About two months ago I officially launched my first startup Sir Wylde, America's Gentleman. I took $2700 of my savings (which as a tuition strapped college student was basically my entire bank account) and invested it into an idea; European inspired fashion, handmade in America. I started working harder and staying up later. I dreamt big and was creative. Although I had dabbled in other ventures before, this was the first time I was serious about it. I remember Todd Pedersen, CEO and founder of Vivint, gave a guest lecture around the same time that I was starting Sir Wylde. He said in reference to his experience of starting a business as a college student, "It was either nail it or starve." That's pretty much how it was for me (kind of how it still is haha), nail it or starve. I intended to nail it. It was either this hard work and drive or just some God given miracle that guided the National Football League to my company's website.
There's a weird thought that goes through your head when you see an email in your inbox from the NFL. I figured it must have been one of two options: (1) either they got a hold of my peewee football highlight reel and wanted me as a walk on wide receiver or (2) they had meant to send the email to the Ben Steele who used to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Turns out it was neither. A wardrobe specialist from California came across my website, loved the products, and wanted some for the players and announcers she dressed. She asked for about 40 neckties to start, of which I could only provide 12 as I was nearly sold out for Christmas. She told me that players and announcers such as Kurt Warner, Deon Sanders, and Nate Burlson would be wearing the products. It was any startups dream.
I never emailed the NFL, they initiated that correspondence. I had, however, emailed hundreds, nearly THOUSANDS of other people. In my mind, I was doing everything I could to connect with the right people. I think this is often how it happens in business, and even life for that matter. We do all that we can, we put it all on the table. Sometimes were almost at a breaking point...but then it just works out.
Sir Wylde, sold out of inventory just before Christmas. On January 20th, we will launch our first Kickstarter campaign to get more products and transition manufacturing to New York. According to FORBES magazine and countless other sources, nine out of ten startups fail. I'm working to prove them wrong. Why don't you do the same? Prove them wrong.