Subject: Introducing… SHRLCK!

Friends, family, and every single person in my Gmail contacts—

As you already know from my #startupgrind Instagram posts, I’ve been hard at work on an exciting new business venture, backed only by my grit, my wits, and some zero-interest loans from my father and the rest of the Phillips Academy Andover Board of Trustees.

I’m thrilled to finally announce the launch of SHRLCK, a haberdashery for the modern era. Inspired by the aesthetic of Sherlock Holmes, SHRLCK offers bespoke deerstalker hats made from ethically sourced cashmere and non-GMO hemp string. For every deerstalker you buy, SHRLCK will donate a hat to a child in need or an adult who can’t grow interesting facial hair.

I’m incredibly grateful for your support as SHRLCK disrupts the high-end headwear industry. There are two ways you can help our team, which is currently me and my intern, Braden:

1) After you purchase your first SHRLCK hat, please post photos with the official #SHRLCKhomies hashtag to activate our brand.

2) We would love to get your honest feedback, but only if it’s positive. After the beta launch, I set spam filters for any more emails that include the phrases “who is this for,” “how much is this costing you,” and “why.”

We’re revolutionizing the world, one hat at a time!

Subject: Special deal just for you!!

Hi everyone—

The last few weeks at SHRLCK have been thrilling. The early reviews are phenomenal, our supply chain has been exceptional, and sales are good-to-quite good, some would say.

In unrelated news, Braden is no longer interning here. This was a mutual decision and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors, though I’d advise him that bearing witness to the founding of a generational company IS reasonable compensation for a person with only one post-graduate degree and five years of work experience.

Anyway, I didn’t want to forget about you, SHRLCK’s earliest fans, so I’m writing with an exciting deal just for friends and family: If fifteen people purchase using your referral code, you’ll receive a 10% discount on “Hats of the Month” subscription boxes, where I’ll send you a dozen hats each month and only charge you for the ones you don’t return within three business days (return postage not included).

Thank you for getting on this rocket ship—we’re just about to take off!

Subject: You’re invited to our pop-up store!!!


I’m delighted to invite you to SHRLCK’s exclusive new Manhattan pop-up store. I had hoped to secure space at Soho House, but they rejected us on account of pandemic restrictions (I assume, since no one replied to my seventeen emails). Instead, we’ll be on that platform at 14th Street Station where people look around confused at all the NJ PATH signs when they’re trying to connect between the L train and the 1/2/3.

Come by and try on some SHRLCK hats—the gusts from oncoming subway cars are perfect for testing the wind resistance of our earflaps!

Subject: Last chance before we’re almost sold out!!!!


You’ll have to move fast to snag SHRLCK’s latest designs because we're almost sold out! And that's technically true because “almost” is a pretty fuzzy concept, metaphysically. I dare anyone to specify a definitive threshold between “almost sold out” and “barely selling at all.”

I couldn’t keep doing this without your support! Please, please give me your support.

Subject: IMPORTANT SECURITY NOTICE RE: your credit card ending in 3673

I’m kidding, just a fun joke between friends. The payment processor won’t even reveal any credit card numbers for fear of fraud—don’t worry, I asked!

But now that you opened this email, how about buying a SHRLCK hat? Don’t make me beg! (Would begging work? I would beg!)

Subject: Time is running out…

Before our summer sale ends! And before I run out of cash!

Look, I’ll level with you: SHRLCK is in bad shape. I prepaid 3 years’ rent for a WeWork assuming we’d have 250 employees by now. Manufacturer invoices are piling up. Worst of all, it’s my 10-year high school reunion soon, and the boys of Andover Class of 2012 will have cross things to say if I’ve squandered their fathers’ money.

But we can still turn this around, one hat at a time. What do you say? Especially you, Braden—I know I left some pretty hurtful comments on your LinkedIn page, but I miss you and I can’t remember the password to the customer service inbox.

Subject: Check out this amazing write-up on SHRLCK!

Yesterday we were featured on this list of 29 Fashion Items So Ugly You’ve Got to Have Them and sales skyrocketed overnight!

Now, who wants to invest in our next round of fundraising? Sorry, no discounted shares for friends and family.