First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel
In the Sentinel office, we’re huge fans of the Bravo TV show, Southern Charm. And if we had to pick one cast member to hang out with, it would definitely be Shep Rose, the well-educated party boy with a heart of gold that could arguably be America’s BFF.
(Or at least, the Sentinel’s pretend BFF.)
So when we discovered that he and his friends Jason Benjamin and Claude Pope started a company called Shep Gear, we were intrigued.
After following their Instagram account – where you’ll see photos of Shep Gear fans wearing their products across the globe – I bought a hat to see what the fuss was about.
As soon as I pulled the crisp lid out of the box, I instantly became a fan of the brand, too.
The hats aren’t some cheap, gimmicky product that you’d wear a few times and forget about.
These are quality caps that will last and the perfect gift for the hat-wearer in your life.
We asked Shep a few questions about the company and, like a Southern gentleman, he obliged.
Q: To get down to brass tacks, how did y’all meet and whose idea was it to start Shep Gear?
A: We were all friends in the city of Charleston (South Carolina). I saw a hat with an American flag patch at a party in Montgomery, Alabama and I decided to make a few.
People loved them.
I noticed on Instagram you’ve made several people “Shep Gear Ambassadors”. What made your current ambassadors stand out?
Jason (one of the co-founders) found a guy partying in one of our shirts and he made a meme out of it. I loved it and we contacted him.
He seems cool.
Not to overly gush, but your hat is the best I’ve ever worn. Perfect fit right out of the box which, I’m sure, is a reason why so many people love your gear. How would you explain Shep Gear to someone that hasn’t heard of it before?
It’s casual wear for sure.
I’m a sucker for hats, so now I just make them. Which means there’s a lot more laying around, lots of clutter.
We are always adjusting the fit. It’s important that when people put on the shirts or hats, they are comfortable.
Also, soft tee’s are a must.
I interviewed Bryan Derrickson of BDVibez and he had nothing but wonderful things to say about y’all, particularly how much Shep Gear gives back (i.e. Hurricane Irma and Florence victims, volunteering with the community). Could you please share ways Shep Gear gives back?
Yeah, easy decisions.
When there’s a place that’s affected by some sort of disaster or event and is laced with personal meaning to any of us, we try to help with relief funds by selling shirts or hats. People like it and it commemorates what people went through.
It’s important to remember, I think.
Shep, I know you’re a surfer. Have you been to Santa Barbara or surfed in California?
I’ve never surfed in California (for no apparent reason)!
I like to go to Malpais, Costa Rica and Playa Gigante, Nicaragua.
I’m looking for new destinations as we speak.
What stories related to California can you share?
I love Venice Beach and have a bunch of friends there.
Also, I have a few friends in San Diego I made when I randomly (and serendipitously) scored an invite to Scott Eastwood’s 30th birthday.
I think Santa Barbara is to Dane Reynolds – he’s my favorite surfer and I follow his amazing funny and creative wife on Instagram.
And my stories from San Fransisco can only be relayed with a lawyer in my presence – too good of times up there with my boys.