“What’s this Mad Gringo company? Are they some big retailer?” I asked George as he scrolled through a page that showed a few items his startup was offering for sale. “I like what I see.”
“Tommy Bahama’s black sheep cousin?” George asked with a laugh. “Actually, they’re a local outfit.”
“You’re kidding? Here? In Omaha?” I asked. The brand looked like it should have originated in Cancun. Or maybe Honolulu.
“Yep. They’re a startup, too. Just a few years ahead of us.”
“Those shirts are great.”
George nodded, a little gleam in his eye. I would have been willing to bet he already had a few of those shirts hanging his closet. “The company has an interesting story.”
I was intrigued. I wanted to know more, but an interesting story wasn’t the reason I was there. Possibly investing time and money was. We eventually wrapped up the discussion with me agreeing to think about whether I wanted to be involved in his startup (I later declined.) Normally, I would immediately forget all about this kind of chance encounter, but for some reason the name of the company stuck with me. Mad Gringo. Yeah. I kinda liked that name.
A few days later, I Googled “Mad Gringo” and found www.MadGringo.com. On the site were lots of these great looking tropical shirts and a collection of funny, quirky t-shirts as well.
It was the right time and the right product. I was in the process of re-inventing myself, so why not start with a wardrobe change? I ordered a few tropicals and three or four T’s. A few days later, my package arrived in this nice, Gringo-esque box. It had a cool pineapple skull logo and a couple palm trees printed on the outside. Inside, the tropical shirts were in this nice burlap bag. I took them out and the shirts were as striking in person as the appeared on the website. Maybe more so. Then I noticed the hang tags. Clever. Funny.
By the time I read the care tag on one of the tropical shirts, which said, “Wash when dirty, dry when wet,” I was in love.