Rookie Rise Blog

One Year With Rookie Rise. Holy S#%T What A Crazy Year!

One Year With Rookie Rise. Holy S#%T What A Crazy Year!

Authored By Tadd Miller

April 15th 2015 marked the official launch date of Rookie Rise Clothing. What a rollercoaster that it has been. When I think about all of those exhausting days and nights, I think about the people who just see the tip of the ice berg that sticks out above sea level. It's funny how some people look at a business simply from the curb perspecitve, and think meh... what's the big deal? What many don't realize is, before even offering a view for people to look at, there was someone playing Dr. Frakenstein, bringing that name and brand to life, with tons of exhaustion and effort involved. You'll hear this phrase a lot "Success Doesn't Happen Overnight!" It's 100% true. When I started Rookie Rise, I didn't expect to have this consume every spare minute of my day. I always had hopes to be a brand that left a mark in peoples closets and in their minds, but I definitely under estimated the amound of time that it takes to maintain this monster that I created. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's a cool monster. Kind of like Maurice from the movie "Little Monsters" (One of my favorite child hood movies growing up. Goonies still has the number one spot though) Sorry if that was over your head. Anyway, I'm here to tell you that success doesn't happen overnight, it happens when you work through the night for many, many....many nights. I didn't expect so many people of all ages to gravitate to this line. Before I started this, people would always mention "You have to narrow down your market when you decide on building a business" I ignored the small narrow market talk, and I thought above and beyond that. As I was brainstorming all of this, I knew I had to be strategic to with every move that I made. I treated it like a game of chess, every move was thought through many times before I took each step. Not every move was a good move, I lost some pawns along the way, but I learned from it and I made sure not to replicate that bad move again. I can honestly say, not a single day has felt like work. Except for the time that Brett, Edgar and I stayed up for two nights straight printing and sewing T-Shirts preparing for our 2015 end of the year summer party. Looking back though it was fun, but damn were we tired. Here are some pictures, to show you a little bit more of what we do day to day. Everyone loves pictures, right?


Rookie Rise Doubts

In the beginning I asked tons of people what they thought of the names that I was thinking about officially using for the brand. I spent months trying to come up with a name. On March 1st 2014, I had Rookie Rise on my mind, but when I first asked my friends what they thought, it didn't always come across as being the right fit as you can in the conversation above with Nick.

Landed The Name RRC

I went with my gut and used Rookie Rise anyway. Nick now has a big logo decal blasted on the back of his car window and some Tees in his closet. I knew I'd prove that it's not just about the name.   :D


I asked people in my network if they'd change their profile pics to the logo. My sidebar on facebook was lit up with black and white for quite a while. It was pretty cool to have a bunch of friends behind this.


 Random, but I pulled this out from work and had to give it a name. You'll go far little buddy!

car service

 Getting my car looked at by Max at Les Schwab. I hate when there's a noise that I can't pin point.

car wash

...Moving On...


I like all music. I play a little country, a little rap, a little rock n' roll during my days. But com'mon, you have to appreciate some Garth Brooks. He's one of the greatest country artist of my time. Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots....


I spent a lot of nights designing to all types of music. Breaking Benjamin, Weeknd, Quiz Zilla, Eminem, NF, and of course Tupac crossed the playlist time to time.


This 2che album by Quiz Zilla, a local artist from Portland is on another level. Look it up when you get time. He's a down to earth guy with nothing but passion behind his music. If you are in Portland then you know Quiz is doing big things. Also check out Bad Habitat as well if you are looking for some local artist that are on the rise.

red velvet cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake crossed my workspace too. Who wants a salad for a midnight snack?

rook to the future

Designing the Rookie Rise mascot. Every design starts with a scribble. I don't put a lot of time into my sketches because I end up re-drawing them within photoshop and illustrator. The concept is key. The final rendering can always be done, but make sure to get your concepts down on paper now, or else they'll escape your mind, so scribble first.

breast cancer final2 01

I designed this guy to represent a lot of things,. Awareness, sports, events etc. Stand up for something in life!

keaner reppin

I stopped by an old friends house, Keane. I use to roam the halls with this kid in middle school before we moved away from the district. Always good catching up though.

"I always cut the sleeves off, and I'm not saying this to say this but these are probably the most comfortable shirts that I've ever owned"

Rookie Rise Outta Here Tank GIrls

Keeping up with the seasons is something that will constantly press you as a brand owner and designer! These Outta Here Tanks were the first release of spring. FYI, I love baseball. If anyone is in the Portland area, I'm down for a homerun derby anytime!

sunglasses for days

Speaking of seasons, what is a summer without some sunglasses?!

drawing pad

A graphic designer must have a drawing tablet in every room of the house. Actually, I think this is a neccessity no matter what you do. It's good to have a place to keep any and all ideas.


One of my favorite parts of Rookie Rise is meeting new people. I always try to drop of orders myself if they are local. I spend almost every weekend driving around, delivering goods.


My logo scares embroidery people. I've had numerous companies tell me that they either don't do 3D embroidery or my crown is going to need some special attention. This is a sample that wasn't quite to my expectations. My guys Brett and Edgar are on the hunt for someone who can take this task on.


Over the course of building Rookie Rise, I decided to take up boxing. I'm a bit addicted now. I'm just glad when I can make time to get out the door to get some hits in.


From Adobe Illustrator to...


The finished product. Preparing to Ship out our collaboration tees that we did for Travelle Gaines, owner of Athletic Gaines in Las Vegas.

"The Season Favors The Prepared"


Just picked up my party cup. Ha!


I started to sketch out my "surfing sasquatch" design. I'll leave it at this until the shirt is released!


I took a trip to the beach and hit up this interesting store and came across this key holder.

Here's the "I don't really care what people think of me, I'm gonna be me" Key holder. 


Another work of art in that same store at the beach. I'm not sure why I took this picture, but for some reason at some point in time, I was intrigued.


A hometown favorite. Super Burrito in Milwaukie Oregon. This was our after high school football practice, spot. 


You have to get the bean and cheese burrito with rice and sour cream. Don't forget the Don Sonora sauce!

Website Grind 

I am always trying to keep the website updated with new images and content. No sleep for the wicked.


My vinyl Guy Billy of 503 Print. This dude has no stop button when it comes to work. Good dude right here. Reppin' The Rookie Vision Shades.

billy alli

Billy and his girlfriend Alli are both on the RR train. If you need print work, decals, etc. Look them up on facebook at 503Print.

bretts new graphics

New Car Graphics for the Rookie Rise VP, Brett Lowery.

new evo vinyl

An hour after submitting the design to my guys at 503 Print they had the vinyl ready to go.

brett drink lol

Having Brett a part of Rookie Rise has been a huge help. We stopped at Ohana's in our hometown after meeting with the Portland Unipiper, which a collab is coming soon.

Brett let the waitress pick his drink. "I think I just lost my man card!" No one is judging bud, Lol.


Hawaiian sweet potato pie? I don't even like sweet potatos. But this S#%T is good!

jessica owens tee

This summer we have some bright colors coming. Cancun Blue - Rookie Rise Big Head Tee modeled by Jessica Owens.

breann shelby

I'll be sure to keep hoodies up year round. Breann Shelby modeling our Big Head Hooded Sweatshirt.

Breann modeling rr tee 

Big Head Tee modeled by Breann Shelby. A new color from our summer line. A full on photoshoot is in the works too.

saul paul

Motivational Speaker and singer Saul Paul repping our Rookie Vision Shades.

jeremy reppin

I gave away hundreds of decals when I first started Rookie Rise. It's always cool seeing it around town. My good friend jeremy didn't hesistate to tag his bike right away. Nice riding shoes.

"Yeah I'm going to church!"


Through out these blogs i'll post a pic of a place that I lived. I moved around a lot when I was younger as my mom was trying to get back to her feet after my dad was killed. This was one of the houses that me and my brothers grew up in. I stopped by to reflect on where I came from. This is also the same house that I convinced my cousin, If my theory held true, he could safely jump off of the fence with an umbrella, and he'd slowly drift to the ground and land softly on his feet. My theory didn't hold up. I felt bad as he smacked the ground, but at least I was now informed. Sorry bud! I was 5 years old, it sounded legit. Right?

placeit 5

Another pic of the Outta Here tees from this springs design.

bretts bike

It's always cool to take some time to step outside and chat it up with Brett when he stops by my house randomly.

arron reppin

More Rooks out there reppin'

dude reppin

Not sure where this pic was pulled from but I saved it when it crossed my feed. Pretty cool pic none the less. Whoever you are, thanks for sharing.

houston lillard

Houston Lillard, some of you may know his brother Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. Reppin' the Portland Born Portland Bred Rookie Rise Tee.

in seattle

When we go to events and parties we try to get the name out when ever we can. Hello Seattle!

jarod and memo

Jarod and Memo, I grew up with these 2 guys. We were like the Sandlot kids. Either I was riding my bike to their house or they were riding their bike to mine. We'd end up at the baseball field having a homerun derby for hours. A great couple of people to have around.

kegan and alicen

I ran into these two in the parking lot at Safeway. They both came walking out as I was walking in. I stopped to chat it up for a bit. It was cool to see both of them wearing the Rooks and Stripes tanks.

mike collazo fighter

Local MMA Fighter Mike Collazo has been putting his name on the map. A true Rookie on The Rise.

oh what

The stuff that I see come across social media is always entertaining. Like these two for example.


Some cool people taking RR on a hike :D

decalsl all over town

Random cars are tagged to my social media daily it seems like. If you follow my instagram, you'll see some free giveways. Go follow RR @RookieRise and I you just might have a free decal at your doorstep.


Stopped and ate at Changs Mongolian Grill in Milwaukie Oregon. It's kind of a must to eat here time to time. Just add a ton of hot oil and cooking sherry to your bowl and these guys will love you when they toss it on that grill. Ha! Kidding, they may reach for a fire extinguisher real quick though.

fortune of the year

After having dinner at King Curry with a friend, I was left with this fortune. So far I've been able to meet a lot of cool people and cover a lot of ground to push my line. I don't see the money as success. Seeing my brand on the back of cars and on people as I drive down the street has a much more satisfying feeling than some green paper in my pocket. It's been one hell of a year and I look forward to see what the future holds. Thanks to all of you who have stopped by the site and are currently reading this and thanks to those who have supported Rookie Rise by wearing this brand! There aren't enough words to thank all of you for simply checking in and telling other people about it.




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