Southern Entrepreneurs: Nine Line Apparel and Their Foundation


Published:

Most entrepreneurs agree that timing is everything. Meet some of the south's most successful that have changed with the times or hit the market at just the right moment. 

It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that Nine Line Apparel, one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in the state, started on accident. But it wouldn’t be that far off.

“I always say, we really had no business in this industry at all, but we just kinda forced it,” said co-founder Daniel Merritt. “It turned out really well.”

When Daniel ended his career as active duty military five years ago, his plan was to come out and work with his brother Tyler at G.I. Custom, a promotional products company Tyler had already started. G.I. Customs enjoyed some success printing custom hats, T-shirts, patches and challenge coins, but their true mission became apparent when the two brothers begin printing T-shirts to help out a fellow veteran.

Eddie Kline, a West Point classmate of Tyler’s, had lost three limbs in Afghanistan and the Merritt brothers came up with the idea to give his family custom patriotic shirts they could sell to offset living expenses.

“Then I just said, why don’t we start a brand, and the emphasis of the brand would be that we can help give back to other service members,” said Daniel. “We started right out of the gate as a give-back organization. We started Nine Line Apparel, then the foundation, and it’s just grown from there.”

The clothing line and the foundation are linked by a mission suggested by their shared name: A Nine Line is a military term for an emergency medevac request that can often mean the difference between life and death for the most severely wounded soldiers. The Nine Line Foundation serves a similar purpose, giving much-needed financial assistance to the severely wounded soldiers and their families.

The apparel line, in contrast, approaches its mission with no small measure of attitude and what it calls “unapologetic patriotism.” One shirt, for example, lets you know that if you stomp the wearer’s flag, the wearer will stomp your ass. The other tells the world that the wearer is an “ammosexual.” You get the idea.

“There’s a huge segment of people who really loves the country and are proud to be American,” said Daniel. “We haven’t been shy about patriotic and coming out with edgy things.”

And that segment has not been shy about snapping up Nine Line gear as fast as it can be printed, giving the brand confidence to expand into new areas (they recently launched a coffee line and a wine label) and helping them make inroads into large retailers. “We’re in Cabela’s now, and every major big box store is in line to carry our products,” said Daniel. “It’s been a really wild ride.”

And one that has taken place in just a few short years, with the brand growing from three employees in Tyler’s garage to 140+ (largely veteran) in a 60,000-square-foot factory, with a customer base that has eclipsed Savannah to encompass the entire Southeast and beyond.

At a time when people are looking to support veteran-owned business, give back to wounded veterans and put Americans to work, Nine Line Apparel has been able to do all three.

"We haven’t been shy about being patriotic.”    – Daniel Merritt. 

 

<p p2"="">To read more about Nine Line Apparelsubscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South magazine. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

South's Greatest Moms Contest 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most authentic and sincere, southern moms. Taking nominations November 1st!

South's Greatest Photographers 2018

We're looking for the greatest, most creative photographers. If that is you, or you know of any, don't hesitate to nominate!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Events Calendar

  • Designer's Showcase: Dressed for the Season

    Nov 12, 2018
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM @ Kaminski House Museum

    The Kaminski House Museum in historic Georgetown, South Carolina will be dressing the rooms of the Kaminski House Museum this holiday season with...

  • Tybee Marsh Treks

    Sep 01, 2018
    4:00 PM - 5:00 PM @ Tybee Island Marine Science Center

    On a marsh trek, you’ll enjoy a hands-on exploration of Georgia’s salt marsh, searching the mud for fiddler crabs, snails, and more. Learn...

  • Capture a ‘paw‑fect’ pic

    Nov 19, 2018
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Oglethorpe Mall

    Bring your furry friends in for a pic with Santa, because pets are family too! Capture a special moment with your dog or cat to cherish for years...

  • Bonaventure Cemetery: After Hours Stories Eternal

    Nov 17, 2018
    5:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Bonaventure Cemetery

    Savannah's only after hours cemetery tour awaits! Few places are more invoking of Easter and life's great questions and mysteries than that...

  • Lights of the South

    Nov 16, 2018
    5:30 PM - 10:00 PM

  • Holiday Gospel Dinner Entertainment Cruise

    Dec 03, 2018
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM @ Savannah Riverboat Cruises

    Back by popular demand! Experience local Holiday Gospel entertainment and enjoy the savory flavors of the South! Don't miss out on this spectacular...

  • Rock N Roll Karaoke at Dos Gatos

    Nov 26, 2018
    9:00 PM - 11:00 PM @ Dos Gatos

    Rock N' Roll Karaoke with DJ Randall! Be a rockstar or just point and laugh! From 9pm. The best Monday night party in Jax for sure!

  • Toddler Touch Tanks

    Dec 06, 2018
    All Day @ UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium

    Explore the coast with your child in a unique setting perfect for inspiring wonder and curiosity! During select Thursdays in January and December,...

  • License to Chill Snow Island

    Nov 16, 2018
    All Day @ Margaritaville at Lanier Islands

    Margaritaville at Lanier Islands is preparing for a winter wonderland makeover that will surprise and delight local residents and travelers...

  • Skatefest

    Dec 07, 2018
    All Day @ Savannah Civic Center

  • FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AND WINDOW WONDERLAND

    Dec 01, 2018
    All Day @ Historic Downtown Brunswick

    Celebrate the holidays with festive lights and decorations, including creative displays in downtown windows and storefronts! Decorations will be up...

  • Greenbriar Children's Center Toy Drive with the SMC Partners

    Dec 04, 2018
    All Day

    Savannah businesses are uniting to assist a local nonprofit for the holidays! From December 4–17, the Savannah Master Calendar Partners...

  • 2018 National Gingerbread House Competition™ Display

    Nov 25, 2018
    All Day

    What started as a small group of gingerbread houses built by community members in 1992 has evolved into one of our most treasured traditions at The...

  • Santa's Wonderland

    Nov 14, 2018
    All Day @ Bass Pro Shops

    The magic returns to Bass Pro Shops and Savannah-area families are invited to enjoy this enchanting Christmas village offering FREE 4x6...

  • Lean Ensemble Theater presents Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck

    Dec 12, 2018
    7:30 PM - 9:30 PM @ HHPS Main Street Theatre

    Confessions of a single mother and self-described restaurant idiot-savant abound in this thoroughly charming, intoxicating and slyly sweet...

  • Little Women the Musical

    Dec 13, 2018
    All Day @ The Savannah Rep PLAYShop

    This all-new musical, based upon Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 19th century novel, vividly brings to life the March family of Concord,...

  • Audubon Christmas Bird Count

    Dec 14, 2018
    9:00 AM - 10:00 PM @ The Sea Pines Resort

    Help the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society as it works with communities across America, including Sea Pines, to conduct the annual Audubon...

  • Holiday Movie and Craft Night

    Dec 14, 2018
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Henny Penny

    We mush together two of the best ideas for a holiday night to remember! Get into the holiday spirit at Henny Penny - we'll be screening a...

  • Ben Tucker’s Birthday Holiday Dinner & Dance FUN-Raiser

    Dec 14, 2018
    6:30 PM - 10:30 PM @ Club Westin Savannah Harbor

    Please join the Friends of Ben Tucker on Friday night, December 14th, to honor and celebrate the life of our friend Ben Tucker with a...

  • 2nd Annual Tybee Christmas Cabaret

    Dec 15, 2018
    7:30 PM @ Tybee Post Theatre

    Do You Hear What I Hear? It’s time for the 2nd Annual Tybee Christmas Cabaret!  This year our lineup features Broadway writer,...


Show More...

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Scenes of the South

Beaujolais Nouveau Day 2018

Savannah's 39 Rue De Jean celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day, the official end of this year’s growing season. Harvest is complete and vintners—especially in France—are ready to celebrate the completion of the harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine that is annually released on the third Thursday in November. Nouveau wine undergoes a very short fermentation process, and yields an extremely fresh and fruity wine.

A Chefs Collaborative

This five course dinner held at Pacci Italian Kitchen and Bar allowed guests to taste exceptional flavors steeped in tradition. Included were the culinary skills of Chef Adam Barnett of The Katharine Brasserie & Bar, Winston-Salem, NC, Chef Robert Hoffman of Angeline’s Charlotte, NC, Chef Daniel Gorman of The Henley Nashville, TN, Chef Sebastien Rondier of Brabo, Alexandria, VA, and Chef Lauren Teague of PACCI Italian Kitchen + Bar.

East and West BBQ

A whole hog BBQ showcase, from two of the south’s most legendary Pitmasters, Pat Martin and Sam Jones. Hosted by Alida Hotel this event was a fabulous juxtaposition between Eastern North Carolina style BBQ and Western Tennessee style. Made possible by the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.

Savannah Food & Wine Fest

Hundreds came to experience Southern charm and hospitality, Savannah Style. The South's best culinary happenings - one exceptional week in Savannah. Iconic and historic coastal venues provided the perfect backdrop for gourmet and fun. South magazine captured the experience at the VIP tent.

Big Wig Boat Bash

Savannah's Riverboat, The Georgia Queen set sail to host the final fundraiser for the 2018 class of Big Wigs, together raising over $100,000 for the Susan G. Komen Coastal Georgia Foundation. This evening included heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages, a silent auction, music and dancing and a contest to crown the Biggest BigWig! Contest categories included: The Biggest Wig, The Pink Ribbon Award and Best Pink Personality.

Boo Bash

This spooktacular evening included hors d’oeuvres, “spirits,” music and dancing, a Halloween costume contest with cash prizes, Halloween-themed entertainment, a 50/50 raffle, live auction and talent contest. Contest categories included: Dancing, Singing, Rapping, Stand-up Comedy and Lip Syncing.

Masquerade at the Mansion

Plenty of patrons donned masks and beads for an unforgettable Mardi Gras at the Mansion. There unique entertainment, food, and decor including magic fire, beignets, king cake and a photo booth, plus music and dancing, libations, late-night treats, and lots of surprises.

DineSouth After Party

This year's DineSouth ended in a blast. Dozens headed over to Barrellhouse, who hosted the after party. They enjoyed great drinks and live music by Individually Twisted.

DineSouth 2018

This year's DineSouth sponsored by Fulfillment.com was the greatest yet! South magazine has once again put on a night filled with fantastic food and entertainment. Guests enjoyed delicious food & drinks in the city while getting the opportunity to meet and mingle with the best chefs in the South. The entertainment was amazing with American Idol winner Candice Glover, unique band Velvet Caravan and the acoustic sounds of Annie Allman. The event supported the local Salvation Army.

Grand Opening of 201 Seafood

Mixing the traditional tastes of the south with the local flair of the city, 201 Seafood and Tapas Lounge showcases Savannah's culinary community and their grand opening now gives us full access to some of the best seafood in the Coastal Empire.