Our class interviewed local business owners and Carle Place High School graduates Richie Alfaro and Dylan McLaughlin, and T.J. Christina, a graduate of Wheatley High School in Old Westbury. They are the co-owners of GOAT USA clothing company and have been in business together since 2015. The friendship started in high school and continued into college.
They visited Mrs. Cherie Gisondi’s English class to talk about how they started the business, where they see the business going in the future and how forging bonds in high school is a huge part of life.
We first asked them what made them want to start a T-shirt business. They started wearing their own custom tees in college, and people started inquiring about them. So they decided to make some to sell at concerts at Jones Beach and sporting events. The phrase “greatest of all time” was becoming popular. They thought, what a great idea for a T-shirt!
Dylan woke up one day and envisioned the cartoon goat wearing sunglasses. GOAT USA was born. They trademarked the name, and the rest is history.
When asked how long it took to get the business started, they replied 11 months. Much is owed to Richie’s grandpa, who immediately agreed to let them use his basement and garage to house the shirts and run the business. Soon, the business became so big they had to move to a warehouse, employing other former classmates.
The shirts are described as “heavenly soft” and can be customized to fit your team or business. Hoodies, hats and socks are also available on their website and the company plans to expand to include children's clothes. We asked if they would like to open a store one day. Richie said they are thinking about it, and T.J. thought they would love to really be a lifestyle brand.
The business was self-funded by all three of them, and they continue to put money back into the company. They are ever-present at live events like lacrosse and field hockey games, and our students say they are highly energetic in their tents offering games and stickers and out talking to the large crowd. They don’t sit back, they get involved, which is the secret to their success.
Before they left, they gave us T-shirts and took pictures. We were really inspired by their work ethic. They sell so much more than T-shirts. They have tops, bottoms and all sorts of hats, too. You can even get a GOAT flag or keychain.
Check out their clothing at goatusa.com
Cherie Gisondi's ninth-grade English class, Carle Place High School