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While Veterans Day has come and gone, the importance of memorializing and supporting those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces is a 365-day-per-year effort for some, including a local clothing company.
That company, Savage Americans, is working to raise awareness for nonprofits and veterans through its unique custom designed shirts and other apparel products.
Marine veteran and former law enforcement officer Kutter Corley founded Savage Americans in 2022 as a way to honor veterans of all ages as well as nonprofits that work to support veterans and their families.
Corley was born and raised in Fort Collins where his family owns the Millennium Gallery, a tattoo and body-piercing studio.
Growing up, Corley had the opportunity to travel between England, where his parents owned a tattoo shop as well, and the U.S. Between living in two countries and being around tattoo studios, Corley was able to meet a lot of interesting and different people.
Corley knew he wanted to go into the military at a young age.
“I kind of always wanted to do it. When I was younger, I was a big fan of James Bond and thought that was the coolest thing ever,” he said, laughing. “So I knew I wanted to go military and when I was 17 I tried to go infantry, but my parents said, ‘no,’ that I needed to go into something that would give me some practical skills.”
With that in mind, Corley joined the Marines as a military police officer in 2012. He served until 2017 when he decided to get out of the military and attend college at the University of Northern Colorado.
Corley worked in law enforcement for a few years before a knee injury took him out of the profession.
While sidelined and trying to figure out his next move, Corley would gather with friends who had military or law enforcement backgrounds to share stories and bond over their past experiences — both the good and bad ones.
“In the Marines, we called it ‘going through the suck,’ and when you suffer with anybody who is going through the same kind of thing, you build that relationship,” Corley said. “When you get out of the military, you feel pretty disconnected from the rest of civilization. So it’s nice when you find other guys or gals, anybody who has gone through that suffrage.”
The group of around nine members, which Corley calls his “church,” all enjoy similar activities and share common interests and values.
“We all hunt, are self-reliant blue-collar workers, former military or law enforcement, and we really wanted to give back to that community and pay tribute to that lifestyle,” Corley explained. “So we started an Instagram page where we would share posts about our lives.”
While the Instagram page drew a lot of interest, there was just something in Corley’s heart that kept telling him the group could do more and possibly make a career out of their shared experiences and bond.
They began looking into creating an apparel line— t-shirts with self-created designs emblazoned with mottos they strive to live by.
“It did pretty well so we started picking up a lot more,” Corley said. “Then we did a shirt for the events happening over in the Ukraine because they were sending U.S. guys over there and a lot of the guys didn’t have body armor. They were sending medics and people over to get refugees out.”
Corley and the group decided to take a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the Ukraine shirts and donate it to Save Our Allies, a nonprofit that works to rescue and aid Americans and allies in war-torn countries and help them resettle in safe environments.
Eventually, the group opened the donation program up to the sale of all products.
“Whether it was $5 or $500 dollars, we were donating a portion to that nonprofit,” Corley said. “Since then, we came to the conclusion that we have all these different backgrounds. We have guys who were Green Berets, Navy SEALS and all sorts of stuff. So, we were like, ‘How can we expand this and our message?’”
While Save Our Allies was the first nonprofit in the company’s donation program, Savage Americans has increased its list of nonprofits and organizations to include the Green Beret Foundation, Patrol Base Abbate, Force Blue, the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation and Irreverent Warriors.
The company recently added K9s For Warriors to the list. The organization works to pair service dogs with wounded veterans or veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We still felt that it wasn’t enough so we opened it up to anybody who knows of a nonprofit or somebody who is struggling, let us know and we do whatever we can to help them out,” Corley said. “Since then, we’ve had people reach out to us and I don’t think I’ve turned anybody away. We had people reach out to us about a veteran suicide and the family couldn’t pay for expenses so we donated to the family.”
The company has donated t-shirts to police organizations and fraternities to use in raffles, as well as helped a recovering addict by providing clothing to him.
“His business idea isn’t just about making money,” Army veteran and colleague Matt Hill said of Corley. “It’s about community, family and giving back.”
All shirts are a 60/40 polyester and cotton blend and are made in the U.S. Shirts are available in small up to 2XL, however, 6XL is the largest shirts the company can print on. Customers looking for sizes larger than 2XL can contact Savage Americans for accommodations.
Shirts are printed in the basement of Corley’s house using silkscreen prints, a four-stage press and a flash dryer that he and some of the members were able to acquire for discounted prices.
Never having done any screen-printing before, Corley learned by trial and error until he perfected the craft.
“Matt comes over and he helps me print, so I taught him how to screen-print and do all sorts of stuff,” Corley said. “We will see something we like or something that we live by and we turn it into a design.”
In addition to t-shirts, Savage Americans sells hoodies, tank tops, hats, stickers, etched beer glasses and flasks and more. Savage Americans also offers “loadouts” or bundles that include a shirt, flag and sticker or shirt, sticker and wristband. Loadouts range in price depending on the package selected.
The company provides wholesale and bulk order opportunities and their items can be found at Scheels in Loveland.
“My goal is to make a community and family out of it. My 10-year or 20-year dream would be to be as big as Grunt Style or Nine Line, but in the meantime, I’m just trying to hammer it out and help other veterans and make sure that I can take care of my own circle too,” Corley said.
To learn more about Savage Americans, to order merchandise or inquire about how you can help with donations, go to www.savageamericans.com.
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