Bouctouche — Larry the lobster is coming to a T-shirt near you.
With summer long gone, serial entrepreneur Jean-Marc Landry is preparing for next year’s tourist season. For the past 6 years, he’s attempted to build and grow his own souvenir business with varying degrees of failure.
During high summer, you can find Landry set up at a well-worn tent on the front lawn of his house on Irving Boulevard. Off season, he spends his time in his basement workshop coming up with product ideas. His past handiwork includes a goldfish tank hat, a La Sagouine cat litter sandcastle kit, seagull feather underwear and vibrating boat-shaped adult toys.
None of them really caught on. Every year until now, he’s found himself shocked and dismayed that nobody has wanted to buy the products he’d spent so much time and money on. This year, he figures he’s got it made for sure; with visible excitement, he unveiled Larry the Lobster.
Larry, it turns out, is a collection of barely connected squiggles printed on a cheap white T-shirt. The garishly coloured lobster stands next to an Acadian flag with the slogan “Talk to the claw!?”
The idea came to him while watching TV: “I realized: why would I break my back making products that don’t sell when I can just create a cartoon character? Nintendo’s got Mario, Disney’s got Mickey. They make millions. So I came up with Larry. He’s awesome.”
Landry is proud of his design, the lopsided childlike drawing of the lobster having been done up in the popular application Microsoft Paint. While the colours barely match and the painting style could be described as blotchy, Landry feels it came out “pretty rad.”
While he saved money by badly designing the T-shirt himself, one cannot help but notice the corner-cutting. Curiously, Landry pretended not to notice that the words “Stockfotoz.com” were printed all over the flag.
Excited about the possibility of actually making money this time, Landry is more than hopeful at its selling potential. “The locals will love it because it’s Acadian-themed and tourists will love it because lobsters are zany by nature. It’s win-win! And it didn’t cost me anything — it’s a win-win-win!”
T-shirts are just the beginning. The next steps involve putting Larry onto everyday items like bottle openers, cup holders and bug deflectors.
And, if the abomination that is Larry the Lobster fails in the marketplace, it will not be the end of Landry’s attempts at making his fortune; he’s already working on ideas for summer 2016. Landry would not share much about these plans, but he did mention in passing that he thought “hang-gliders for cats” should be a big opportunity.