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Three Meffa guys start clothing line

Posted by Marcia Dick  April 26, 2010 10:04 AM

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Johnny Cunningham in a No R Lifestyle T-shirt.

The broad “a” sound and lack of “r” that makes up the infamous Boston accent can be heard in Medford and Somerville. To many Bostonians, the dialect is more than just an accent. And for this reason David “Buddy” Hanley Jr., Johnny Cunningham, and Matt Taylor — all Medford natives — founded the apparel company, No R Lifestyle.

shirt5.jpg “Johnny and I were talking about how crazy the Boston sports scene was at the time — the Sox and the Pats had recently won championships and the Celtics had just made key acquisitions,” said Hanley, 25, who also works as an operations supervisor for a business processing company. “We then started talking about how New Englanders are different than the rest of the country and Johnny started talking about how the Boston accent is more than an accent; it’s a lifestyle. The minute he said that phrase I knew we had something.”

No R Lifestyle is a trademarked apparel company that has products boasting the Boston skyline and tagline “No R Lifestyle: Not just an accent.” From short sleeve shirts to hooded sweatshirts and bumper stickers, the business offers a variety of goods that represent Boston and its notorious vernacular.

Cofounders Hanley, Cunningham, and Taylor, who met playing baseball together when they were 14 years old, bounced the idea of the No R Lifestyle brand off of one another for over a year before the company came to fruition. Finally in November of 2007, they decided to turn their idea into a reality and had a batch of gray T-shirts printed with the No R Lifestyle tagline.

“We wore our shirts around the gym and to restaurants and bars,” Hanley said. “We got enough compliments and questions that we decided to make more, form a company and create a Website. We sold our first shirt in January of 2009 and now we’re closing in on number 1,000.”

Cunningham, 25, who works for the Essex court system, said the overwhelming interest in the motto is what makes the company worthwhile.

“My favorite part is seeing people that we don’t know actually wearing and buying our merchandise,” he said. “I like to wear a No R shirt when I travel and people always ask about it. It’s a cool feeling to know that something we created out of nowhere people like and are willing to buy.”

The founders of No R Lifestyle said the number one challenge for the business has been getting the product into retail stores. The company does most of its sales at vendor booths and displays — having been most successful at the Topsfield Fair last year, selling more than 300 shirts. No R Lifestyle apparel is currently sold online and in two Boston stores: University Station and J. Pace & Son sub shop.

“The biggest and most frustrating challenge is getting into stores,” Cunningham said. “It seems that at every retail spot we contact they are not buying ‘unproven’ merchandise and in order to be proven you have to be in retail shops so it’s sort of a double-edged sword.”

The ultimate goal for the three friends is to make their clothes so mainstream that the phrase “No R Lifestyle” becomes synonymous with Boston and the New England area.

“We want No R Lifestyle to symbolize the way people live in this area,” said Cunningham. “The people here are hard working, blue collar people who take pride in calling Boston or New England home and our brand symbolizes that.”
 

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