The idea for TerrApparel snuck up on me very quickly. At this point, it is honestly a blur as to how it got started. I do remember having the thought while looking at my dorm-room closet which was seemingly overflowing with old jackets that I didn’t have the heart to throw out. I also remember immediately turning to my computer to do some research, and then going out into the lounge of my freshman dorm to ask who else wanted in. I had no idea what I was doing, no plan, just an idea and ignorance as my drive. Because, why couldn’t I make something better than everything else already out there. This seemed to be enough to get my friend Maura on board. Since then, we have had the world’s longest roller-coaster-ride to get where we are now.
In the first two months I worked tirelessly with Maura Maguire, who took on the role of CFO and Supply Chain Manager, to find suppliers, pitch to friends and strangers to gather feedback, and build a business pitch for the business plan competition on April 7th of last year. We ended up placing third, a huge validation to our concept. At this point we had almost everything we needed. The only thing holding us back was the most important part: Money. So we did what most people do when they need money these days, we started a Kickstarter campaign. And wow did that fail… Pathetically. Out of a $15,000 goal, we raised $1,000, all of which we couldn’t keep. Beaten down for the first time, we had to go back to the drawing board. This is where a Clarkson Alum, and a family friend comes in.
His name is Jim Snyder and he is hands down the most influential individual in this story. Jim began as simply a knowledgeable friend who I would go to for advice, but in June of 2017, he became much more. I was having coffee with Jim in my hometown last summer, talking about my failed Kickstarter campaign, how I had everything else lined up, but just no money, and he put his hand up. He said, “Matt, what’s the number? Before you say it, take it and double it. Now tell me.” I did as he asked, and then came something I never expected. Jim said, “Ok. I’ll do it.”
Those who know me, know I am not a quiet person, but for the first time in my life, I was speechless. Going into that day, I had no intention of asking Jim for money, and no idea he was even thinking about giving it to me. But somewhere in our many meetings, Jim saw a successful idea, and he bought into it. More importantly, he bought into us.
Since then, we have been in production, and what a battle that has been. It has been months of pushbacks, delays, and unforeseen costs because we were ignorant, inexperienced, and being taken advantage of by companies far bigger than TerrApparel. The only thing keeping us together was our belief in our idea, and Jim's advice and experience. Finally, one week from now, and 14 months from our inception, we will have our first product in hand. The Tee and The Sleeve, made from recycled water bottles and x-ray film, finished with a plant-based, biodegradable wicking solution, and UPF protectant, will be delivered. Finally, all the bad news, set-backs, and unforeseen costs will be worth it.
Thank you for reading, and, if you have any questions, simply call me at (860) 558-1663 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org