How Five Tours In Iraq Inspired This Navy Bro To Start His Own Clothing Line
If the men and women of the Armed Forces learn one thing during their time serving the country, it’s this — the way to react in a live or die situation. The military trains soldiers to do exactly what’s necessary to ensure the survival of as many people as possible, including their own.
The problem is that, with most situations, there’s often human error. A person can train for a pressurized situations forever, but until a man finds himself in the shit, there’s no possible way of knowing how the soldier will react. The military teaches fight but the brain — no matter the wiring — sometimes says flight.
The brain will occasionally command the body to do something even crazier.
“One day walking to the DFAC,” explains Kurt Carmody, “that’s the place where soldiers are served food, a mortar landed literally 25 yards in front of me. In shock, I ran toward it. My best friend Derrick grabbed me and instinctively pulled me the opposite direction and secured us in a bunker until cleared. I owe him my life.”
At the time, Carmody was 27 and on his fifth and final tour in Iraq. “I was solely responsible for the drawdown of all equipment and supplies. I was the supply officer, 2nd class petty officer, but I was enlisted. This was maybe 3rd encounter with an attack. I wasn’t quite immune to them yet like everyone else. The explosion and the location of the explosion didn’t register in my head at the same time. It also didn’t register that my friend and I had walked past a bunker not 10 yards away.”
Carmody feels the aftershocks of that mortar, and a few other incidents, to this day and suffers from PTSD.
“I was shot at a few times and avoided countless other inbound mortar attacks by learning to avoid them as best as possible. I’ve got many stories. It’s probably not best to publish most.”
Now a 32-year-old father of two, the twelve year Navy vet left active service on Valentine’s Day, 2014.
Carmody’s father was also a veteran, 12 years just like his son, and two of his three brothers served. His step-father served and even his mother works closely with the military, she runs a VFW in southern California. Only one member of the immediately family didn’t elect to serve. “My youngest brother decided not to be an idiot,” Carmody jokes.
The Los Angeles native returned home and struggled to find work, though admittedly, he didn’t look very hard to find employment.
Carmody drove for an Uber for about a week and quickly discovered he could easily start his own limousine service. So he did. Carmody’s fleet grew to four drivers in just under two months. He was eventually able to get out from behind the wheel and managed the crew but his luck soon turned after one driver lost a huge client and another driver had his car stolen.
“My partner lost his car and that left me with one car — my own — and I never fully recouped.”
Around the same time, a friend of Carmody’s had started a clothing line. The clothes were amazing but the company website was less than impressive. Carmody offered to help and taught himself code. After a few months, he was practically running the day-to-day operations of the company.
A creative difference led to an eventual split but Carmody soaked up enough about coding, and clothing, to start his own company.
“I originally came up with the name ‘Green October’ kind of like Red October. It was my dad’s favorite movie. My birthday is in October. I was also starting the company in October. There were too many damn coincidences so I founded the October Clothing Brand.”
His plan of attack in clothing is simple — strip it all down. “At the original clothing company, I was forced to design extremely multi-colored products. That wasn’t me.”
All of the October Brand Clothing pieces are simple in color and design. For lack of a better term, military. Basic except for the sayings. Especially the clever nod to The Little Mermaid.
“I pull inspiration mainly from pop culture. The idea for the mermaid reference came from this insane community of people are obsessed with mermaids. Another trending community thriving right now involves people with naturally curly hair. We are generating a ton of sales from our ‘curly hair’ collection. We have the curly emoji with ‘Curls on Fleek’ and Slay is another huge seller.”
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The former logistics specialist is now the commanding general of October Clothing Brand, still sprinting toward problems that come with running a business and not ducking into a bunker.
“I handle every aspect of the business, from the legal work to the product and site design. I outsource the material myself and established all of the wholesale accounts. I even decorate the damn shirts myself. I ship them, handle orders, customer service, email marketing, social media and influencer relations. I do every damn thing by myself.”
In just under four months in business, sales have risen 200% every month.
“When I got out, I could not see myself employed. I couldn’t fathom the idea of waking up and working for someone ever again. Putting on another uniform or suit and being told what to do. I used to have to ask to take a piss. I couldn’t do much without asking. Never again.”
Chris Illuminati is a senior editor with BroBible. If you feel your personal story deserves to be told, reach out to him here.