About Us

Beta Merch is the brainchild of brothers Michael and Bradley Southerton out of Traverse City, Michigan. …why do people say that? “Brainchild?” It doesn’t make very much sense, and it’s quite off-putting. Especially in this case. Two brothers making a child together with their minds? Gross. Anyway, the company was started in an effort to fill a void. The void, in this case, was that both Michael and Bradley were frustrated with the lack of decent t-shirt choices in their respective wardrobes. Instead of shopping for and purchasing more t-shirts, like most rational people would do to circumvent this issue, the brothers decided to find a solution to their dilemma in the most time consuming, frustrating, and difficult way possible. It was Michael who then said to Bradley, “What if we made our own t-shirts?” …genius.

A plan was set into motion. Designs were created, manufacturers were outsourced, and t-shirts were born! (See what I did there? I tied it back into the whole “brainchild” thing.) There was only one issue. Due to the relentless ridicule they would undoubtedly face from their peers, politicians, children, the elderly, and random passers-by, neither of the brothers had the courage to wear their custom designed t-shirts in public. They had hit a wall. A dilemma that should have been so obvious from the start, but in all the excitement, wasn’t acknowledged until the most critical juncture of their journey. It was hopeless. There was no solution. In their darkest hour, Michael and Bradley parted ways. They didn’t speak. They didn’t sleep. They didn’t eat. The mere sight of each other brought back feelings of shame and disappointment from the endeavor. It was an unparalleled blow to their already fragile egos. The only thing left in life to look forward to was their inevitable demise. The sweet release of death’s hand that eventually comes for us all. This went on for nearly an hour. Then suddenly, Bradley said to Michael, “What if we sold our shirts online? That way, we wouldn’t be the only ones wearing them.” …genius.

A plan was set into motion. A website was created, distributors were outsourced, cash flow systems were put into place, and t-shirts were born! made available to the public! (I’m done with the “brainchild” tie-in thing. It wasn’t really that funny anyway.) There was only one issue. The brothers didn’t have a name for their child. (Well, that didn’t last long. I said I would be done with it, and then literally two sentences later I’m back on the whole brainchild thing again. Why am I harping on this metaphor? It’s so dumb! It was literally the fourth word I typed when I started writing this and now I can’t get it out of my head! Augh!… I’m gonna have nightmares tonight. Well, anyway…) They needed an identity. A company name that was a reflection of its purpose and presence to a tee. Unfortunately for the brothers, “For Us By Us” was already taken. However, they noticed that the letter “B” in Bradley and the letter “M” in Michael could be combined to make “BM,” so that was a no-brainer. Likewise, as we all know, the term “Beta” derives its meaning from “a measure of the risk potential for a stock or an investment portfolio expressed as a ratio of its volatility versus the market’s volatility as a whole,” so that word was a good fit. …just kidding. An alternate definition of the word Beta, meaning “a stage of development in which a product is nearly complete but not finished,” was reflective of the company’s goal to consistently be adding new designs to the store. Additionally, the word, “Merch” is short for “Merchandise.” You get that, right? So that’s where the name came from. …genius.

A plan was set into motion. A logo was created, an online identity was made, articles of organization paperwork was filed, and Beta Merch was BORN!!! (I give up. Why fight it?)

Ok, I think that’s it. How long are “About Us” sections of other websites anyway? Have I adequately satisfied your curiosity on the origin story? Are you still reading? Why am I asking questions? It’s not like we’re having a conversation here. Whenever I shop online, I don’t read up on a company’s origin story. In fact, I highly doubt that anyone will ever read all this. …except for maybe my mother. In which case, “Hi, mom!” I’m really looking forward to meeting up for dinner next week! If I get a chance, I’ll try to stop by some night before then to help you set up your new stereo equipment.

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