Fireworks and Teenage Dreams Fueled YakTown Don’t Back Down’s Creation
(Mary Dupuis, March 15, 2023)
Pontiac, MI – Sean Preston recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of his Pontiac-based clothing brand, YakTown Don’t Back Down.
Beginning with 12 shirts on March 9, 2018, Preston worked his way up through pop-up shops and community support and now has his own storefront in Pontiac.
Currently YakTown Don’t Back Down sells T-shirts, crop tops, crewnecks, hoodies, joggers, baseball caps, beanies, tote bags and balaclava ski masks.
Preston said around one year prior to the launch of the brand Pontiac held a firework show for the community for the first time in years, and that night ended up being his inspiration.
“During the course of the grand finale I ended up screaming, ‘YakTown don’t back down,’ and I was like, ‘Wow, that’d be a good T-shirt, a good brand,’” Preston said. “A year later I got started with 12 shirts. From the 12 shirts we hosted multiple pop-up shops along with our online store. Then the multiple pop-up shops and our online store led to us opening up our first store this year.”
Preston said he recently found a note he had written when he was 17 years old detailing his plan for a contemporary clothing brand called “J&P Associates.” The mission statement he wrote was centered around people feeling good in their clothing without having to spend a great deal of money.
Keeping true to this original spark, part of YakTown Don’t Back Down’s story on Preston’s website states, “Our high-quality and comfortable apparel is perfect for individuals who want to look and feel their best while pursuing their goals.”
“If (my 17-year-old self) could see me I think he would be happy with himself,” Preston said. “He would probably be like, ‘Bro, we walked through this together. You know, there’s plenty of areas where you could’ve tweaked this or tweaked that.’ But I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t be as hard on himself. I think my 17-year-old self would be pleased.”
Preston said he knew he always wanted to have a brand of some sort, but wasn’t entirely settled on clothing until he began selling some tees of his own. The first shirts he sold were his own merch, and had one of the taglines he used as a Christian rapper, “Passion Over Money.”
Shortly after he began selling these shirts, YakTown Don’t Back Down came to be.
Preston said he feels his brand “embodies the spirit of the community” and is very thankful for the ways Pontiac has supported him and his mission. Brand values are listed on the Yak Town Don’t Back Down website, which include resilience, empowerment, quality, diversity, innovation, and community. “We believe in doing the right thing, even when it’s not the easiest or most convenient option,” the site says.
Since its inception, YakTown Don’t Back Down has sponsored the high school basketball team’s warm-up shirts as well as received support from both past and present mayors, city council members, nonprofit leaders, the business community and everyday Pontiac citizens.
Preston said while the brand is rooted in Pontiac, he also hopes to extend its reach outside of the community through different clothing lines. The brand’s most recent line features the saying “Gardens Grow Silently.”
“I’m expanding,” Preston said. “I’m expanding, but still keeping the YakTown Don’t Back Down imprint.”
In addition to this, Preston runs a blog and podcast for the brand and regularly updates the brand’s Facebook page with upcoming events and news. The store is located at 18 E. Lawrence in Pontiac. Find out more at www.YakTownDontBackDown.com .