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May 27th, 2020 Chicago, IL: By profession, I am a publicist, something I have been doing since 1992, in the mid 80’s I was in 2 different New Wave Bands, in 1990 on a trip to the UK I sat next to who turned out to be a publicist named Shirley McLean. She is the one who got me started on the PR journey after a conversation via telephone when I was in the UK. She had given me her number on the plane and told me to call. She asked me; what did I do for work, and I told her, I worked for Wendy’s. She asked if I would like to Scout talent for EMI UK, she could set me up. Once I got back to Toledo OH, we chatted again (early in the am when it was cheap for an international call) and set me up as a scout with EMI UK. I went around Toledo, Chicago, and Detroit listening to bands, submitting reports to EMI UK, all while living in OHIO before the age of the internet; I did all right at it. After about 2 years of doing it, I was tired of it and asked her how do I become a publicist, she immediately took me under her wing and I worked with her on a variety of international projects, a few movies as her assistant never really do anything on my own; she also introduced to me PR legend Lynn Franks via the phone, Lynn was great and she assigned me to work with a lady name Tilly. Once again from Toledo OH before the age of the internet, I worked on projects with Tilly and still Shirley, early long-distance phone calls, ticking away on the typewriter, going to the post office and the library to look things up, fax machines, etc. all while still working at Wendy’s and later down the road other jobs.
I finally went on my own in 1995 doing PR and various part time jobs, it was not until 2001; I went full time in PR. Anyone who tells you being self-employed is easy is lying to you. It has been a good journey that I still love and continue to do.
When it comes to kilts and my love for them that is all tied in with my family history. I always knew one family branch came from Wales and I loved everything British, the Royals, British things like food and tv, phrases and writing. I always thought kilts were cool and loved the bagpipes. After years and years of family research, filling in the tree and getting my DNA done did things really get interesting. While my “British” percent wasn’t as big as I thought my overall NW European and French/German side was a lot more (keep in mind the Current Royal family is basically German) For quick reference Broadly NW European stretches from Ireland, Iceland, The British Isles, France, Breton, Germany, and the Norse Countries, it just means your DNA is too intertwined to pin down. Doing my tree, I discovered that most of my ancestors in the UK and that stems from Wales, Scotland and England, were of Norman, French, Flemish, Danish, Saxon and Norse origin. During a long period of British history both William I of England and David I of Scotland were offering lands to those who would help protect the land, a huge number of Scottish clans are of those origin and of course they all married into various local populations. My Welsh and Irish side are scattered with those genetic influences too but have deep historical roots of the Brythonic inhabitants too. See DNA is good to do but one has to do the trees also as it explains in better detail how ancestry comes about. Then you have to keep in mind the whole Identical Ancestor Point which is basically if you have ONE European Ancestor if you go back 800 years you are descendant from 80 percent of the population; the further you go back the more people you are related to but the less people there are in the world; Lines cross over and cousins marry cousins have been the norm on your tree you will probably discover your 2 or 3 times great grandparents were 3 or 4th cousins and maybe did not know it. In a nutshell there is a connection between everyone which leads in to wear whatever tartan you like because chances are one way or another you are related to that particular clan.
I may have gone too far on how I got into kilts but to know the background and the ancestral ties is important to know as it fuels my love and passion for them
Kilts are great there is a connection to history, to ancestors and heritage, it is something tangible
So you know I am a publicist and have numerous clients including fashion,, ah ha the kilt thing comes into play, I started with one kilt the Royal Stewart a few years later I got another then another then went on a kilt craze and got 5 which seems like a lot until you realize how many I have at the moment. Since I had kilts and knew of family connections I wanted to promote a kilt maker after numerous attempts to be a brand ambassador for a kilt company to reaching out to various kilt makers about team ups and promotions that were not successful the idea started to flourish I should just do this myself.
So, I did… I started to formulate my passion first thing I had to do was to find a supplier that would work with me and I wouldn’t have to go broke doing this., After lots of research and digging into suppliers and kilt makers I was fortunate to find an actual Tartan Weaving Mill that were also kilt makers with master tailors as an added bonus they have been in the Tartan business for about 60 years, the owners father started the business and he was trained in Scotland at one of the oldest Tartan Weaving Mills in the country,
The next step was coming up with a name. there was only just one Just Kilt Me! It is a fantastic play on words that brings my passion right to the point. Finding a very talented web designer that wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg one local lad who I had chatted to occasionally at the local Kroger by the name of Lem, was doing samples for Quorn (a great Vegetarian product btw). Long story short I was telling him what I was doing, he said he did websites and would love to and not charge me a lot… So there ya go. I enlisted my graphic designer who I have been working with for over a decade to get a logo. He also created a number of promo designs to put on social media. Then a few months later I launched it all!
It’s a slow but steady build, as we Brit’s say, “slow and steady wins the race!” Kilts are a certain Niche’ but I intend to change that to be everyday wear for guys and gals! All of our kilts are customer made to order (unlike so many of them out there) they are durable and will last decades, so it is sustainable not throw away fashion. They look good on everyone, and comfortable to wear along with being good for all types of weather. Most importantly they are affordable made of an excellent Poly Viscose blend (all natural and sustainable).
In this day when people leave house wearing sweat pants aka joggers, pj bottoms, bedroom slippers to go to class, work, the store (now mind you there is always an exception to the rule like you’re sick, going to hospital etc.) generally looking like a bunch of slobs it is time we start to look our best again. Growing up Mum would not let me leave the house looking sloppy, that is something everyone should keep in mind everything they step out that door. Are you pants droopy? Really Sweatpants? Slippers? NO. it is time to Simply Look Better, it is time to Kilt UP!
Justkiltme.com carries over 70 tartan choices, many are rare and hard to find that others simply do not carry, that is one advantage to being partners with a Tartan Weaving Mill. Kilts, Utility Kilts, Tartan Trousers, Billie Kilts aka the Mini Skirt, Vests, Argyll and the more formal Prince Charlie Jackets that are available in Tweed or Barathea Wool Blend which are all Custom Made to Measurements. Additionally, custom made Tartan bow ties and traditional ties, and pocket squares are available as add on’s. Any Tarlatan can be put on a Sporran too as an add on to orders as well.
One special Taran that is being woven now is the exclusive to Justkiltme.com and designed by the proprietor The Otter Tartan known in Gaelic as Breacan Dobhran. Designed in difference to Otters in Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Norse, and Celtic mythology and clan/family heraldry and traditions. In particular the Legend of the Otter King and the 7 Black Otters. Along with of course in love of the playful, cleaver Otters their selves. The Colors of Black, Brown, White and Blues represent the affectionately known Dyfrgi (Water Dogs) along with the Seas, Rivers and Lochs where they live and play. A Portion of the proceeds from this Exclusive Tartan will go to benefit Otter Conservation Chairites.
Hopefully, this gives you some insight to the journey of the kilt, why and how I got involved in this
Allen, Baron of Otter. Lord Gwyddelwern