Pelican brand takes flight at USD

By Henry Kittle

Whether you’ve noticed the snapback hats with “Pelican” sewed in cursive around campus, they’re out there and there’s more coming.

The forces behind the hat, and its accompanying line of apparel are Steven Melendez of Los Angeles and Tyler Howard of Central Coast, California.

The two USD sophomores launched “Pelican” three months ago after getting the idea last summer.

“We chose the name Pelican because of its simplicity and coastal feeling. The water bird itself is a representation of the mood we are trying to set as you will often find a pelican relaxing in the sun on a pier or gliding across a wave,” said Melendez, the brand’s product designer.

Pelican has been selling products directly to the founders’ friends and fellow students around campus as well as on their official website, which continues to be built upon.

Melendez discussed what kind of image the company is looking to convey and where they plan on focusing their advertising resources.

“Our marketing plan is to target a younger generation including teens, college students and young adults, who are attracted to the beauty and relaxing vibes of coastal communities. We are trying to incorporate the feeling of urban surf and skate subcultures through the images and designs on our clothing,” said Melendez.

Recently, Howard, an accounting major who handles the company’s finances, brought a third member to the Pelican team.

Thaddeus Berg, a sophomore accounting major, will focus on web design and online marketing development.

“A clean online presentation that shows the quality of the products is key” said Berg.

The clothing industry is relatively easy to enter, but very hard to compete in. Melendez thinks his team is up to the task.

“Our biggest challenge is receiving enough funding to create the clothing we would like to sell. All of our expenditures have come out of our own pockets” said Melendez.
Another challenge is finding enough time to run a business while being a full time student.

“Running a company is a huge time commitment” said Melendez.

So far, it seems Pelican’s designs have been well received by the USD students.

Their signature snapback hat with “Pelican” sewed in cursive across the front panel seems especially popular. It’ll only be a matter of time before other signature clothing items start to catch on among students.

“The hats are fresh. I bought one two weeks ago and have worn it everyday since,” said junior Garrett Wax.