The founders of Fog Bank Clothing wanted to create an interactive contest for Del Norte County youth to get involved while adhering to the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-founder Tommy Burley, talking with the Triplicate from his home in Vancouver, Wash., said the idea was the Quaren-Tee Shirt Contest. The paln was to have youth design the company’s next big T-shirt incorporating their mascot Bigfoot and the 4th of July.
However, little did Burley know the Chamber of Commerce would cancel Crescent City’s annual 4th of July celebration this week due to complications it presented adhering to social distancing protocol.
“Unfortunately, we submitted our idea before it was cancelled. We understood the celebration might be different, but we didn’t know they would cancel everything,” Burley said.
But Burley wasn’t ready to let a good idea go to waste.
“We’re going to move forward with it. There’s no reason not to. People get excited about the 4th, it’s what we do. We do the 4th better than anybody,” said Burley who grew up in Crescent City. “It’s more than barbecue and fireworks. We celebrate for a good reason. And not just our community, but the whole county. You can’t take away our freedom.”
Burley started Fog Bank Clothing line three years ago with friends Joe Hanks, who still drives for UPS locally and Fred Victor who is pursuing a nursing degree in Chico, Calif. The company produces t-shirts, hoodies, beanies and hats featuring their mascot Bigfoot and a Del Norte Theme.
Burley said 99 percent of the t-shirts for the online only company are screened in Del Norte County then shipped worldwide.
Earlier this year, Fog Bank received the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year Award.
“That came out of nowhere,” Burley said. “We don’t have a brick and mortar building. We were going to move into a location, but once this all happened, we couldn’t do it, no way. It would have put us in a rough spot to have a location. So, in once sense we’re thankful for that, in another we’re crushed. We wanted to ride the wave of new business award. We wanted to roll into 2020 expand the direction of our brand, not just for our sake, but Crescent City’s and Del Norte County, to help their brand, too. We’ll just have to role with the punches.”
So, the contest is still on. Fog Bank is asking youth ages 18 and under to create their next great design. Burley said the contest was announced last week and closes May 8. Unfortunately, they haven’t received too many entries yet.
“We’re hoping to get more people applying. We’d love to see 100 applicants, then go from there,” he said.
An internal committee will pick the top 10 designs and Fog Bank fans will pick the winner during online voting May 11-16. The winner will receive a $100 Fog Bank gift card and their design on the 2020 Fog Bank 4th of July t-shirt.
Burley said entrants don’t have to worry about running afoul of copyright laws when incorporating Bigfoot into their design.
“Bigfoot is not copyrighted in any way. That was one of the things we were excited about when we did it. Bigfoot was not as massive four years ago. His popularity really kicked up a notch lately,” Burley said.
He said making Bigfoot their mascot had always been goal, being that Northern California is the traditional home of the mythical creature.
“But I want people to think of our Bigfoot, a happy Bigfoot. A lot of designs out there are scary. We didn’t want to scare kids. We wanted him a fan of Del Norte county,” Burley said.
He added the hardest part of COVID-19 is usually the company likes to think out of box for marketing. One way was getting their Bigfoot mascot out in community. Unfortunately, their actor lives in house with a family member with immune deficiency issues and has to stick tightly with the shelter in place guidelines.
“We know Del Norte usually draws a lot of tourist dollars here, especially in the summer. Not seeing Bigfoot this year will be a little rough,” he said. “Hopefully things will get better down the road.”
Regardless, Burley still thinks this contest can be a success.
“We’re pretty excited. We want kids to participate. I’m excited to see some drawings and fans picking a winner,” Burley added.
For a complete list of contest rules, go to https://fogbankclothing.com/pages/quaran-tee-shirt-design-contest.