Entrepreneur May 9th, 2017
In 2008, brothers Leo and John Resig founded their insanely popular Web site The Chive based on three pillars: “humor, hotness and humanity.”
Nine years and a bazillion clicks later, the brothers added a fourth pillar to their brand’s identity: golf.
But it’s not just any golf, it’s William Murray Golf.
The Chive, known for its offbeat T-shirts almost as much as its offbeat content, recently announced the launch of this new line of high-performance golf apparel created by the sultan of swing himself, Bill Murray, with his tight-knit band of Murray brothers.
So how did Leo and John, two guys from the Midwest, build a media empire and form a relationship with the famously impossible to reach comedy icon? John puts it succinctly: “It started because we owed Bill Murray a lot of money.”
I spoke with the guys as William Murray Golf hit the cyber shelves of The Chivery, the site’s more-than-robust ecommerce site. Here are some of the highlights of their long and winding journey to Murray.
Leo and John Resig
What is a business meeting with Bill Murray like?
Leo Resig: First of all, Bill has to show up! And he does, but you never know when he’s going to walk through the door.
John Resig: The legend is true—you really can’t get a hold of the man. He has no agent and has an 800-number that you can leave a message on.
How involved was he with the design?
LR: Bill and his equally funny and quirky brothers worked on this, Bill just happens to be the logo. He’s the Jumpman, in a sense. We were really afraid Bill was going to come in and have really over-the-top ideas and it’d be really hard to tell Bill no, but he was very thoughtful and cared about feedback.
JR: He is very detail oriented. A lot of his outfits you see him wear out on the golf course look accidental. They’re not. At all. He thinks them through. And that same thought went into every article in the William Murray Golf line. We have a shirt covered with about 60 highball glasses on it. They were all uniform and Bill looked at it and said, “You know John, if you’re going to have that many whiskey glasses, a few of them should be spilled.” And he was right! We’re going to sell a straw hat and he held it up to the light and he said, “The sun is going to penetrate this and older gentlemen who are bald are going to get sunburn on their head. So we need to tighten up the thatching.” And he was exactly right. That’s the level he was involved.
OK, let’s take a step back. How did you connect with him in the first place?
JR: It started because we owed Bill Murray money.
LR: Years ago when we first started The Chive, John and I took our parents to the Santa Monica farmers market and we saw this guy wearing a T-shirt with a sketch portrait of Bill Murray on it. I told him I loved it and asked where I could buy it. He said, “You can’t buy it, I just made it for myself.” And I asked why he made it and he said, “Because everyone loves Bill Murray.” And I thought that was so right! So I went home and designed the first version of the BFM, which stands for Bill Fucking Murray. And we just started printing. Things like copyright just never crossed our mind. If anything we were like, “hey, if this gets big, maybe Bill will want to work with us.”
We will get back to you soon.