Did you ever wonder what or who is behind the clothing company that gamers know and love as J!NX? I definitely wondered. I recently had the privilege to sit down with Sean “Jinx” Gailey, the Creative Overlord of J!NX, for a one on one interview. We discussed how J!NX came into existence, what their motivation is and what gamers can expect to see from upcoming lines (MLG and pro-gamer lines) and products. As Kyle McCarthy (J!NX’s Deacon of Sales & Networking) refers to Sean “He’s kind of the face of the company.”
Jinx has always been my alias. Well, that’s not totally accurate. When I was 7, I was “The Hideous Serpent”, but that alias is fail. Regarding the actual idea of J!NX, I used to always make shirts with black sharpie markers that were about coding, hacking, gaming, anything I was interested in. I saw some interest in the shirts from strangers and thought it would be a cool clothing brand, so I mentioned the idea to Tim Norris, my good friend and business partner. Eventually, Jason Kraus (another lifelong friend) joined us and in the last 5 years, we’ve gone from my 2nd bedroom to 18,000 sq ft, a compound lovingly referred to as the “J!NX Fortress”.
2. Starting a company of your own – especially a clothing company – is no easy feat. What would you say is what separates you from similar clothing companies out there?
Passion is at the heart of J!NX, and nothing in the world is accomplished without passion. I didn’t make that up, I know it’s true because I read it in a fortune cookie ticket that is taped to my monitor. It was really tough, but we love what we do and we figured we’d push until we broke through.
3. What’s the best and worst things about working in the clothing industry?
The best thing is that it is always changing, it never gets stale. There is always new styles and new concepts to design with. If it didn’t change, we’d get bored, and being bored sucks. I’d say the worst thing is that you never know what’s going to really hit. I’ve been wrong a few times on designs I swore were going to hit like a truck. Ask anyone at J!NX about the Blackbeard’s Gaming Palace Tee and they’ll tell you the story of a sad little t-shirt that we couldn’t GIVE away. I still love it. The world wasn’t ready. Maybe someday I’ll give it the breath of life.
4. Does J!NX have any plans in the future to create things like Spring jackets or Winter coats or other apparel?
Absolutely. Our Fall 2010 line has some sick outerwear, including a hooded, fleece pea coat and a jacket that is a combination between a military jacket and a sports coat. Our outerwear is getting the most attention from our Fall 2010 line, so we’ll be exploring it more in future lines.
5. What is a typical work day like at J!NX?
Come to work, get some water-cooler talk in about the Starcraft 2 Beta, Modern Warfare 2, or last nights World of Warcraft raid, then hit up email. Lots of electronic mail. Work hard, then at 5pm, hit up some Pong (we have a running tournament), and head home. My dog, Gwen, comes to work every day as well, but she’s only here to make me feel productive since she sleeps all day.
6. Will J!NX ever start paying for licensed character shirts? i.e. Sonic, Mario, etc.
We’ve launched a few special collections such as World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Aion Online, EVE Online and Afro Samurai, so we may explore the Mario’s out there. If we do, we’ll put our spin on it. We’ve had several other game companies contact us about a license, all great games, but we have to be picky. If we pick something up, we want to do it right.
7. Gamers like the t-shirts MLG pros wear during competition. Will J!NX ever release a “Championship Line”?
Absolutely. Stay tuned on that one J
8. What does the future hold for J!NX?
We’re putting a lot of our art and passion into designing our cut & sew collections. We’re finding more ways to work our interests into high quality button downs, polos, pants and jackets, but done in subtle ways. I want our clothing to outwardly express our interests, but not in an obnoxious way that makes people not want to wear it. Even people that love gaming are not necessarily wanting to shove it down everyone’s throat.
9.J!NX has some pro gamers that currently wear their merchandise, can we expect this trend to grow?
Indeed, we’re already talking to Team Evil Geniuses and should be launching some cool stuff with them very soon. We fully support the lifestyle, so if any pro gamers are looking for some killer J!NX shirts to rock at their next competition, they should hit us up. Well, within reason, of course. If you are competing in a Madden tournament in your buddy’s basement, that doesn’t count.
9. Have you ever thought of pairing up with a video game site, like DualShockers?
Who’s DualShockers? Kidding J