SCARBOROUGH, Maine — What does it mean to ‘live Maine?’
If you ask Chris Avantaggio, it means a lot of different things: love, fish, beer, etc.
The Maine native created his Maine-born lifestyle brand LiveME (Live Maine) completely by chance.
“It started kind of by accident,” he said.
A group of friends asked him to make t-shirts for them to wear to the annual Maine Brewers Festival. The neon orange shirts simply read ‘BeerME’ surrounded by an outline of the state.
"It just kind of stuck,” Avantaggio said. “I didn't really think much of it. I had a friend literally sell one off his back"
That was ten years ago. Now the LiveME brand is sold around the world all from Avantaggio’s basement in Scarborough.
Shirts, hats, decals, mugs and more all with the outline of that same outline of the state surrounding a verb and ‘ME.’
Much of the sale are online, but LiveME products are also available in select stores and at different events across the state.
Every single order is processed by hand among a row of plastic shelving filled with t-shirts and hats and a makeshift desk that has become Avantaggio’s at-home warehouse space.
"It's a lot of work but it's rewarding,” he said.
When he is not folding, packing or coming up with the next discount to offer customers, Avantaggio works full-time as the Art Director at The VIA Agency in Portland.
Those skills came in handy for the product design and website, but he admits he was not ready to run a business.
So (with a little help from some friends and mentors) he just let everything he loves about Maine guide him. Turns out that love is shared by people pretty much everywhere.
“It's awesome to see where it's going and see how people are proud to represent the state they love,” Avantaggio said. “It’s a hustle for sure.”
You can find out more about LiveME and see the products at LiveMEMaine.com.