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Tim Jensen, of Grunt Style, on running “a business with a conscience”

Tim Jensen is Chief Strategy Officer, co-owner, and founder of Grunt Style, an innovative, San Antonio-based apparel brand offering a wide range of patriotic apparel. He’s also a strong advocate for defending the rights, lives, and well-being of those veterans who defend this country now, and have in the past, and his Grunt Style foundation has a number of programs in place that provide support for veterans in need.

I wanted to talk to Tim at length about his company and his foundation, which has been in the news recently for lending its support to the successful effort to enact the PACT Act, a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances, and for its programs, which include delivering hyperbaric chambers to veterans needing them, and a food insecurities deployment. “You have a lot of active duty — about a third of active duty, that are on some kind of federal assistance,” notes Tim. “These individuals are struggling to put food on the table for their own family, while they’re defending the rights and freedoms of all of us in the United States. If that’s not a head scratcher, I don’t know what is. We’ve delivered over 50 tons of food to families — active duty families — this year. That is not a solution. What we’re doing is a stopgap that is alleviating some of the pressure that is on these military families, some of them being very young military families.”

Tim’s work pushing for successful passage of the PACT Act — a process that took years — is also laudable. As he notes, “being in the military is an inherently dangerous job. You’re going in with the understanding of defending your country in the position of its asking to the death. But it doesn’t mean, and it doesn’t give these military contractors a blank check, or the ability to do whatever the hell they want, and run roughshod over the service members who are out there doing the work, and I think that’s what the PACT Act has finally closed the door on.”

Our conversation then turned to Grunt Style’s approach to marketing and how Tim defines his brand. “Grunt Style is a military and patriotic apparel brand that believes in this lifestyle of patriotism. We don’t all have the same definitions of patriotism, and, you know what? We don’t need to. That’s what’s the beauty of this country. We all have a different belief of what patriotism is, and we all have a love of country. And some don’t have a love of country for their own particular reasons. And that’s OK too. But that’s what makes this country great, and that’s what we need to celebrating as a people — it’s that we are diverse, we have different beliefs, and that we don’t have to get along all the time. But at the end of the day, we are living in a country that has created the most amount of wealth, the most amount of freedom, and the most diversity and equality in human existence. And that’s what Grunt Style represents, that pride in self, pride in our military, pride in country. Our mission is to know, celebrate, and defend the Constitution of the United States for the next generation behind us. And that’s what I think is most important about our brand. And we’re not just a brand out here out to make money. We are privately owned and we are a business, with a conscience. We are a business that understands that we have a relationship with our community, and if we don’t recognize that, and we don’t find ways of lifting that up and beautifying it and praising it and honoring it, then we’re just a company that’s out there making money. They don’t last.”

In the remainder of our conversation, Tim and I discuss the diverse demographics of Grunt Style’s buyers, Grunt Style’s use of influencer marketing and the key role played by authenticity in influencer campaigns, whether there are advertising opportunities for Grunt Style in “non-brand safe” advertising areas, Grunt Style’s use of gamification on its site, and Tim’s plans to expand his foundation’s programs in 2023 and beyond.

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