Updated December, 15th, 2021
LONG STORY BUT WORTH IT (Scroll down to see short version):
My name is Reno and I found this company over 10 years ago by accident. Let me entertain you a bit...
As a Combat Photographer and Videographer in the Marines, I traveled most of the Pacific including places like Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand while also serving in Iraq a couple of times. I also trained Marines for combat and self-defense as a Martial Arts Instructor. After deciding to get out of the military, my best friend, Paul (who served with me) and I moved to Colorado where we ran into one hell of a struggle transitioning from the military to civilian life.
We were broke, my dogs were eating better than us, and we didn't know where to take the next step in life. Approaching homelessness, I was on the brink of thinking the worst and decided I'm not going to let those thoughts take me down. I started college at the University of Colorado studying Marketing and then started volunteering at pet shelters and veteran non-profits where I found a new purpose. I love dogs and I love vets, so I vowed a promise to volunteer 300 hours a year to those causes. I still needed money to serve out that newfound purpose, so I started my own brand, PUCK FUDDLES, where you say it too fast you get in trouble. Started designing funny, not for your uptight grandma, shirts and sold them. We outsourced to a local screen printer at the time to print our shirts.
After seeing some success, Paul and I decided we would start reaching out to local vendors and breweries where we planned and hosted events to raise awareness for transitioning veterans and money. This was a hit. People were coming from all over the place to come to our events. We sold out of shirts at just about every event. As we were donating all of our money made from apparel at those events, we ran into the issue of affording to pay a screen printer. Keep in mind we were young and just learning how to manage money.
Then, I got the great idea to start printing our own shirts. "How hard could it be?," I said. Oh, it's one of those skills that takes time and patience I learned quickly. Also, a lot more money for the equipment and all the shirts you ruin trying to learn the skill. For those who have done screen printing, you know, ink gets everywhere and doesn't go away!
Over time I got my degree at the University of Colorado and Moved to Minneapolis where I got a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies with a minor in graphic design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. There I learned the creative side of business and decided to do screen printing as a side business while I worked my way up the corporate ladder at FOX SPORTS NEWS, BOEING, and last managing a HOME DEPOT before I decide to take a major leap with my wife, Angela, our family, and Paul. We decided to become FULL TIME BUSINESS OWNERS. Both scary and fun at the same time.
With an 18 month old baby, a jump into running our own business didn't seem smart according to advise I received from others. But I am never one to buckle down from a challenge. I am a Marine after all, very skillful, very determined, and sometimes need my toes to count to 10. So we took the leap at the beginning of 2021. My wife and I bought our forever home on 20 acres of land in Laurel, Montana and started going to work. The first 4-6 months were hard. Don't let anyone tell you that it's easy because they are lying. More money was going out than coming in. My wife, god bless her so much, has worked 12-20 hour days with me since we started. She's been pregnant the last 6.
We weren't getting business and I was on the brink of giving up my/our dream when I decided to go volunteer my time. Evidently that's what I always do when I have financial issues rather than looking for a job but it helps most of the time. Paul and I became active members of the local VFW POST #3177 where we do honor guard for our honorable fallen veterans at the Yellowstone National Cemetery and help the community out where ever we can. I love this VFW because of how unique we are compared to other VFWs. We care about our community and veterans on top of up to 3-5 times a week taking our time to fire the 21 GUN salute and play taps in honor of our lost brothers and sisters. Anyway, my Commander, Paul Tomae, at the VFW wanted me to do an interview with Jaci Webb at the Laurel Outlook. If there isn't something that describes what I love to do better than that article, I don't know what is. I've got it down below if you have time for a read.
I want to go on but I think I need a publisher to finish writing this book. If you want to know more, you know how to get ahold of me.
SHORT STORY (less than 100 words):
Combat Marine veteran, Reno and Marine best friend, Paul are broke after getting out of the military. They decide to build a t-shirt brand called Puck Fuddles, to sell shirts to raise money for veterans and pets while going to college. Couldn't afford food but spent money to get shirts made at a local screen printer. Decided to print own shirts, invested in equipment, and learned the trade. Angela (Reno's wife), Reno, and Paul decide to quit jobs and go full time in running a business in Laurel, Montana where they own a home on 20-acres. Paul and Reno are members of the Laurel VFW. Laurel Outlook wrote article. Look Below.