Marylhurst alum Horace Long ’10 is making a splash with his T-shirt business, The Bearded Heart.
Horace Long creates T-shirts that are “sprinkled with a whole lotta love, a dash of sarcasm and chock-full of absurdities” according to The Bearded Heart website. His most popular designs include an eerily beautiful Morticia Addams, a mermaid reminiscent of vintage pin-up girls, and a “double octopus.”
Based in North Carolina, Horace’s tees can be found in his own shop in downtown Wilmington, in other boutiques, and as a regular feature in arts-and-crafts shows including the Durham Art Walk Holiday Market, the Waterfront Markets and the American Craft Walk.
Horace started designing T-shirts back in 2010, but it’s only in last two years that he has seen business really take off, with regular orders from stores and customers across the United States and into Mexico, reported the Wilmington Biz in September 2017.
It was participating in trade shows such as Magic, the massive Las Vegas clothing and accessory trade show, that gave his little company a big boost. “They’re looking for what would fit their demographic, what’s trending now,” Horace told the Wilmington Biz.
Before the T-shirt business took off, Horace was making a living as a commercial photographer and graphic designer. When he lived in Portland, he was the art director for Just Out, the monthly LGBTQ magazine.
It was also in Portland – specifically, at Marylhurst University – that his T-shirt business grew from vision to reality.
When the recession was taking hold in 2008, savvy individuals saw it as an opportunity to expand their knowledge and skill set, returning to school to get an advanced degree. Horace was one of many, yet he stood out from all the other graduate students at Marylhurst.
“I just kept doing T-shirt projects, so I became known as the T-shirt guy around campus,” he said.
While T-shirts are the mainstay at The Bearded Heart, Horace also produces hoodies, napkins, tea towels and just about any quality item that complements his irreverent screen-printed designs. He plans to expand into a bar line including bar towels, pint glasses and shot glasses in 2018.
Horace Long earned his MBA from Marylhurst University in 2010.