R.A. Long alum earns his excellence
“This is one of the first shirts we came up with. That was March 2013,” said Roberto Gonzalez, founder of E.Y.E. Clothing.
Gonzalez flipped through pictures on his iPhone, each photo featuring a different design and a different point of his nascent clothing line’s history. The company’s acronym stands for “Earn Your Excellence,” a motto that Gonzalez lives by.
The design he points to as his first is pretty basic — a bright blue umbrella protects the phrase “Earn Your Excellence” from a few large raindrops. The company and designs have come a long way since Gonzalez first started playing with the Microsoft Paint program during his senior year of high school at R.A. Long.
Gonzalez, 22, never knew he wanted to be a designer and hadn’t touched Photoshop until recently. But he did know he wanted to start something big.
“Deep down since I was a kid I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I wanted to be my own boss,” Gonzalez said on Monday. “I didn’t think about a clothing line.”
He also thought about being a logger, “because my dad was a logger for 25 years, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Gonzalez said. But once the idea of making designs for clothes came to him, he couldn’t let go of it.
Now he’s selling products online, through word of mouth, and sells his products through Bulldog Sk8 on 14th Avenue in Longview. Most recently he’s begun conversations with Freedom Market and hopes to sell his products there in the next couple of months.
It’s an exciting time full of change for Gonzalez.
Next month, E.Y.E. Clothing will roll out a full fall line of clothes, including hoodies, hats, and long sleeved shirts. This will also be the first clothes bearing designs Gonzalez hasn’t designed himself. The young entrepreneur has used Instagram to connect with artists whose work he enjoys and wants to put on his clothing.
One such image, created by Utah-based designer Beau Lindstrom is called “Tri-Squatch,” and features the Northwest’s notorious “Sasquatch” with three eyes and glares luridly from within a triangle.
E.Y.E.’s shirts are on the less-expensive end for designer apparel, going for $15 to $20 a piece, while with hoodies are about $40. The clothing mainly features a Pacific Northwest theme, and often bears the company’s triangular “eye” logo.
When asked about goals for the next five years, Gonzalez said he has already set them. He hopes to have two brick-and-mortar stores full of his clothing, in Portland and likely Seattle. He won’t consider the job done until his presence is felt worldwide, with upwards of 40 stores, he said.
For the time being, Gonzalez has all of his designs printed locally at Screen Printing Northwest in Longview. He hopes to keep it that way for as long as possible. “I like to keep it local,” Gonzalez said. The young entrepreneur was raised in Longview his entire life and still thinks about his future in relation to his family. Eventually he realizes he’ll have to move to a big city to grow his business even further.
“I don’t want to leave my family… But then again you gotta make those sacrifices to get where you want to be.”