Local clothing designers hit the streets…in a food truck

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Two locals are trying to raise funds to buy an food truck from which they plan to sell apparel. Andrew Marshall and Stephen Thompson –also known as the Chef and the Butcher– are co-owners of Pyknic, an apparel company based in Robbinsville. Selling their wares from a food-truck makes sense since their clothing designs incorporate a culinary theme. They’ve been producing jeans with utensils embroidered on the back pockets, t-shirts screen-printed with images of burgers and pizza slices, and even bracelets charmed with coffee and doughnuts since 2006.

It all started when Marshall and Thompson met as business majors at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. They sold their first do-it-yourself design to 200 friends and peers. Thanks to social networking and involvement with the local music scene, their customer base grew, and they began to sell their original designs online.

After coming in touch with retailers such as PacSun, Hot Topic, and even international stores, Marshall and Thompson realized they would have to look into an official home for their company. They settled in an empty warehouse on Route 130 in Robbinsville, NJ in early 2010.

By the time the warehouse had turned into their office as well, Pyknic had exploded with band sponsorship and online sales. In October, they were named among America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs of 2010 by Bloomberg Businessweek.

In summer 2011, Marshall and Thompson announced on various social networks that they were planning something big. In the middle of August, the pair launched a KickStarter project and started taking pledges. KickStarter is a website on which original ideas are funded by interested donors. The title of the project is “Pyknic ‘Food’ Clothing Truck.”

When asked why he and his co-owner decided to embark on this creative adventure, Marshall said, “We wanted to have something different and unique, and we thought what better fitting way to sell our products than from a food truck.” For each amount someone pledges to donate, Marshall and Thompson have promised prizes ranging from stickers and buttons, to limited edition t-shirts, to a lunch date with them.

Almost immediately after the project was launched online, donations began to come in. Most backers are promising between $30 and $60 toward the cause (which, if you’re curious, gets your plenty of t-shirts, buttons, and stickers). “We weren’t sure what to expect really,” said Marshall in response to how quickly the KickStarter page took off. He added, “but to have such loving support from our friends and family truly means the world.”

As of the afternoon of September 13, the Pyknic “Food” Clothing Truck is fully funded, a full day ahead of the deadline. With time still left on the clock, there were over 175 donors, and over 10,000 dollars pledged.

Look for their truck to hit the streets sometime soon. In the meantime you can check out everything Pyknic and browse their food-based clothing shop at pyknic.com.