A Suit and Tie-Dye Kind of Guy: Mexicali Blues CEO Topher Mallory and His #365TieDye Challenge

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Here’s the thing about Mexicali Blues CEO Topher Mallory: he’s a really easygoing guy who drives really hard at his goals. On his boat or in the boardroom, he has everyone smiling—and everyone stepping up their game—with keen insight, positive energy and boundless optimism. He’s all in, all the time, and it’s awesome.

He’s also always wearing tie dye.

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Every December, Topher chooses a personal challenge for the coming year. In 2015, he practiced daily meditation. In 2014, he read a book about business each month.  This year, he decided to wear something tie-dyed every single day for a full year.

“You have to be able to see the tie dye whenever you see me,” Topher explains. “No cheating with tie dye boxer shorts or socks. Bold, brilliant tie dye. No matter where I am or what I’m doing in 2016, I’m wearing tie dye while I do it.” 

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Skiing with his wife and young daughter. Speaking at a national omnichannel conference. Checking in at Mexicali store locations. Building Maine’s first organic distillery. #365TieDye all the way.

So … why, exactly? “So many reasons!” he says enthusiastically. “First, it’s just beautiful. I love looking at tie dye. It’s like a wearable screensaver that sucks you in. My degree is in art, and I can never have enough color and pattern in my life. Tie dye reminds me to look longer and deeper at this amazing world we live in.”

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He’s also passionate about the craftsmanship behind the pieces he wears. Mexicali Blues tie dye clothing and accessories are handcrafted using artisanal methods, often with a modern twist.

“One of my favorite patterns is Blues Burst. It’s like … a summer day on the Damariscotta River, or the coldest, clearest sky over Sugarloaf,” he says. “They’re handmade by a local clammer, an old friend of Mexicali. And do you know how he gets such intricate, tight color patterns? He hand sews each piece with dental floss before he begins the dying process. I think that’s amazing!”

But he has other reasons, too. “It’s about putting my real self out there,” he explains. “I spend so much of my job thinking about branding, about what Mexicali Blues means. This is one way to show right away—in a way you can’t miss!—what Mexicali Blues means to me.”

That isn’t always easy to do. The biggest challenge? Recent speaking engagements at the Retail Across America: Small Business Learning Lab and The Retail Pro U.S. Retail Summit. “I was really nervous—not just about speaking in front of so many skilled marketers and entrepreneurs, but about what I was wearing,” he remembers. “Everyone’s in button down shirts under their suit jackets, right? And I’ve got a Reverse Burst Killer Tie Dye Tee under mine.”

Would they take him seriously? Would they get it? As it turns out, yeah. Topher’s talks about authentic approaches to business work because he’s not just talking about it, he’s living it.

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And here’s the third reason for #365TieDye—its amazing effect on other people.

“Everyone smiles when you’re wearing tie dye,” Topher says. “People feel comfortable right away, they come up and talk. It’s great. Pete Erskine is always talking about how he wants to be working with people who are smiling. Wearing tie dye every day definitely makes that happen.”

You can follow Topher’s #365TieDye on Twitter, and you can shop some of his personal favorite tie dye patterns and pieces below:

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