Forty Under 40: Business
BY Advocate.com Editors
May 06 2009 12:00 AM ET
David Lauterstein | Fashion entrepreneur | 39 | New York City
Remember FUBU ("For Us By Us"), the African-American apparel company? Nasty Pig, purveyor of playful, hypermasculine gear, from jeans to harnesses, serves a similarly empowering purpose for a segment of gay consumers. In fact, the grassroots, DIY spirit of early hip-hop promotion hugely influenced CEO David Lauterstein when he cofounded Nasty Pig in 1994 with Fred Kearney, now creative director and his husband. As a music merchandiser, Lauterstein marketed Madonna's "MA1" bomber jackets for the Blond Ambition tour. He then began selling prism defraction goggles to clubbers at Limelight and used the proceeds to buy fabric to create the first Nasty Pig T-shirt. More naughty than raunchy, it featured four pigs in a pile on front. "It really struck a chord," Lauterstein says. He and Kearney quickly opened a storefront in Chelsea. Today, Nasty Pig is also available online and in about 40 retailers worldwide, with an ever-expanding product line, and the company had its best year ever in 2008 -- not a banner year for most. For a business with such a rough-and-ready image, Nasty Pig has a disarmingly touching backstory. Lauterstein always aspired to be an out businessman. "I wanted to be able to go to my parents' house in Boca West and chat with their friends about Nasty Pig and to have it be a real business." His most loyal customers also know of the love story at the heart of the brand. "None of this happens without me and my man," he says of Kearney, "my first boyfriend. He took my virginity! We're just two guys making it on our own. There may be rubber sheets on the bed, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a whole lot of love in the room."