Tuesday, April 4, 2017

More Than Just a Shirt

After serving in the US Army for 13 years, Daniel Alarik found it hard to transition from the Active Duty Military life to the regular civilian life. After struggling to find and keep a stable job, Alarik decided to continue a small business making motivational military t-shirts he started with some friends while still in the Army. He moved back to Illinois in 2011 after retirement and ran his business out his small apartment with only one employee naming it Grunt Style. After much research, demand, and hard work, Grunt Style has grown now grown to employ nearly 200 US veterans and patriots and recognition by US service men and women all over the world.

More than just a shirt, one of Alarik's main goals was to create a place where military veterans could work and call home. In an interview with the Daily Herald, Alarik said,  "You go from... whatever I do, I may live or die or the guy next to me may live or die. You go from that decision process to all of a sudden, what tie should I wear today? It's almost depressing. On top of that, nobody around you can really understand." Relating to Laird D. McLean's article "Organizational Culture's Influence on Creativity and Innovation: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Human Resource Development," Alarik was able to connect the organizational culture of the military to his creative brand. Using the framework and culture he had experienced while in the military, Alarik designed his business model to create that environment of camaraderie where each employee felt like family to each other. Alarik was able to, in a sense, create a home away from home for these military veterans. Each employee is able to blend into this 'civilian' job while still maintaining the 'military' lifestyle they have gotten used to over there years of service. The people at Grunt Style understand each other and work for the success of each other. They think more about what they're doing for others than how much they're next pay check is going to be. "They provide more than apparel, they instill pride."





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  2. I really enjoy this idea because I feel that all too often, the adjustment back to "normal life" for active duty personnel is altogether a rough transition. This solution allows for a smoother transition as well as integrates military community and aspects of both lifestyles, all while also creating a new product. I would be interested in hearing more about the shirts that Grunt Style designs and what they are doing to help military veterans adjust back to life at home. I would also be interested to hear more about Alarik's creative process and decision to design shirts over other possibilities.

  3. It is extremely difficult for anyone to understand what it's like for a veteran to get adjusted back into society. Things we take for granted in our every day lives are challenges for these veterans. I love seeing products and services that help make the transition back into life outside of war just a little bit easier for these veterans. It's also great to see a former veteran doing something to help others, by doing something as simple as creating motivational shirts.

  4. I love this idea. Post-return depression is a very real struggle that many veterans face, but as someone who has not experienced anything like that, I would find it hard to help somebody going through it. I love that he took initiative to help himself and his fellow veterans in a sustainable way. Here, they can lean on each other while also generating income.

    As Haley mentioned, I would love to hear more about Grunt Style, what the shirts are, their success, and their plans for the future. Creating a business with an environment for veterans is a great idea, but it's scary to think that if the business is not successful, the veterans could lose this comfort as well. What are some organizational ideas he took from the military to apply to his organization? How are they applicable across different models and are they successful? Based on your post, it seems that this is a working model that Alarik and his employees appreciate. I hope all goes well with his business.


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