“I’ve always been a salesman, since I could remember, been selling candy, pickles, food everything, but I was tired of working for other people,” he says.
His natural prowess for entrepreneurship, in conjunction with both his fierce love for his hometown and desire to give back brought the idea of his current business, The Gas Flow Brand, into fruition.
Growing up on Chicago’s West Side instilled in the Andersons’ an enviable work ethic and sense of social responsibility, which has been placed at the core of The Gas Flow Brand. “The West Side will never let me leave,” Vino says as he laughed. “I drive so hard ‘cause we have that hustle mentality on the West Side.” A reflection of the company itself, “Gas Flow means go! Like when you’re starting up your car, you’re off!”
And so is the company since its creation two years ago. Vino and his younger brother, Tonio, got their business off the ground through the fashion branch of their multi-faceted marketing group. By designing, marketing and selling their socially-conscious, eco-friendly, organic t-shirts, dawning the Gas Flow green gas-pump emblem and their new line of #ChiGoneCrazy shirts, the Andersons spread the message they are so deeply committed to making a reality. Best expressed through their manifesto on www.gasflowbrand.org “The Gas Flow Brand is an introduction to a bright, new and peaceful society … The Gas Flow Brand is devoted to bringing awareness to the world on problems we are facing in our everyday environment … Especially in Chicago where the gun violence is on a steady rise ...”
Just in reading those first few words, you get the feeling that Gas Flow is more of a social action organization than a marketing company, and for good reason since they partner with social programs around the city. Right now, their biggest affiliation is with Inspiration Corporation, www.inspirationcorp.org, a group that creates programs for homeless people and ex-offenders like providing training in the culinary arts, which leads to a smoother “re-entry into the workforce.” How does their association work? For every shirt
that Gas Flow sells, a percentage is given to Inspiration Corporation to support its efforts.
To the more traditionally business-minded, the question ‘why?’ may spring up now as in why would a blossoming small business willingly give away revenue at such an early stage? “We can change lives and make money, we can be in business to help people too,” Vino states.
He also believes this ideal will lead to the company’s longevity, “We’re gonna be the voice of Chicago, we’re gonna fix the social problems …”
This optimistic and seemingly overwhelming task ahead of them is more invigorating than daunting for this two-man team as they seek to right wrongs through a by-the-people-for-the-people strategy. “Purchasing the shirt represents peace, it’s like you’re on a team for peace,” Vino explained. “We are looking to expand with good energy people … Good energy goes a long way.” And with this attitude it seems like the Gas Flow Brand will too as they are not slowing down in developing more creative and socially aware outlets.
Through their media company Team Big Bags, they promote and produce local musical talents like T-a and Pylut, who pen soul and “non-fiction” music. “Chicago is the city of big shoulders”, a reference to the company’s name. “We wanna give the city of big shoulders quality music. We wanna produce all kinds of music and I’m really looking forward to Team Big Bags’ artists. The future is so bright.”
Photo Credit: Mr. Anderson of GasFlow Perfect Photos Division