Old Try

Micah Whitson of Old Try
Micah Whitson of Old Try

As a native Alabaman who struggled with the implications of his Southern heritage, it took Micah Whitson six years in harsh Boston winters to realize the South wasn’t quite what he thought it was. “I always wanted to live around snow and my trek [around the South] wasn’t getting it done,” says Whitson. “To find out what I was running from, I wanted to get someplace more ‘cultured’, only to find there were just as many closed-minded folks there as there are here. It’s a human thing and not just a Southern thing,” he continues.

What he was running from isn’t clear, even to Whitson himself, but the South, in its abundant hospitality and forgiving nature, welcomed him back with open arms. After relocating to the Queen City, Micah and his wife, Marianna, adopted William Faulkner’s proposal and began to print what they knew: Southern aphorisms and, eventually, t-shirts of beloved city names. The advertising and design duo packed these products neatly into TheOldTry.com, their goal to have everything they create “take someone home.”

The Whitsons embrace simplicity in their designs, which are printed and shipped from South Carolina, Georgia and Massachusetts, and split the workload of the business pretty evenly. “My wife does all the real stuff that keeps us employed and above the law,” says Micah, who “does the design and social media.” He enjoys editing down as a means of stretching the design limits, likening it to “designing in handcuffs.” He uses only print that already exists in the shop, cutting with black instead of adding additional colors. It works: Page after page of pithy designs read “sold out” on the website.

Even those Southerners currently living in or near their home state like to show off some down-home pride, and the Whitsons’ art obliges. Their designs also appeal to wayward travelers. “We’re branching out from just making Southern goods. That was well and good when we were missing home. But now that we’re here [in Charlotte], I want to make something for the Iowan who is stuck in Arizona and missing the corn field,” says Micah.

Products are available for purchase online at TheOldTry.com (which although an online store, also closes on Sundays just to remind people to “take a break”). You can also find The Old Try prints at Charlotte’s own The Sporting Gent on Selwyn Avenue where Marc Williams, owner, has nothing but good things to say. “Every print they make hits the nail right on the head. They have a very real talent. There’s been a tremendous response to their prints, especially any prints having to do with our city.  Being locally-owned and operated ourselves, we try to carry as many local Carolina-based brands as we can, and The Old Try was at the top of our list of must-haves. We’re very proud to call them a partner.” Along with current avenues to purchase The Old Try prints, the creative couple’s also aspire to open a retail location in the Queen City soon, so be on the look out.