You might not know Dan Hershberg but you probably know his T-shirts.
From “Broad & Pattison” to “Hittin’ Season” to “You Can’t Spell Crosby Without Cry” Hershberg’s Philly Phaithful T-shirts have given fans of the Phillies, Eagles, 76ers and Flyers a chance to root for the home team in some sweet gear.
The Mount Airy native explained where his inspiration for starting his own T-shirt line came from.
“A lifetime full of watching way too many Philadelphia sporting events,” Hershberg joked.
The 25-year-old actually quit a job with ESPN to start the company in the spring of 2008 after seeing similar alternative shirts work in towns like Boston and Chicago.
“If this works in Boston why not Philadelphia?”
But starting a T-shirt company from the ground up is no easy task. Hershberg doesn’t get to always enjoy games anymore as he works tailgating parking lots selling shirts out of a backpack.
Phillies fans might have even seen him at the season opener in Washington, D.C. rocking a mustache in honor of Phaithful’s “Schmidt Happens” shirt.
Getting to the people is part of the key for Hershberg’s success. But the product sells so well because Phaithful uses only high-quality made-in-America polyester/cotton blend shirts that are geared towards the hardcore Philly fan, said Hershberg.
The high-quality materials and limited quantities mean that you won’t be finding a $5 shirt on PhillyPhaithful.com but that doesn’t bother Hershberg. He would rather sell a more expensive American-made shirt or hoodie that is comfortable and won’t fall apart than peddle a junky shirt that won’t last.
Phaithful’s lasting power is also driven by an easy to use Web site that has allowed a broader audience for the product. They have shipped shirts to Philly sports fans around the world.
Hershberg, though, wasn’t immediately sure if his T-shirt experiment would work. But, while hitting the Phillies lot just two weeks after Phaithful was born he saw that it had a chance to work.
A fan playing beer pong outside of Citizens Bank Park was wearing one of his shirts.
“The feeling of this person has my shirt… and likes it was amazing.”
Hershberg doesn’t come up with the inspiration for his shirts all by himself. He grabs design ideas from friends, bars, broadcasts and of course actual games.
The Crosby Cry shirt stemmed from a fan chant Hershberg heard while watching Sidney Crosby play. Now the shirt, originally geared toward Flyers fans, is one of his biggest sellers in part because so many NHL fans can relate to calling the Penguins’ star a cry baby.
“The dislike of Sidney Crosby has a lot of crossover appeal in different markets,” Hershberg said.
Phillies’ Phaithfulest fan couldn’t pick a favorite T-shirt though.
“It’s like asking a person who their favorite child is,” Hershberg said.
So, for now Hershberg will put his “Phaith” in the real fans to decide which of his T-shirts is a favorite. Go to PhillyPhaithful.com to find your favorite.