curt, kit, adam

An ambitious plan to brand an abstract concept and push it out nationally is gaining traction with the help of a thoughtfully-designed logo, partnerships, tees and hoodies.

Kit Mueller and Adam Paulisick are the brains behind Fygment, a branding movement that hopes to do for entrepreneurship what Bono’s Project Red is doing for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Pittsburgh will be the first beneficiary.

Mueller is the self-proclaimed chief evangelist of RustBuilt, a group he founded to promote the Pittsburgh startup scene. Paulisick has impressive international experience in digital research, marketing and analytics; he was also an early member of BuzzMetrics, now part of Nielsen.

“We began meeting last year,” explains Mueller, unpacking the story of how it came about. “We asked ourselves how do we do something that’s transformational, that supports entrepreneurship in all its flavors. We looked around and decided there is no real brand for entrepreneurship to support makers and doers.”

The next step was to create a striking logo that conveys the essence of entrepreneurship, a print of a skull and butterfly. Tees and hoodies were the first locally produced products to roll out and 700 have sold so far. Another 14 projects are in the wings.

Fifteen percent of gross revenues from the products sold will go to into funding microgrants for local entrepreneurs, which may include anything from training to classes, tech shops and equipment, says Mueller.

“In the era of TOMS and Warby Parker, there’s a whole groundswell of funding causes,” he adds. “What Nike is to sports, our brand will be for entrepreneurship.”

Fygment is still in the early stages of organization, working out of the Beauty Shoppe in East Liberty. The overall mission is to begin building  community beginning in Pittsburgh and moving across the country. Partners in the project include like-minded people in Brooklyn, San Francisco and Chicago, all Pittsburgh expats who want to help spread the word.

“Our whole thing is to get people unstuck,” Mueller says. “We think there’s a lot of latent talent. We want to identify these geniuses in hiding. Celebrate people making stuff. It will be a national brand for entrepreneurship.”

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared in Fast Company, Ozy and Pittsburgh Magazine.