Deployed Servicemen Create Apparel Brand ’12 Series’ Geared to Inspire Fitness
(Pictured above: Sam Klimko, Chris Braun, Greg Cox, Taylor Brumfield, and Dakota Clifton at Forell Barbell in Shippenville, Pa.)
“It may have been the 120-degree heat,” Braun told exploreClarion.com, “But I told my friends that I wanted to create an apparel company.”
Braun, who is now the Director of Accounts for 12 Series, explained that “it just popped into my mind about creating a brand and apparel company. I brought it over to (Greg) Cox and Taylor (Brumfield) and told them my idea for 12 Series. They said that it was a good idea and were in on it from the start.”
Fellow Army Serviceman and current CEO of 12 Series Taylor Brumfield added that “Chris just had this idea in his head, and he came to us with it, and we all loved it.”
From that moment, Braun, Brumfield, Cox, and comrade Samuel Klimko got together and put the vision of the “12 Series” brand in motion.
“Myself, Cox, Tay, and Klimko all started brainstorming and creating t-shirts and hoodies,” Braun said.
The 12 Series brand was established and trademarked in August 2022.
Brumfield explained the planning phase of the business.
“We all like working together, and we know each other really well. We have what we think are some pretty good ideas. We made some designs and see if people liked them,” Brumfield said.
“Six designs were finalized, and people loved them, and it’s just been snowballing from there ever since.”
They had the first batch of shirts shipped to them overseas where they checked the quality of the apparel.
“We ended up doing shirts for the whole unit we were deployed with,” Brumfield added.
All American Awards and Engraving, a screen printing shop in Shippenville, Pa., does all the printing for 12 Series.
Brumfield emphasized they chose a company where quality is prioritized.
“We’ve been focusing on this tri-blend material that keeps you cool, not heavy and baggy. You’re not going to be soaked in sweat and it feels good to wear,” he added.
And so far, the reviews have been stellar.
“The feedback has been great from everyone who has bought shirts. Now we just got to get our name out there,” Brumfield added.
Braun noted they want to keep everything as local as possible.
“I’ve known about All American for years. I went to Keystone High School and went to school with people involved in the business,” Braun noted.
What does the name “12 Series” mean?
The name comes from the group’s MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), which is the label for their job/occupation in the military.
Brumfield explained, “12 Series is all engineers. From combat engineers to plumbers to electricians to heavy equipment operators to firefighters and survey guys, all of them fall under that 12 Series label.”
The founders of “12 Series,” who are all still serving, are heavy equipment operators in the Army. (Brumfield noted, “Just think dozers and excavators.”)
The Missions of 12 Series
Although most of the sales for the company are online, Braun added that “some of our customers will see us in public either wearing a shirt or one of our shirts on someone else at the gym, and they’ll ask us about it. So, we carry extras around for those occasions.”
The founders of 12 Series have even given away apparel occasionally.
“If I see someone working hard at the gym, I’ll hand out a shirt and tell them ‘Keep on going!” Braun said with a grin.
The 12 Series brand is influenced by the founders’ fascination with fitness.
“We all love the gym. That’s all we did when we were overseas. Eat, sleep, and lift. It’s what we looked forward to,” Braun said.
The self-proclaimed “gym junkies” have a vision of getting more involved in the lifting side, and the apparel company reflects that lifestyle.
“The apparel is geared towards the lifestyle of bettering yourself and striving and making your life something. It’s not just lifting; it’s the drive and motivation to want to better yourself.”
The company makes form-fitting t-shirts and hoodies, as well as hats and tanks, for both men and women.
The business is also a way for the four founders to remain close and keep in contact regularly.
“It’s a way to keep us together and to keep us motivated because oftentimes when you come home, you lose a lot. You come home and things are different…a lot changes in just a year. This keeps us moving together,” Braun stated.
Brumfield mirrored Braun’s sentiments.
“It’s kept us close. These guys are my best friends now. I mean, we talk every day. We’ve traveled back and forth to see each other, not as much as we’d like- life gets in the way, but it’s been awesome having these guys.”
The founders share a passion for supporting the community, so they plan to sponsor and promote special events.
“We’re all passionate about this. This is something we want to see succeed. Not just for us, but so we can support the communities that supported us. We want to have the ability to give back,” Braun said.
Brumfield explained that 12 Series is making custom shirts for a police event in the spring.
“A friend of mine is a police officer in Connecticut, and they’re doing an event from Connecticut to New Jersey in the spring, so we’re going to sponsor his department during that event. We’re making a donation to their cause and making them custom shirts,” Brumfield said.
The company is working on a “Remember Everyone Deployed” (RED) campaign.
The Founders of 12 Series
The four founders all have certain roles in the business and that is because they excel at different things.
Taylor Brumfield: Taylor, who grew up on a horse farm outside Philadelphia, is the CEO of 12 Series. Taylor’s leadership style and the respect and trust he earned from his friends while he was squad leader make him the perfect person for this position.
Chris Braun: According to Brumfield, Chris has always been good at accounting and financials, so he was appointed the Director of Accounts of 12 Series. Chris’ experience in the military has given him some invaluable training that translates to his business and civilian life, so he monitors the financial life of 12 Series.
Greg Cox: Greg, a native of Altoona, is the Director of Marketing of 12 Series. He was chosen for this role, as he is the artist out of the group. It is his innate characteristic of being the most outgoing that makes him ideal for this position.
“I want to walk out of the gym, or anywhere really, and see people wearing 12 Series. Even now when I see it I go ‘That’s my company.’ that’s the coolest thing ever,” Greg told exploreClarion.com.
Samuel Klimko: As Chief Operating Officer, Klimko–known as the company’s jack of all trades–is trusted by his comrades to accomplish any task. He handles the inventory and approves new designs before they are brought to the entire group.
“My favorite part isn’t even being the COO. It’s all about working with three of my best friends I deployed with, and we’re trying to make something work together. It’s awesome,” Klimko said.
To shop 12 Series apparel and learn more, visit https://12seriesbrandco.com/.
(The above photo was taken at the Microtel in Clarion, right off I-80, where the founders worked on designs and proofs.)
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