Joe Brynds, the man behind Commandeer
If you live in Kansas City, there is a pretty good chance that you own or have seen one of Commandeer Brand’s t-shirts. Their Kansas City Chiefs and Royals designs have quickly become staples in any local sports fan’s wardrobe.
However, this article isn’t about Commandeer Brand. This article is about Joe Brynds, the man behind the brand.
As the first in our Modern Man Supply Co. Interview Series, we cornered Brynds and asked questions to get a glimpse into the mind that has created one of Kansas City’s hottest apparel companies. And, to find out what the hell made him think Kansas City and pirates would be a good fit…
Ok, so lets get a little background information on you. Did you grow up around KC?
I grew up in Lawrence, Kansas .
Where did you go to school?
I went to Free State High and then KU, for a small amount of time. I didn’t continue at KU because I was pursuing my passion of playing music, in a band, at the time.
Before you started Commandeer, what were you doing?
I was a shipping lead at Bushnell Optics
When did you make the decision to start Commandeer and why?
I decided to start Commandeer in 2016 because I wanted to get back into an area where I could be creative. I wanted to make apparel and accessories to both sell and have for myself, that I hadn’t seen around Kansas City. There was plenty of great apparel in the area, as the Royals had just won the world series, but there was nothing that spoke exactly to who I was as well as represented the city. I wanted to create a brand that was more counter-culture than the ones I had seen around at the time.
What was Commandeer’s first design?
The first design I came up with was my first logo, and then the first design I wanted to produce for apparel was the Crossed Bats design. This is almost an exact result of the run of the Royals and wanting to see it represented in a more alternative way.
How did you come up with the nautical theme?
The nautical theme is essentially a loose one., and the tag-line is more of an inside joke than anything else. There is a certain pirate captain that describes Commandeer as a “nautical term”, as so Commandeer’s tag line is “Nautical Brand”. The theme is much more to alternative and counter-culture styling, with an inspiration coming from the spirit of the golden age pirates.
What is your personal favorite design, so far?
My personal favorite design is such a tough thing to pin-point. It’s almost always my latest one. I think I am always wanting to better my design abilities and each time I feel like I’m creating some of my best work. I did have a lot of fun making my St. Patrick design. I think I created a nice, sleek, but subtly clever design with the Royal Tee, bu my personal favorite might actually be an extremely short run design, Not Today, that was a recently released Game of Thrones themed release.
What has been your most successful design to date?
The most successful design I have had so far has to be the St. Patrick design. I have probably sold more Crossed Bars and Crossed Arrows related apparel because of longevity, but nothing has taken off as quickly for me as the St. Patrick design.
What is your proudest Commandeer moment so far?
My proudest Commandeer moment likely has to be seeing Hunter Dozier continue to wear my Royal Tee as of late for many appearances and interviews, including his promotion for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of KC that aired just last night. This is a surreal experience for me to see someone that should have been in an All-Star game consistently wearing one of my shirts and designs. I would not have believed you if you told me that was going to happen 3 years ago. I am constantly proud, though, about so much of this experience. From every positive feedback and interaction with someone on social media or in person, to meeting people in person and hearing positive comments, to getting to 10K followers on Instagram, to receiving orders from all over the country, and even some international orders. The whole experience has been incredibly surreal, and I could not be more thankful to everyone for making that a reality for me.
You have a ton of people reaching out to you, now that you are having great success. But, who were the photographers and models that reached out and helped you along the way?
There are so many models and photographers that have helped me, that I do not want to leave anyone out, but Braydon Hopper has absolutely been at the forefront of that. I met him at a First Friday and he came to me with the idea of a large shoot that would have a gritty type of theme to it, which is perfect for my brand. There were many photographers that worked on that and a couple other shoots, though, including Stevie Haas, ADKC, Megan Reed, and models Sarah Jane, Dylan Horsch, Demi Elisa, Rory Smith, Lauren Ryan, Stephen Tafoya, and so many others. I can’t thank them all enough, even though I constantly do every time I share a picture.
if you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would that be?
I would love to collaborate with so many people, but the one that pops into my mind first is Tech N9ne. He is an absolute icon in Kansas City, and having a music background myself makes me gravitate to that world. I think our styles could mesh very well into a unique and strange design.
So to wrap this up, what’s next for Commandeer?
What’s next for Commandeer is so much more. I feel like we are just getting started, really. We are finally figuring out who we are as a brand and a company. We have been putting out a new design almost every week, and we aim to keep roughly the same pace going forward. It is our intention, however, to be more of a lifestyle brand than just a t-shirt brand, so we have many more products in the works and some will be here very shortly, so keep a weather eye for that!