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Reno eNVy pokes fun at The Biggest Little City, but does it proudly.
Photo: Charlie Johnston (all)
It took more than a century for someone to make the connection. Okay, maybe not, but Reno eNVy founder Scott Dunseath is the first to capitalize on it. And it started with a simple phone conversation.
About seven years ago, Dunseath was telling his friend his mailing address. Upon reaching the “Reno, NV” part, the two realized the link between “NV” and “envy.” It became a running joke; three years later, it became a business. “I’m sure I’m not the first guy to think about that, but I was the first guy to act on it,” Dunseath says.
You could say he has used Reno’s sometimes-unfavorable reputation to his advantage—but it’s all in fun. One trademark symbol of the brand is a trailer. Some shirts address gambling and the “white trash” culture. Dunseath says the root of Reno eNVy, though, is to celebrate the Reno community. “If you don’t live in Reno, and if you don’t understand Reno, there’s this stereotype that Reno is a lot like ‘Reno 911,’ with hookers, casinos, and trailer parks,” he says. “Reno eNVy plays off those stereotypes, like [outsiders would wonder], ‘What’s there to be envious about in Reno?’”
Dunseath is happy that some people who call Reno home can appreciate the self-deprecating humor. “Before we did this there weren’t many options to wear your Reno pride,” he says. “It makes me feel good that people are as stoked about this community as I am.”
Last December, Reno eNVy opened its first store in downtown’s West Street Market. Prior to that, the company’s apparel—including shirts, scrubs, dresses, and novelty souvenirs—was primarily sold online. Now, in addition to the main store, eight other retailers carry Reno eNVy products.
Shortly before opening his inaugural store, Dunseath launched the Tahoe Envy brand, which is also sold at the West Street location. Dunseath’s goal is to get Tahoe Envy into retail shops around Lake Tahoe and eventually Northern California and the Bay Area. “[Tahoe Envy] is just really more about what a great place it is and what a playground it is,” Dunseath says.
In late 2010 or early 2011, Dunseath hopes to introduce Vegas eNVy. He would like it to be a large launch and will look for key partners in Las Vegas. Vegas eNVy will play off many stereotypes, including the world-famous Strip and “Sin City.” He thinks Las Vegas has an extra tie-in with the name—envy being one of the seven deadly sins.
Dunseath would like to launch additional eNVy brands in Nevada and have the company become the Silver State’s signature brand. “It allows a rural town to rally around what there is to be envious of in that town,” he says. “But also, all the individual pieces come back to the state of Nevada and what a great place it is to live.”
Originally coming to Reno with no intention of staying, Dunseath now considers himself a spokesperson for the state of Nevada. In 1986, he came to Reno with plans to spend two years at the University of Nevada, Reno, then head back to Northern California as soon as possible.
Now, 23 years later, he promotes the city. “Reno has a vacuum effect,” he says. “It sucks you in. The city has a gravitational force.”
Samantha Reveley, co-owner of the West Street Wine Bar, feels Dunseath’s passion. Last year for Christmas, she bought her Texas family Reno eNVy shirts, and they loved them. “When you think of something original about Reno or any town you live in, you wish you had a Reno eNVy that makes fun of and celebrates everything about the place that you call home,” Reveley says.
Reno eNVy and the Reno Aces celebrate the grand opening of their new store at The Summit Mall in Reno on Saturday, November 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located between the Skechers and Tilly’s shops, the store features classic Reno eNVy gear, new winter selections, and a variety of co-branded merchandise.
As a way to kick off the holiday cheer, the first 50 people to spend $50 or more will receive a limited edition Reno Aces/Reno eNVy co-branded tee (Adult M, L and XL only). Archie from the Reno Aces will also be on hand from 1 to 3 p.m.
148 West St., Reno