By Griffin Callaghan, Staff Writer, May 2020
Following the closing of school, More Than Different (MTD) has seen an increase in productivity and orders. Brendan McNamara (Class III) explained how quarantine has impacted business: “My siblings are both home now, which has helped us refocus and get the whole team together. We’ve been getting a lot of work done.”
The website, which has become the primary source of orders, has also changed since quarantine began. Different color and logo combinations have now been made possible to order through the website, which used to be only available in person.
Another big development is that Arlington native and Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Pat Conaughton recently posted a video of him wearing MTD merch on his Instagram.
Overall, the COVID-19 quarantine has allowed MTD to expand and strengthen its website, while continuing to grow as a brand.
Below is the original article about “More Than Different,” featured in on Page 10 of the 109-5 Nobleman issue:
Brendan McNamara (Class III) sits with his feet up on a low table in the library. Natural and relaxed, positive energy radiates off of him. He smiles constantly and makes eye contact with people walking by, sharing waves or nods with almost everyone. He also frequently sports a brown paper bag carrying that day’s clothing deliveries.
Entering Nobles this year, McNamara has brought both his charisma and his own brand with him. More Than Different (MTD), founded by McNamara and his older brother, Colin, is “not just a clothing brand, but a lifestyle,” according to McNamara. “It’s all about accepting yourself and your dreams, and accepting those things in others.” This message is evident to customers as well.
Madie Majernik (Class I), an early consumer of MTD, appreciates McNamara’s positive mindset. She said, “I really agree with MTD’s mission statement on their website and because [Brendan] is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, I decided to become a customer.” Through making both himself and his brand accessible, McNamara has helped MTD find its footing at Nobles.
Both Colin and Brendan also model their clothing for the brand’s Instagram (@mtdthemovement) and website, which has been fun for McNamara as well. “My sister did all the photography for us and we actually did the modeling. It was cool to be wearing something that I believe in, but we want to get other people involved to show that this stuff really is for everyone,” he said.
While MTD is now up and running, McNamara remembers the early difficulties of production. He explained, “We make all of the [products] ourselves with our set up in the basement. Early on, it was tough because we didn’t know how to dry the ink properly or how to center the prints too well, so there are definitely a few blotty shirts out there.” As the company has grown, so have McNamara’s skills as a shirt-presser. He said, “Now, though, it takes maybe five minutes or so to make each product. I’ve been running the sales here, while my brother has his own smaller system in his dorm room at college.”
McNamara laughed when asked about his estimate of people at Nobles who have bought the merchandise. “One in five seems like a lot, but maybe one in ten makes sense. Maybe I’ll try to let people know about an MTD day where everyone wears what they have,” he said. McNamara also has larger dreams for the company: “I think we could get up to half [of the people at Nobles], though, especially if we can make it easier to buy [items]. I have always wanted to bring a bunch of shirts with me one day and set up a table in Gleason or something and just sell during frees.”
Another customer, Noanddi Manigat (Class III), said of the brand, “There isn’t just one person who this stuff is for. Everyone should be wearing it.”
Up until recently, not “everyone” was interested or had even heard of MTD. However, the weeks leading up to, and following, Valentine’s Day have featured an uptick in customers, according to McNamara. Alex St. John (Class V), McNamara’s first customer in the middle school, said, “I just found out about MTD pretty recently and decided I definitely needed something.” Other middle schoolers may follow this example as awareness of the brand grows.
McNamara has also seen expansion into the faculty: “It’s been really cool to see some other members of the community wearing and buying it, like Mr. DeLeon or Coach O’Neil.” He believes faculty support can help the brand grow, in following MTD’s main principle of acceptance of one’s differences and in addressing the potential issues around dress code. “I think, technically, the [products] aren’t allowed [in the dress code],” St. John said, “but that won’t stop me from wearing it. Nobody else has gotten in trouble for it.” According to McNamara, when a faculty member is seen wearing the merchandise, it can have a validating effect on both the brand itself and on those who are wearing it. Another potential area for improvement that McNamara has noticed relates to online orders: “The website could definitely get better...people don’t realize that they can get pretty much any color with any logo. It’s no different for me because I make them all the same way anyway. [If people knew that,] we would get even more orders because obviously more options could appeal to more people.”
As orders pour in, the operation may need to grow with the larger demand. A day may arrive when hand-making the products themselves will not longer be sustainable for MTD’s co-founders. However, McNamara explains, “I kind of like making them myself because then I know it will get done properly...It’d be really cool to have them made somewhere else, but it could be tough too.”
The problem of over-ordering is definitely a good one to have, and at their current rate, MTD may have to face a solution sooner rather than later.