Matt Moreau didn’t set out to start a business. He didn’t set out to found a textile design company with a national reach and an environmental impact. In fact, he didn’t even want to get into the industry to begin with. “I actually wasn’t trying to get into printing at all,” admits Moreau, co-owner and founder of Dapper Ink. “Originally, I wanted to get into publishing and work in art that way. I learned to screen-print in school and [printing t-shirts] was just a good way to make a little bit of side money.”
Although unintentional, Moreau’s side hustle quickly found a grassroots grip on the Greenville community. With the help and guidance of wife and co-owner, Jen, the young artist soon built a client base big enough to warrant not only a full-time job but a budding business, as well. What had started as an at-home project was quickly evolving into an organization all its own.
“We started in the loft of our house,” Moreau explains. “We turned the bedroom into the office and the bathroom into the dark room. It was a mess. You could tell what color shirt we were printing that week based on the color of our filters. So, once we reached critical mass and client base, we realized we needed a bigger space.”
That need resulted in a headquarters at Hampton Station and a flagship store on Wade Hampton Boulevard. With a little more room to operate, the couple slowly started buying equipment, recruiting a staff, and taking on as many clients as they could handle. “In typical Dapper Ink fashion, we bit off more than we could chew,” Moreau jokes. “We went at it hard for a couple years, and I’d be working nights and weekends. You can only do that for so long before you burn out, and that’s exactly what happened. I hit a point where I couldn’t print another t-shirt.”
Print Heavy // Matt and Jen Moreau (above) are the owners of Dapper Ink, which includes The Landmark Project, their creative ode to the outdoors. The Landmark Project’s print designs feature national and regional parks and celebrated outdoor spaces.
With her husband under the pressure of creative burnout, Jen suggested that Matt return to his artistic roots, and start designing from what inspired him most—the great outdoors. Focusing first on landmarks of the Upstate community, Moreau printed three Ts to commemorate local favorites, Jones Gap, Table Rock, and Lake Jocassee. With nothing to lose and little expectation for the project, Moreau took the shirts to a local craft show and caught the eye of a representative in the outdoor-apparel industry. It wasn’t long before the shirts found their way into local outfitters and, within a couple of years, national retailers.
Today The Landmark Project stands as its own outdoor-apparel brand, one committed to inspiring and capturing adventure across the continental U.S. Branching beyond Moreau’s three Ts, the project now showcases a variety of beloved landmarks from the Grand Canyon to the Appalachian Trail, across a wide assortment of merchandise.
“We want to foster a community of conservation and inclusivity,” Moreau says of the brand’s goals. “We want to inspire adventure at all levels of experience as well as an appreciation for the environment.”
Such appreciation is apparent in everything that the project creates. With 10 percent of every purchase donated to the local non-profit Great Outdoor Adventure Trips, and apparel partnerships with the U.S. Forestry Service, The Landmark Project is so much more than a clothing company. As the organization continues to grow, Moreau hopes to keep it that way.
To view their collection of T-shirts, hats, stickers, and more, visit thelandmarkproject.com.