ABOUT

US

The Great Lakes State is more than a brand or a collection of unique products. It represents a lifestyle powered by pride, dedication, love, humor and a sick sense of style. With a number of great collections, including Ink Detroit, Detroit Is Where I Roll, I Love Michigan and many more, there is literally something for everyone. From the drawing board to the store to your closet, TGLS is making a genuine investment in the greater Detroit Metro Area and the state of Michigan.

The Great Lakes State is more than a brand or a collection of unique products. It represents a lifestyle powered by pride, dedication, love, humor and a sick sense of style. With a number of great collections, including Ink Detroit, Detroit Is Where I Roll, I Love Michigan and many more, there is literally something for everyone. From the drawing board to the store to your closet, TGLS is making a genuine investment in the greater Detroit Metro Area and the state of Michigan.

A Brief History

Ink Detroit was born in the basement of a rental house in Downtown Royal Oak, shared by Paul Marcial and his roommates. Working by day and printing t-shirts at night, the guys made some extra money selling shirts to friends and small shops in the area. Paul designed humorous and trendy Detroit apparel that people enjoyed, but when the roommates moved on, he wasn’t ready to stop. There was still demand for the shirts, so Paul needed a savvy partner to turn this hobby into a real business. He knew just the right person.

“Paul had spent a lot of time developing ideas for t-shirts and I have a long history in the apparel business, so it made a lot of sense for us to team up,” explains Steve Mansour, co-founder of Ink Detroit and The Great Lakes State (TGLS). “We wanted to do something fun and interesting together, but once we began selling out of 800+ piece orders in only a couple weeks, we realized that we might need to aim a little higher.”

Over time, Paul and Steve established strong connections with various shops and people in the area. In 2005, they launched their first brand, Ink Detroit, and their iconic ‘I Detroit’ design. Paul and Steve were still working other jobs but they began to streamline their process, grow their product line and make new fans.

“We wanted to do something fun and interesting together, but once we began selling out of 800+ piece orders in only a couple weeks, we realized that we might need to aim a little higher.” 

As brand popularity and sales continued to grow, they became more determined to expand throughout the state of Michigan. In 2012, they founded The Great Lakes State to showcase their love of the great outdoors and provide more apparel for the growing network of fans across the region.

“By participating in really cool events in Detroit and the metro area, consistently delivering stylish gear, we have built a meaningful relationship with the community, retailers and the public,” adds Marcial. “We’re also working with Detroit legend, Emily T Gail, The Detroit News and The Free Press. We always want to have something big cooking.”

Earlier this year, Ink Detroit merged with TGLS to create a more powerful e-commerce experience for a breadth of consumers. Now all the best Detroit and Michigan apparel lives here on one site.

Paul Marcial
 


“I’ve always been proud of my family’s deep Detroit roots. Combining that with my background in art and graphic design is a big part of why I started printing t-shirts. The first shirt I printed paid homage to my grandfather’s Orchestra – the Eddie Marshall Orchestra – which played the Grande, Greystone, Vanity, Book Cadillac and Belle Isle ballrooms in the 1940’s. He always said, ‘Detroit was really something!’ telling me how you could ride the streetcar for a penny and how living in a booming city provided so much opportunity.”

Steve Mansour


“My father and uncle were Iraqi immigrants with stories of true Detroit hustle and grit. They partnered in 1976 to open Donna Sacs, a local leather retail store in Fairlane Town Center in Dearborn. Through hard work, the Mansour family grew the operation to 21 stores across Michigan and Ohio in just 15 years. It’s a true American success story and I’m a proud Detroiter as a result.”

“My family now owns and operates Donna Sacs stores all over the region, staying on top of current trends to stay relevant. I’ve been in and around the apparel business since I was born. The business and the process are familiar, from manufacturing to sourcing, from inventory to fulfillment. With that knowledge, I was able to develop critical business connections and help get Ink Detroit gear into many local shops and big apparel stores.”

Experience, knowledge of the industry, great creative ideas that people love, a lot of regional pride, and the ability to build lasting relationships – that is what has helped make us successful. We believe there's no shortcut to creating high quality apparel and that's why we invest time in our products, ensuring you the most comfortable fit and unique design. Born in Detroit and grown in Michigan, we promise to always stay true to our roots while we continue to spread good vibes throughout The Great Lakes State