A Visit with Publish Brand

June 14, 2013

Publish Image

This week, I had a short visit with a new friend, Michael Huynh of Publish Brand Apparel.  He’s a smart and intense dude who built a company from the ground up.  His dad was a shoe cobbler with some experience in clothing, and never wanted his son to be in the apparel business, since he saw it as tough, low-paying, and service-based.  Michael’s dad wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor.  So Michael hid the idea of Publish from his dad.

The idea of Michael’s company came from his infatuation with a specific moment in the creative process: the moment when something becomes “real.”  For many, like myself, the buildup of time and energy behind a creative passion can be all-consuming to the maker, but there is often a sense of disconnection.  When you’re making something creative–an album, a book, or a clothing line, for example–countless hours may go into a project, over a long span of time.  During that time, it’s hard for other people to understand or appreciate the sweat and stress of making it work, the frustration of hitting dead ends and getting it wrong, and the overwhelming joy of getting it right.  Your parents and friends will ask, “how is it going?” but there’s really no answer you can give them that will help them understand.

Really, you’re working toward the moment when you get “published”–the moment when you finally get to show everyone what you’ve been up to.  Only then can they truly feel the effort that went into it, and begin to understand.

That feeling is one that I understand intimately, and it’s the feeling that Michael’s company was built on. He told me a great story about it: when Michael finally got his own space, his own office and warehouse, he didn’t even invite his dad to his opening party, for fear that his Dad would be disappointed in the small office.  Then, in the middle of the party, he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder…his father had crashed the party to see what his son was up to.

Michael was embarrassed and anxious as he showed his dad around the place.  But in the end, his dad gave him some of his most important encouragement.  And today, Michael is in the middle of a breakthrough in “publishing” his brand right now, finally turning heads with his creations.  In particular, their hats are kinda blowing up.

Unfortunately, as we were  hanging out and talking, I didn’t think to take any photos.  But if I had, I would have taken a picture of the craziest thing I found at their warehouse: the guy hand-making Publish’s popular hats is Michael’s own dad.

In a day and age where everything is computerized and streamlined, it’s often easy for fans to forget or question that there’s a human being on the creation side of the equation.  So sometimes it’s the human touch that makes the biggest difference.

As Michael says, “Today for Tomorrow.”




  1. Radyo Plexus on July 22, 2013 at 5:23 am

    Reblogged this on *xandropontillas.

  2. jpkaukonen on July 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Mike,

    it’s been awhile since I’ve written for you.. A lot has changed since that! I’ve started my own company (artistic creations, mainly videos).

    I just wanted to share my latest work for you, because I know for a fact that you will like this video. Especially the music and how it builds up.

    You’re my idol forever Mike.

    Here’s the video:


  3. ristinw on July 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I could feel the love flows. His father loves him so much. His showed-up meant everything! 🙂
    So happy for him!

  4. 1996edit on July 12, 2013 at 1:47 am

    When you come to Hungary? Or why not come to Hungary? Please write something in response. This is great blog post. I repeatedly watch this Website, than twitter entries.

  5. adiek84 on June 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Double comment cause I also wanted to comment on your friend’s story. We’ll see if your blog wizard allows it for once.
    Michael’s story shows that everyone has a special talent. Unfortunately, some people prefer to go the easy way instead of working for their dream. Others who want to work, are influenced by their parents/family/friends to go another way. Michael’s story is really inspirational especially for young teens who are struggling to find their place in life and its happy end is super awesome!

  6. adiek84 on June 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    What you said about the moment your work gets published, that’s exactly how I felt after relaunching my website. I have paid more money for that layout than I ever did for anything else and I worked 17 hours through to adjust the content and the site still isn’t really finished. I’m not creative at all, so this website has shown me a whole new experience of creation. Also, getting the LPFC team together was such an awesome feeling. This might sound silly to someone who creates art work and music sold all over the world, but this little website makes me feel accomplished.

  7. xnekocat on June 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    A Linkin Park SONG IN THE INTRO

  8. xnekocat on June 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

  9. bkeppy on June 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Fantastic story of someone doing it on their own terms. I loved it Mike!

  10. jdennis88 on June 15, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    This is a great story, and one I can really relate to. For the last 11 years I have been prolifically writing and striving towards my ultimate goal – to be an author. In the last eleven years I’ve been developing my style, picking up techniques and explored many different genres. I think I told my parents when I was fourteen that I wanted to be an author, but I was completely dismissed and told it would never happen. To this day my parents have never supported my love of writing, but I am pleased to say that in just five weeks time I will have reached my goal – I will be a published author. My debut book is in the printing process right now. I couldn’t be happier.

  11. NephthysPhoenix on June 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

    You just got to strive toward your goals and not worry about others around you, but you shouldn’t be afraid to tell the people you love either. Fear is a great dismantle to all encouragements! I am glad your friend was able to get his company going, but he shouldn’t have let fear get to him. He is lucky his dad showed up anyways to encourage him. There was def no way he couldn’t have been more proud. Don’t assume the worse and just live forward to the future.

  12. evooba on June 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    That’s a very interesting and inspiring story. I can kind of relate to your friend. I am currently studying what my parents want me to study and not what I want (music in business that is) cause they consider it a waste of time and money.
    Dreams are dreams though and they didn’t keep me from learning music. I’ve been self taught for 3 years now and it’s the best thing I ever did to myself. I understood that no matter what someone wants, the best way to get it is to keep up and never give up trying until its there.

  13. YoMarquesLP on June 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    This is a great story! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  14. capricorngm on June 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I can relate very much to this. As a multimedia designer, getting a project done, releasing it and watching the positive feedback we get after is the ultimate reward, and the fuel to drive us to keep creating. That, and -as Michael does- thinking of the process of making “real” from imagination and inspiration, is what defines us as artists and creators.

  15. morganatenebre on June 14, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    So inspiring! I get emotioned everytime I hear a history about someone who never give up of their dreams. You got exactly in the point: “sometimes it’s the human touch that makes the biggest difference”. It’s greatest thing in the world when someone supports you, or juts say: “well done”. Beautiful. Thanks for share with us.

  16. dcl1982 on June 14, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    nice story

  17. xnekocat on June 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

  18. xnekocat on June 14, 2013 at 5:19 pm

  19. Braffschein on June 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    oh and a P.S. on the last paragraph, do you realize how almighty your fans think you are? You can do this and that and what not. Your latest record isn’t even a year old yet and you’re already recording a new one. And besides, people often underestimate creation process, like, “come on, is it really hard to make things up, it’s not harder than being a worker on a factory” and all that. People want another Fort Minor album knowing you’re busy enough atm because what happens if you add 1 more thing to tons of them? But that’s a good image, isn’t it?

  20. Braffschein on June 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Maybe one day I will learn to go for it no matter what, but you will have to help me with inspirational stories like this one.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  21. xnekocat on June 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  22. Braffschein on June 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Oh finally you remembered you have a blog! Sometimes I regret you’ve got Twitter. (I mostly don’t for sure)
    I wish I was industrious, really. I always have great plans for life – like, I will learn to draw good and also learn another 3-4 languages. I know I have everything to reach goals I set for myself, I never got myself into physics or hard fields of math, but still I always end up postponing things for unknown time. This has been going on for 19 years and this post made me think about this again. Unbelievably, all my intentions kinda lack this “human touch” thing. Sigh

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