We had the good fortune of connecting with Tristan Whitaker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tristan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I needed a creative outlet while my girls were in school. I had the idea of wanting to encourage people to wear their heart on their sleeve. Do you love coffee or hate coffee? Do you love running or hate alarm clocks? So LOVE HATE APPAREL was born. It didn’t take off, HA… but after a while I started designing shirts that were local, beachy and for women. My business sky rocketed and now I’m in several local stores and surf shops all around FL. I LOVE Florida and my town of Jupiter and get so much joy and satisfaction designing apparel that represent our little slice of paradise.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always had the “creative” bug and have tried several ideas in the past. From “Photo Letters”, “Keepsake Envelopes” to “Mini Memory Books”… I truly love to craft and design! When I started Love Hate Apparel, I had NO idea how to make a shirt. I mean, that sounds smart… right? Start a brand new business when you have no idea what you’re doing?! HA – But I knew I had so much creativity in me I just had to start somewhere.
So, I taught myself how to make high quality, cute and unique shirts! I wanted to create tanks that I personally would LOVE to wear. There was a lot of trial-and-error for sure… but eventually I learned what works for me. I work from my home and make all my orders by hand as they come in.
What sets me apart is my love for where I live! I design with locals in mind and offer women the chance to get unique, beachy, comfy and LOCAL apparel! Believe it or not, there is not much our there for women to buy that represents their hometown yet still looks chic! Since I make everything myself, I can customize orders and do smaller runs of designs for local shops while keeping all my designs consistent with my brand.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Jupiter, Florida is FULL of amazing attraction/restaurants/beaches and parks! We have two little girls, so naturally we love to go to kid friendly places and we are never at a loss for ideas.
One of our favorite spots is Lighthouse Cove & Burger Shack! They have the cutest mini putt-putt courses, ice cream shop, outdoor restaurant to eat and drink at after playing… AND a covered, fenced in playground for the kids to play. It makes sitting back and drinking a beer much more relaxing knowing the kids are safe and having fun.
Guanabana’s is a must for visitors! Heck, it’s a must go to for locals too! The decor and vibe are unbeatable for sure. From the moment you walk up, you instantly feel like you’re on vacation to the most amazing tropical paradise. We also love to paddleboard – and Guanabana’s is next to Blueline Surf Shop where you can rent boards (and buy Love Hate Apparel), paddle for a bit then come in off the water and eat & drink. It’s truly an amazing day outing.
Das Biergarten downtown Abacoa is another stop in our rotation! If you’re looking for a great sports bar that doesn’t feel “fake or forced”, want great food and a ton of amazing beer… this is your bar! The owners are friends of ours, they are good people who work hard and always make time to say hi when we come in.
Paddleboarding in Intracoastal near Cato’s Bridge is a MUST do for visitors. My husband paddles there almost every single morning and we are lucky enough to not have to rush out the door for school, we join him. We have 3 boards and enjoy taking the kids with us, or meeting up with friends on the water.
The beaches would be another stop on a “friends in town, what should we do list”… and we have SEVERAL amazing beached to chose from. My personal fav spot is near the Juno Beach Pier. Easy parking, beautiful beach, bathrooms and outdoor showers to clean up after.
Lastly, for friends + family who are visiting you can’t let them leave without a meal at Dune Dogs Cafe! It’s this amazing little outdoor restaurant that transports you to the islands! From Corn Dogs to Snow Crab… their vibe is super chill and a local fav. Go early though, they are known to have a super long wait time!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Unlike me, my husband is not afraid to fail. He has been an amazing cheerleader and encourages me everyday to push myself. I’m not gonna lie, it can be tiring to constantly learn and try new things that are scary, but every single time I do… I am proud of myself. So needless to say, my first shout out goes to my wonderful husband of 12 years and father of our two gorgeous girls for always believing that I am good enough… even if I fail.
Crystal from Cleverfox Mama is a huge part of how I am got where I am today! She saw potential in me and my new local/beachy/florida inspired designs and showed me how to focus all that creativity! I was walking around aimlessly with these new shirts and she taught me how to focus, make collections, stay consistent and reach new people on social. She saw me bigger than I saw myself, and was a major part of my confidence to keep moving forward. She also introduced me to my next shout out…. Chelsea!
Chelsea from Influence Florida is another big milestone for my success. She brought this 43 year old mama into this century! I had no idea how to approach people/models to help represent my brand and she took care of everything for me. She found people who are young, beachy, KIND and great in front of the camera! My clothes went from looking good to GREAT when all these amazing people came into my LHA “Love Hate Apparel” life. Chelsea also introduced me to my next shout out… Samantha.
Samantha Farmer Photography… there are not enough words to express how amazing this talented person is. She was born to be behind the camera and knows my brand almost better than I do. She comes to every single photo shoot knowing exactly what shots to get! She directs the models effortless and quickly, making our shoots quick, fun and beyond amazing! I believe in my product and love what I make… but she makes my shirts look legit straight outta a magazine. She never fails to have location ideas and new shot ideas. Love that girl.
Finally, my parents and children. I grew up surrounded by endless amounts of love and support. My parents have always made me feel safe and cared for, and encourage all my crazy ideas. My children are my endless loves now… I wouldn’t want to be anything else in the world other than their mom. I do ALL my work during the hours of 8-2 when they are in school so that when I pick them up at 2:00… I am MOM.
Samantha Farmer Photography Cleverfox Mama Photography Maria Del Mar Photography Ourography Carri Lager Photography