Everybody knows that clothes make the man, but Daniel Wagner and Kyle Colligan are the men making the clothes this offseason.
The White Sox farmhands have started their own clothing line, LoQEE Inc., which is scheduled to make its online debut later this month. LoQEE may be a word of their own devising, but the pronunciation is meant to evoke a particular state of mind: low-key. Maintaining a low-key approach is crucial to Wagner and Colligan, good friends and roommates who met in 2009 and have played together on the 2010 Kannapolis Intimidators and 2011 Winston-Salem Dash.
"One day, Dan and I got back to the apartment after a game, sat down and just started brainstorming different ideas," explained Colligan, an outfielder selected in the 12th round of the 2009 Draft. "We decided that we'd launch a clothing line in the offseason, and when we started throwing names out there, LoQEE just fit perfectly."
According to Wagner and Colligan, a LoQEE state of mind is one in which you keep things in perspective and don't sweat the small stuff.
"We want people to realize that LoQEE stands for a lifestyle -- it's an attitude that can get you out of a stressful situation," said Wagner, a second baseman who played in 132 games with the Dash this past season. "Sometimes I'll start to get mad about something and Kyle will be like 'Come on, keep it LoQEE now.' He's right, and that's what we want people to see."
It's not surprising that this attitude is so wholeheartedly embraced by Wagner and Colligan, who have spent the last two years learning how to navigate the day-in, day-out grind of the baseball season. In that environment, an even temperament is crucial. But though the duo hopes that fellow Minor Leaguers will be receptive to its product, the two are by necessity aiming for a larger consumer base.
"We're going for a casual look, but at the same time high-end; the kind of stuff people wear every day but that you can also wear when you're going out," Colligan said. "Our V-necks and crew necks have a classy look and solid colors, and the hoodies are also going to look really nice."
The LoQEE project was launched during the season, with Wagner enrolling in an e-commerce class to learn how to deal with what he calls "the legal stuff." The company is incorporated in his home state of North Carolina, and the clothing is in the production phase.
"As soon as we get this first line out, our next goal is to be in direct contact with a manufacturer, someone who can cut, sew, print, label and bag everything all in one place," Wagner explained. "Because right now, we're going through growing pains when it comes to the different places we have to go to get things done. We have to take the fabrics one place to get them embroidered and then another to get the labels. ... It's a lot of running around."
Wagner and Colligan are currently based in Kannapolis, N.C. (where Wagner is from), but the duo plans to move its base of operations to Colligan's hometown of Houston. No matter the location, their entrepreneurial endeavors have to be balanced with preparing for next season.
"The majority of our training we do in the morning. We get our lifts in and run and then do what needs to be done," Wagner said. "The offseason can be unbelievably boring if you don't have anything else going on; you can't work out all day. If I'm bored, I go crazy, so this has been really good for me."
If all goes according to plan, LoQEE will become far more than a temporary offseason diversion.
"Baseball's a crazy game and a crazy business. You never know when you're going to get hurt, you never know what's going to happen," said Wagner. "What happens if you get hurt at 28 or 29 and your career's over? You've been out of school six or seven years, so then it's like, 'What now?'
"It's always smart to have something going on the side, to have another potential source of income. And Lord knows, Minor League baseball players aren't making much money anyway."