaron Davis and Matthew Looney ... one is a photographer and one is a professional bass fisher. They have some of my stuff and represent me out there,” Rett said. “They are both big names so they spread my stuff around.”
Rett’s close friends, like Luckett, always had faith in him, but even they were surprised by the reach the company has had.
“You see people all the time on Instagram selling shirts and hats ... and they have all of these followers. So when he told me he was going to do this I thought it was great but I never thought it would blow up the way it has,” Luckett said.
Rett was equally surprised.
“I never thought it would get this big ... ever. It’s just really cool that there are almost 15,000 people who’ve seen what we’re doing and who like what we’ve created,” he said.
And while the boys are only in high school, they aren’t planning on stopping. Both hope to take the brand to college, possibly at Georgia Southern.
But they aren’t waiting around. Rett and his team are already exploring other options to grow the business. They’ve teamed up with Carrot Sticks, a bass fish and rod company, as well as two others to help further the reach. They have also connected with Custom LEDs to join forces.
“We’re getting partnerships with bigger companies,” he said. “We also plan to go to the Down on the Farm Tour, which is a country music concert, a truck meet and archery show. The manager of that tour called me and asked if I could send some hats because he wants the artist that he manages to wear my stuff. He also wants me to have a booth at the show, which is in Decatur, Ala.”
While he doesn’t know what the future holds, Rett said he’s already learned a great deal about the inner workings of a business.
“I’ve learned it’s stressful a lot of times. Finances can get stressful but it’s good to learn now. I know about keeping a book of all your sales and registering your business,” he said.
The group has learned those real world techniques from those in the industry. And luckily those experts were right at home — literally.
“Both my parents own their own business. They own Face to Face Framing. And Rett is over at our house all the time, we’re always trying to figure out how to get the best shipping and how to get things the cheapest rate but still have a good quality,” Luckett said.
“They helped me out a lot. And so have my parents, they’ve been great,” Rett added.
With a solid support team, Rett is optimistic about the future of Southern Assassin. His website, www.Southernassassin.com, is up and running. Their social media accounts are spreading the message daily.
“It’s really exciting,” Rett said with a smile.
Coastal People appears Tuesdays. Contact Lindsey Adkison at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 265-8320, ext. 346 to suggest a person for a column.