Ahwatukee Foothills artist Lyle Moultrie's idea for a clothing line called SO!Trouble, in which a portion of the proceeds would go to benefit charity organizations, came in part from the long distance relationship he maintained with the woman who eventually would become his wife.
Moultrie, 45, carried on a long-distance relationship with Fanny, from Hong Kong, for several years before he decided to move there in 2006 to teach English. Moultrie spent four years there, and the couple married. They moved back to Ahwatukee in April.
"The term ‘so trouble' kept coming up in terms of complicated, long distance relationships," said Moultrie, who holds a fine arts degree from Arizona State University and has worked in the Valley as a freelance photographer, painter and sculptor.
Fanny tells the story a little differently.
"I always called him a trouble guy," she said. "So trouble, especially the one you love."
Moultrie said the phrase seemed catchy and versatile enough to lend itself to being printed on apparel. He said he's long been interested in supporting social and environmental causes.
"The variations on that sort of thing are limitless," he said. "As someone who wants to give back something, I could see the variations could possibly be popular enough to create awareness about certain things."
The business is just getting off the ground. Moultrie said he's been trying to get the word out about SO!Trouble, and he's launched a "virtual storefront" at www.sotrouble.com, where visitors can view the inventory and see which charity organizations each purchase would benefit. The plan eventually is to get the merchandise into retail establishments, as well, and to donate 5 percent of revenue to charity, he said.
"We haven't earned anything yet," Moultrie said. "We're just starting out."
So far, products for sale include hats, T-shirts and mugs with various phrases printed on them based on the SO!Trouble logo.
"The concept could be applied to almost any utilitarian item," Moultrie said.
The plan is to donate to organizations like the Association of Arizona Food Banks, the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium, The Nature Conservancy - Arizona, the Chrysalis Center for domestic violence victims, the Arizona Boys and Girls Clubs, the Humane Society and the Red Cross, he said.