Adjacent to the Blue Ridge Mountains, South Carolina’s Greenville is an up-and-coming artist and crafters community, said Matt Moreau, founder of The Landmark Project and Greenville resident.
It is also located near unique landscapes – such as granite domes and rhododendron tunnels. Mount Mitchell – the highest summit East of the Mississippi – Blue Ridge Parkway, and Looking Glass Rock are all in the vicinity as well.
Greenville’s attributes – raw artistic talent and a passion for the outdoors – are at the root of The Landmark Project.
The Landmark Project creates t-shirts featuring prominent locations, including the Appalachian Trail, Jones Gap and the Smokey Mountains. The Nantahala Forest and Table Rock are also among the offerings.
The designs are meant to induce a sense of connection to a place.
“Everybody has a story. One woman told us, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to do this shirt, because my husband and I got engaged here.’ And people feel comfortable telling us that story, so we get to hear how our designs of different places mean something different to different people,” Moreau said.
The Landmark Project is best known for its t-shirts, but also creates posters and bandanas.
The bandanas are made from chambray denim, which they purchase from one of the only remaining U.S. mills in North Carolina. The text on the bandana, “Devotee of Tent and Trail,” came from a century-old Boy Scouts of America handbook.
Moreau moved to Greenville in 2006 and operated a design and printing business with his wife for close to five years, which she still runs today with a staff of seven.
During that period, the couple began designing their own graphics for t-shirts as a side project, based off of the inspirational places that they had explored. Unplanned, the designs drew a following.
“The Landmark became an offshoot of our print shop, and has gotten so much traction now that it’s changed the clients that we’re getting for the printing,” Moreau said.
When The Landmark Project started to pick up momentum, Moreau realized he needed to jump in full time.
“It’s been really fun to see this come to fruition,” he said. “I used to be a one man show. I did all of the art, design and printing and ran the thing out of my house. Now, a team operates the print shop and I come in to oversee the production of the Landmark shirts.”
The Landmark Project shares the 3,000-square-foot manufacturing space and a 100-year-old printing press with the printing business.
The Landmark Project’s three pillars
The business lives by three pillars – which all return to the principle that people are more important than products.
The first is to provide jobs for the local community while also maintaining the businesses beneath their own roof.
Secondly, they’re devoted to contributing a portion of profits to Great Outdoor Adventure Trips, a nonprofit that takes under-resourced youth on trips in the backcountry. For each t-shirt sold, 10 percent goes to the organization.
Lastly, The Landmark Project team wants to encourage avid outdoor enthusiasts to combine their trade with their passion.
“We actually started doing what we love and we started loving it, because it was so much more relevant to what matters to us,” Moreau said.