Raygun founder on how to win brick & mortar

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Growing up, we all knew that one kid who was constantly starting new business ideas and finding ways to get ahead, a classic “hustle bro.” How many of them actually went on to start a successful business later in life? Mike Draper owner of Raygun is the perfect example of a “hustle bro” turned successful business owner/entrepreneur.

Mike Draper, CEO of Raygun

Raygun is an Iowa based brick and mortar business that focuses mostly on custom printing and design of localized t-shirts. Draper says, if you can put words on something they have tried it. He got his start making custom t-shirts during his senior year of college at the Pennsylvania State University, looking for ways to finance graduate school. After traveling around the east coast following his senior year, after traveling around the east coast he found success in custom printing and selling.

Draper realized he needed to find his niche which brought him back to his native land Des Moines. Starting with one storefront, he is in the process of opening up his 8th. Stores are now located all over the state of Iowa, going as far as Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha. 

In a world where e-commerce seems to be taking over, Draper emphasizes the importance of brick and mortar and how irreplaceable face to face interactions are. If you are trying to find your niche and succeed in brick and mortar, Draper’s advice is treat every customer like a performance or audition, you are talking to the customer and their 7 closest friends.

At the end of the day, Draper and Raygun are trying to leave a positive impression on the community with funny t-shirts, some about events as they happen. There is no direct competition for them because no other business knows the clientele like them. They  live in the community, and are immersed in the culture. This is a clear advantage Raygun has over e-commerce and they don’t take it for granted. Raygun found their niche in Iowa and are taking advantage of it everyday, showing up with the drive to run a business and leave a lasting impact on the community.

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