On June 18, amid rumors of Brett Favre's talks with the Minnesota Vikings, the national sports blog Deadspin posted a link to a Madison website. It was for a green-and-yellow T-shirt with the image of Favre and the state of Wisconsin with the words, "We'll Never Forget You, Brent." But most of those who clicked the link to buy the shirt got an error message.
"It crashed our site," says Troy Vosseller, owner of Sconnie Nation, a T-shirt shop on State Street that sells the shirt via Sconnie.com. The design, which came from a customer who wandered into the store after Favre signed with the New York Jets last summer, has become the company's best-seller.
"It wasn't big at first because there wasn't that much animosity toward Brett at the time," says Vosseller, a UW-Madison law school student from Brown Deer. "But as things started heating up in the off-season with the Vikings, that's when we started pushing it a little more. Since then, it's really taken off virally. It shows how the sentiment has changed toward Favre."
It's also inspired Vosseller to review his business strategy, expanding on the merchandise sold under the "Sconnie" trademark he helped develop five years ago.
"Our slogan has always been 'Celebrating the Wisconsin lifestyle,' so anything that fits in with that is something we're interested in," he says. "I see us moving more toward reacting quickly to things in the news or pop culture, what Wisconsinites are talking about, and being able to create a batch of shirts within a couple days."