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Artistpreneurs (Part 2): Robert Croak

Photograph copyright PokerStrategy.com

Name: Robert Croak
Location: Toledo, OH & Las Vegas, Nevada
Business: SillyBrandz Global


Robert Croak has been a Toledo-area celebrity for some time. When I was high school aged, I knew him as “Mr. Eastside” because he basically ran the entertainment district on Toledo’s east side.

Fast forward a few years, I began working for Rob in 2004 as a digital designer while I was finishing my degree. Rob and I got along well. He was energetic, fun and smart. Some days after work we would hang out, play poker and toss ideas around.

One of those ideas really took off. Rob noticed the popularity of Lance Armstrong’s signature yellow “Livestrong” bracelets (see picture above). If you recall these things were everywhere and the demand outweighed the supply as they were sold out in Foot Locker locations nationwide. We mixed a market observation with a trend and decided to sell a Poker-themed silicone bracelet. Not long thereafter, Rob decided to offer silicone bracelets with a customizable message and color.

Rob first sourced the product abroad and after the profits began to roll in he purchased equipment to do the job in-house. It was wildly successful and grew Rob’s staff by at least 3x it’s original size.

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Homebrew label

homebrew labelHere is my first ever homebrew label design. It was created for my good friend Tony D’Amico (Tony D!) and his Dirty Guy Brewing Company of Sylvania, OH. The recipe is called AK-47 Pale Ale. Tony bottled them in 22 ouncers.

I stopped by and got to taste a few of the beers while Tony worked on the next batch. Poured a nice mid-orange color but was a bit thin on the tongue. Tony was stepping up his malt content as well as the hops for round two in hopes of thickening up the body.

Really happy with how these came out. I suggested condensing the design a bit but Tony likes the way it wraps the bottle. Very pleased with the result and looking forward to tasting the next batch.