From selling T-shirts at music festivals to the September opening of their Newbury Street shop, Casey Paton and Mark Lisavich have come a long way since founding apparel brand Encore in 2014. That’s when the New England natives and Villanova frat brothers reconnected a decade after college. They were at a crossroads in their lives, with Lisavich deciding to leave his gig at Raytheon to pursue design and Paton exiting the New York finance world and moving his family back to Boston. Soon, the duo funneled their passion for music into the brand, working mostly weekends to connect with customers.
“Our tagline is, ‘Life is short. Play it loud,’ ” Paton says. “It has a music piece to it, but also it’s about doing stuff in life and getting out there and pursuing what you want to pursue.” With original designs for men and women ranging from their “skullnote” logo to moody photographic treatments, Paton hopes the apparel appeals to the creative spirit inside everyone.
Since each T-shirt is packaged in a custom record sleeve, it’s no surprise that the Back Bay boutique is inspired by vintage record stores. It’s as much a community space as a retail destination, with records for customers to browse and a lounge area that Paton hopes will see intimate concerts or band meet-and-greets. Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament already popped in while the band was in town in September.
As for the ultra-soft shirts themselves, they don’t just feel good—they’re doing good, too. “From the beginning, we really wanted to have a socially responsible component to the business,” Paton says. They decided to partner with nonprofits, even helping Charlestown High relaunch its music department. Now, with every 50 shirts sold, Encore donates a free guitar to a high school or charitable organization. “We want kids to have the opportunity to pick up an instrument,” he says. “You never know what door that could open for them in the long term.”
Encore 303 Newbury St., Boston encoreapparel.com