Mei Totten creates Tailgate Clothing Business for Students By Erin Foley

Mei Totten, an 18-year-old senior of the Walpole High School class of 2020, recently started an Instagram-based business selling tailgate clothing. The business, Tailgate by Mei, designs and makes custom college apparel. Post-graduation, Totten plans to attend the University of Connecticut and major in business management and marketing.

Totten started making clothes a couple months ago; however, she recently began selling apparel this past May. Totten initially made the clothes as graduation gifts for her peers, she saw the high prices of college tailgate clothing and knew she could create her own unique clothing. After the initial clothing made for her friends, Totten began receiving tons of requests from other students.

“Just in the first couple of weeks, I received over 75 orders from friends, family, classmates and even strangers,” Totten said.

Totten works alone within the business, yet she will occasionally ask friends to help with delivering local orders. She began the business in a small room in her basement; however, as orders increased, she expanded to bigger areas in her house to stay organized.

“Starting a business has definitely made me become more organized and appreciative of small businesses in general,” Totten said.

Totten uses Photoshop and Procreate to design her unique graphics, and the prices range from $19 to $30 depending on both style and designs. The business has many fans on Instagram, currently with 293 followers, @tailgatebymei. She created a website under the same name where orders can be placed. Orders may take two to three weeks. Totten customizes orders for any school, and a majority of the information can be found on her website or Instagram.

Totten combined her love of art and business to create Tailgate by Mei. Tailgate by Mei sells t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, tank tops and more. Totten notes that although her favorite style is tie-dye, the most popular is crewnecks with stars on the sleeves.

Totten's products shown on her instagram.

“My favorite style is definitely tie-dye, I love how each piece is 100% unique,” Totten said.

All apparel are completely customizable, so customers are allowed to pick colors, fonts, add on elements and more features. Totten plans to design non-college apparel and plan on adding those items to my website very soon. Totten has expanded her business to not only be for college apparel, but also apparel for the Netflix show Outer Banks.

“I’ve seen the designs, and I think those clothes will be so popular because that’s what everyone our age is watching right now,” senior Erin Sundstrom said.

Despite COVID-19, the business continues and shows no signs of shutting down soon. Totten noted that she will definitely continue to sell her clothing throughout the summer. Post-graduation, Totten plans to attend the University of Connecticut and major in business management and marketing. However, since she will be attending college in the fall, Totten may have to limit orders or find a way to keep the business running as a full time student.

“I think it was nice to have something positive happen during this pandemic, especially for the class of 2020 since most of the college bookstores aren’t open right now, but now we can buy one of a kind pieces from her,” Sundstrom said.
The logo of Tailgate by Mei made by Mei Totten.