How did you start selling Christmas sweaters?
I was buying some pearl snaps from this guy for the Vintagemobile [a store he runs out of an old school bus]. He had this pile of Christmas sweaters in his house, and he was like, “Man, Christmas sweaters are so popular. You gotta sell Christmas sweaters.” And so I bought a couple from him and put them on the bus the next day, and they just sold out instantly. The people who bought them were so happy. So I went out and tried to find some and sold some more, and they were so popular. But they were really hard to find. So I had one of those light-bulb moments. Like, if I could figure out a way to find Christmas sweaters—like, find tons of them—and put them into one place where people could come, then that would solve their problem. That’s what I did.
Where do you find the sweaters?
It is a secret. What I can say is that we don’t buy them locally. We don’t go to thrift stores and buy them, because that would be impossible. It’s really just a secret. I don’t want to give that away.
How many sweaters do you have going into this Christmas season?
I want to say I have 10,000. I haven’t counted them yet, but I know it’s 10,000-plus. It should be more than that.
Where do you store them?
Oh, I can’t say that. Because if I said that, that would give away part of my secret source. They are basically all locked up somewhere not close to here.
Do you have a favorite Christmas sweater?
The one that I always wear, the green one with the dangling Santa’s beard. I actually sold it online that first year, in 2013, when we tried out an online store. I sold it to a guy in Denver. I was about to go on Good Morning Texas, and I was like, “Man, I really want that sweatshirt.” So I contacted the guy and was like, “Man, I’m gonna be on TV, and I just feel like that sweater is special, and I really want that sweater.” And he was so nice. He shipped it back from Colorado. I think I gave him a refund. I hope I did. But he was so cool. He was just so supportive of me. His name is Walt. He’ll forever be remembered.
You couldn’t get another one just like it?
Some people don’t understand that all of the sweaters are one of a kind, and most are vintage. We don’t mass-make these sweaters. There’s only one of my sweater. People will come in and be like, “I want that sweater. I saw you on TV in that sweater. I want it!” And I’m like, “This sweater is not for sale!” And then people get angry at me. People need to step back.
What are the most popular styles?
Most people who come in are looking for what they think is the ugliest sweater. But then we have some niche groups. We have a lot of cat ladies who come in. They’re really funny, for sure.
How does your wife feel about your Christmas sweater business?
She has always been really helpful. I throw a lot of ideas her way, and she gives me great feedback. And she’ll help with design stuff. She designed the Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop logo and tags, and stuff like that. But she doesn’t really work at the sweater shop.
The Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop is open from November 21 until December 23. 6333 E. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 141.