The TikTok star known for coining the the iconic catchphrase “Bing Bong” has opened a flagship merch store in Coney Island.
Rapper and social media presence Travis Leon, who goes by the stage name Nems, opened the shop earlier this year after months of renovations — figuring he could capitalize on his recent viral fame to sell associated clothing and accessories.
Nems rose to internet fame while hosting an episode of SidetalkNYC, which captures life in the Big Apple in humorous one-minute videos on social media platforms like TikTok and instagram. During the episode entitled “Coney Island Ski Club,” he used the “Bing Bong” catchphrase — phonetically recited to match the noise made when subway doors are closing.
The video has garnered millions of views, and been referenced in several prominent instances, including when the boy band Jonas Brothers recreated it along with President Joe Biden at the White House.
Prior to the TikTok fame, Nems sold hoodies, sweatpants, socks, t-shirts, hats and more brandishing his slogan “F— Your Life” out of his truck weekly. Following the video, he started to see more tourists visit the block and decided his brand would grow if he could move to a storefront.
According to Nems, business is booming.
“Better than I expected. We had a grand opening that did amazing,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “We’re doing great and summer hasn’t even gotten here yet. We’re doing amazing in the winter months which is usually when we’re dead in Coney Island. So if we’ve done great in the winter time, I’m expecting to do amazingly in the summer.”
Come Visit THE FYL STORE
1612 Mermaid Ave
Coney Island, Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/KTzK83bbUK
— NEMS YORK CITY (@NEMS_FYL) April 12, 2023
He says since southern Brooklyn locals account for only 15 to 20 % of his sales, he stays open seven days a week, giving all tourists a chance to stop in the shop.
“When they visit New York it becomes like a destination on their list. I love it. That’s why we’re open seven days a week. I don’t want to miss anybody,” he says.
Nems who has been rapping since the early 2000s and began sharing his art online around 2013. He says he always knew something would take his career to the next level and it just so happened to be a short form videos he made just for fun.
The rapper also accredits his growing fanbase to the popular social media outlets such as TikTok and Instagram.
“I started just messing around, hanging out on the block, messing with people and just having fun,” he said. “Before it was more men from ages 15 to 40 but since that TikTok, little kids run to me. Old ladies love my stuff. It just widened up my fan base 10 fold. It’s all due to TikTok and Instagram and the content I put out.”
His FYL namesake comes from the motto his friend’s kept when growing up. As he began his music career, he took on the slogan as a catchphrase and has now grown it into an online and in-store brand.
According to the business owner, he may expand to more storefronts in the future but is focusing all his attention on growing a Coney Island customer base for now.
“It’s a real New York city authentic brand — good quality, dope designs,” Nems said.“I don’t want to sell somebody one shirt, I want to keep them as a customer forever so I’m not making stuff that I wouldn’t wear. I want to make sure this stuff is quality and designs are dope stuff that I would want to wear. People recognize that and keep coming back.”
The Coney Island storefront is open at 1612 Mermaid Ave Brooklyn from 12 until 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.