The Road To NFQ (Mike's Story)

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The Road To NFQ (Mike's Story)
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Contrary to popular belief, I did not start NFQ.  Taylor did. This was something I brought back with me after each school I completed in the pipeline, it’s something that really stuck with me during the rigors faced in the pipeline.  Never Fucking Quit.  Through divorce, injury, setbacks; it stayed with me.  Never Fucking Quit.  I had a goal to become a beret wearer and continue the tradition many have held before me. 
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I was going through AST (Advanced Skills Training) which is the final bulk of training before you go to your operational team.  Taylor started NFQ as just an idea on Instagram to help motivate others, he asked for some of my input and we began collabing on content solely…no merchandise. I would write counter-culture type posts to get a few laughs and show a slight glimpse from behind the curtain. We quickly gained a following from the military audience because we were relevant, charismatic, and had a different approach than what was available then.  Taylor began messing around with creating designs and bought a heat press to make some shirts to pass around the gym at Cannon AFB, Clovis, New Mexico sometime early in 2016.  We posted a few pictures of us wearing the shirts and soon enough we had a small customer base.  I was pretty busy with my training schedule, so I couldn’t contribute much; Taylor was also in Clovis while I was in Florida during this time.  So, I would just write and take some pictures out in the field and send them to Taylor to post.  I wasn’t very loud about it at first, but for the guys that knew about it on my team, they loved it.  We were able to create something from the CCT community and my safety briefs were a good laugh for us.
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I was bringing a different influence that people just liked, for whatever reason, and Taylor was constantly creating better content to match the writing.  As NFQ began to grow, so did a lot of envy. This never spilled over to me in person; I had heard of a few guys trying to talk trash about me because I hadn’t deployed yet and that I was not deserving of the success that NFQ was experiencing…which really opened my eyes.  I thought this was a brotherhood?  Why wouldn’t you be happy for your brother doing well for himself?
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I had served three and a half years as a dental tech and two years as a beret wearer, the rest of my time was spent retraining and getting screwed by the Air Force.  I received my orders to the 23rdSpecial Tactics Squadron and found out I was going to be assigned to a Survey team (they had recently divided the teams into Strike teams and Global Access), which is not exactly why I wanted to be a CCT.  I retrained to make a difference.  I’ve always felt like I am capable of more and that I can do something that not everyone may be able to do; I love my family and my country, I wanted to serve at the most elite level.  I wanted to cleanse and annihilate.  I wanted nothing more than to wreak havoc on an enemy of what I love. I trained my body relentlessly to prepare for what I was seeking.  So, hearing that I wouldn’t get that opportunity until after a few rotations on a survey team didn’t sit too well with me. I was 2 weeks from graduating AST and about 2 months before my separation date (I was on the fence for re-enlisting and wanted to see if I could extend for two years instead of re-enlisting for another four years, and if I was going to re-enlist I wanted to do it on a plane before a Military Freefall, so I had held off to see how things would play out).
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I was unsatisfied with the military in general, as a lot of things were not how I expected them to be. I had spent my youth searching for something that might not have been for me.  Maybe this all didn’t play out because I wasn’t meant to go to war.  I could re-enlist for another four years and do something I wasn’t content with OR I could put all of this effort and drive into something else.  What if we make something out of this?  What if, we can promote this mindset that has forged great men and find a way to apply it to the masses…what if we can slowly change the tide of the way this world is headed by changing people’s attitudes.  To not approach life as victims, but to take challenges head on and constantly live the pursuit of bettering ourselves.
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Taylor and I had many discussions about where we could and where we should take NFQ.  We decided to make it an accurate portrayal of our current lifestyles.  While we were in the military, we had a very military style approach…that approach has morphed into many things.  We found markets we didn’t know we had access to through trial and error.  We started out with making shirts and had an insane turn out.  We went from pressing them out by hand to hiring Industry Threadworks as our manufacturer, our workload steadily increased as we began providing different products.  Once we produced our first pair of performance shorts, we knew we struck gold. We found what the market was missing. Anyone can produce shirts, but how many can create excellent shorts?  Nike had a great cut for some of their running shorts, but they were cheaply made and had no give, so for guys that have muscular legs, these shorts sucked to squat in.  Lulu lemon had the best pair of shorts I had ever wore AND the cut was not too bad, but their price tag is asinine.  After many failed contacts, we found someone who could deliver our vision. We created a stylish look, shorter cut and unmatched comfortability without the inflated price tag. This really cleared the line from us being a t-shirt company to a becoming a brand.
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This was all happening while I was Active Duty and the decision was made up in my mind.  I began my out processing instead of graduating AST.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t pick both, I had to do one or the other.  If I missed my out-processing appointments and continued on to graduation, my separation from Active Duty would be delayed.  Seeing as I wasn’t going to be a Combat Controller as a civilian, it was pointless for me to hold a 5-level rating (Operational status). Many tried to use my choice of separating to be the same thing as quitting (which is common in the CCT pipeline because of its difficulty) however, I had already been through all of the rigorous training and proven myself worthy of wearing the scarlet beret, which I wore proudly until my final day on Active Duty.  My choice of leaving the military had nothing to do with things being “too difficult”; I simply chose to go another route, which I am completely free to do as this is my life. Still, many felt that I did not deserve what Taylor and I had built and tried to make up many false accusations to muddy the water and obscure the view from those on the outside looking in.  I lost many friends due to a lack of mutual understanding.
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Despite the attempts to cut us short and attack us on a daily basis; we continued our mission, we had a goal that we set out for and the simple fact was, people wanted what we were able to provide.  We were in business.  We focused on our positives instead of our negatives.  We constantly evaluated our moves and made calculated decisions.  We gave light to the positive message that NFQ provides and let the hate fall on deaf ears.
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The whole process of transitioning from running a company while being active duty in a Special Operations career field and running a company full time as a civilian has been extraordinarily eye opening.  It’s taught not only myself, but Taylor as well, that not everyone is going to be on your side.  You can spew your message until your lungs fail, but not everyone will hear it; some are only out there to spread their discontent and portray their shortcomings on others.  Not everyone will support you when you decide to go against the status quo.  Some will try to tear you down as if you’re in the same league or as if you haven’t already surpassed them.  Your “friends” will show their true colors and they will portray envy.  This is human nature and not personal…this is a fault of self.  Stay true to those close to you and recognize who supports you for you, not out of self-gain from you.
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I am glad that everything happened the way that it did.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  We are very fortunate to be where we are and have the opportunity that we do.  We will continue to grow this company and use our platform for projecting our message to the masses.  Never Fucking Quit.

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Comments


  • Thank you for sharing this Sir. It is an inspiring story that I will take back with me and apply to my life where I feel I am lacking. NFQ is paramount in all that I do. Thank you all for what you do and have done for my freedom and the freedom of our nation.

    Oh the WTV are so sick. I’ve gotten 52.5 lbs stuffed into it 3×8.75lbs plates in front and back it works great

    David versluis on
  • Awesome articles, & obviously the clothes are Legit AF… 👍🏽👍🏽

    Mike B on

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