During his time at Temple, alumnus Greg Kerr shifted from tour bus to classroom and from making belts to making music. He infused his innate creativity and love for music and art into the birth of Miles to Go, his clothing and belt line.
In the midst of traveling up and down the East Coast to different venues with his band Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer and pursuing a degree in art at Temple, Kerr – the lead keyboardist – discovered his skill for making belts. Along with enjoying the activity, it became an unconventional means of putting money in his pocket.
“When I wasn’t on the road with Zolof, I was a part-time student at Temple,” Kerr said. “I had just moved out on my own for the first time and I didn’t have much time for a job, but I needed a way to pay my bills. Making belts was how I did it.”
As an art major, Kerr had access to a variety of materials for making his belts. Kerr experimented with different fabrics and materials until he found a combination that worked. Kerr said his method for making belts – which he keeps very secret – gives his belts an edge over others because they are unique and have yet to be duplicated.
“I experimented with different materials and procedures, but through trial and error I finally found something I loved and that made the belts look great,” he said. “I am the only one who does what I do how I do it, and it’s what separates me from my competitors and keeps the customers coming back to me.”
After perfecting the mechanics of belt-making, Kerr needed to develop a clientele. He began creating items for the five-person band with the band’s logo. The group members wore the designs while performing, and before long, audience members began to enjoy the artistic rock ‘n’ roll designs as much as the musicians that sported them.
“People would ask, ‘Where’d you get those?’ And that’s when I began taking orders,” Kerr said.
After leaving the band in 2004 to focus on graduation, Kerr continued to produce belts and meet potential clients. He then dubbed his new business Miles to Go. The name of his line may seem inspired by his vagrant lifestyle, but Miles to Go is actually the last line of Robert Frost’s “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,” one of Kerr’s favorite poems.
In 2006, Kerr left his native Pennsylvania for sunny Arizona where he has continued to expand on his line, branching out to include men’s and women’s T-shirts. The designs feature withering trees, hellish scenes and dark floating angels, all things likely to inspire a rock ‘n’ roll follower.
“My work is heavily inspired by art, classic literature and poetry,” he said. “I like angels. I’m not religious, but I like the symbolism and the concept behind it.”
While in Arizona, Kerr works out of his home between 12 and 15 hours a day making belts. He has sold belts and T-shirts for all types of customers, which include small local bands to the widely-known Gym Class Heroes that he met through Zolof.
“I pride myself on being accessible to everyone,” Kerr said. “I was in a small struggling band before and know what it’s like to want your band logo on a shirt but not have enough money to get it. I try to be as universal as possible.”
Kerr hopes to soon begin selling his belts in stores, but still values his customers who have gotten him this far.
“I owe all of my success to my clients,” Kerr said. “They are the ones who get the word out about me. It’s strictly by word of mouth. I am really fortunate for all the opportunities I am given, which has helped me to stay grounded throughout it all.”
Kendra Howard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.