By Jill Beckel
Photos courtesy of Dan Hershberg
Dan Hershberg, owner of the online store Philly Phaithful, has loved Philadelphia his whole life. Born and raised here, he grew up in Mount Airy. His father was a professor at Penn and helped him learn what it meant to be your own boss and run your own business. Dan studied at Cornell University and has always loved sports. After graduating college, he moved back to Philly and had several jobs in the sports field including working with the Phillies and at ESPN. However, he soon grew tired of the corporate lifestyle and wanted more control of his life. He knew that he had the passion to run his own business and was motivated to put in long hours and work hard.
Philly Phaithful originally began as a business venture with Dan’s cousin who knew of a T-shirt business that wasn’t doing well. They came up with a bunch of names that made sense for their brand and the sports theme, but Philly Phaithful just seemed to stick with the idea of Philadelphians’ extreme loyalty and ability to keep the faith for their team – no matter what. Philadelphians love their city, their food, their Philly grammar and their way of life. The Philly Phaithful site first launched in 2008, a great year for Phillies fans with the World Series trophy. Fans wanted a way to show their support and instantly loved the witty, fun T-shirts that Philly Phaithful offered.
Dan started and continued the business as online-only by promoting it at street festivals and working with partner stores. He was against having a store at all originally, but then for three years he rented a space for customers to come watch Philly sports, have a few beers, and check out his merchandise. He soon realized that doing this stopped him from focusing on the creative aspect of the business that he loved so much, so he closed the store.
To stay true to his original dream for Philly Phaithful, almost all of the T-shirt ideas come from Dan himself. While he can’t draw or design well, he has an amazing eye for visual aesthetics and has always loved being creative. Once he has an idea for a new T-shirt set in his mind, he has his team of designers create it and make it come to life. The designers also come up with ideas occasionally. Philly Phaithful can proudly say that all of its designs are truly original and they’re always updating the website with “phresh” new designs with at least three new T-shirts added each month. Most are sports-related, but may be different Philly-related concepts such as sayings, pop culture, favorite Philly foods and more.
Dan is always looking for new ways to connect with the community that he loves so much. Philly Phaithful’s newest project, The Philadelphia Experience, celebrates Philadelphia through originally designed apparel and unique prize packages from local business partners such as Di Bruno Brothers, Federal Donuts and the Electric Factory. With a new business sponsor each month and a new T-shirt design to match, Philly Phaithful will help a variety of local charities that keep Philly thriving by raising awareness and donating a percentage of all T-shirt sales that month to the charity of their choice. Each month, Philly Phaithful will work with the business sponsor to come up with a unique prize package that will allow winners to experience something about this great city we live in. For example, for the Di Bruno Brothers sponsored month, three lucky winners got Food Truck Passports good for free meals from 29 different food trucks!
Extreme Philly sports fans also love Philly Phaithful’s selection of niche story lines that only true Philadelphia sports fans would grasp such as the popular “Schmidt Happens” T-shirt depicting the Phillies legend Mike Schmidt’s mustache. With a variety of men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes to choose from, everyone can find a shirt that they like or think is funny from extreme Philadelphia sports fans to non-sports fans alike, both young and old. Philly Phaithful emphasizes that almost everyone who lives in Philadelphia, whether they were born here or not, grows to love the city and appreciate it’s unique culture.
If you’re looking to check out some of the designs in person, Philly Phaithful’s youth and baby apparel can also be found locally at Born Yesterday on Rittenhouse Square and at The Monkey’s Uncle in Doylestown. The adorable onesies make a perfect baby shower or first birthday gift! Dan hopes to partner with even more stores in the future.
Dan says his most popular T-shirt since it came out two months ago is the “Yo It’s How We Say Hello” shirt that is currently available in men’s, women’s and youth sizes as well as baby onesies and tanktops. The “Crowns – Philly’s Coloring Jawns” T-shirt depicts how Philadelphians say “crayons” in a way that is barely understandable to out-of-towners. The “Wit or Witout You” asks how you like your cheesesteak (with onions or without)! Dan’s favorite and first Philly Phaithful T-shirt print ever is one of a street section photo of Broad Street and Pattison Avenue because of its symbolism of where we all go for Philadelphia sports.
Dan’s passion for the city is clear in his dedication to creating new, funny and meaningful T-shirt designs. He’s from here, loves the city, and says that his family will be raised here. I think it’s safe to say that Philly Phaithful is invested in Philadelphia and is here to stay. Remember, “Real fans keep the phaith.”
Get your own favorite Philly Phaithful shirt today! Coupon code: explorephl at checkout for 15% OFF all purchases (already discounted gift packs and clearance items not included). The Philly Phaithful membership special is also available for frequent buyers who will receive an email for the pre-sale of every new shirt.