This past week marked a major milestone for OLE MASON JAR, our second year anniversary of being in business. It is hard to believe we have been slinging shirts for 2 years now (I can still remember the blog I wrote when we first launched), but honestly our story goes back even further than that. Today I give many thanks to God for allowing us to even be here today to write this, thanks to family and friends for their support and I give some thoughts about turning two.
The idea of OLE MASON JAR officially started in summer of 2007 (the concept), way before there was a Shark Tank and before startups were such a popular thing, when Filipe and I first graduated college. Luckily, we were smart enough to realize we were NOT smart enough to start and run a successful company, so we tabled the idea and vowed to come back to it after getting legitimate real world work experience. Five years later we reconvened on the idea, and decided it was finally time to give it a go... a year later we officially launched our dream many years in the making. It has been a wild ride with plenty of ups and downs, and so with that I share some thoughts and lessons learned on turning two:
- Don't worry about the haters: Believe it or not, two plus years ago there were plenty of doubters that a guy that worked for a bank and a guy that worked for Groupon could start a clothing company. In fact, there are several folks I am very surprised who to this day have provided zero support (maybe that will change after reading this :). Conversely, there were more supporters than doubters from folks we barely knew or didn't even know at all. The lesson: there will always be people that doubt or don't believe in you...don't let it define you.
- Remember why you started the thing in the first place: As a company evolves it is easy to lose site of why you started it in the first place. We started OLE MASON JAR with a mission to make a difference: giving back to underprivileged families, supporting local economies by making things here in America and in general helping guys dress better as a whole. To date we have fed over 500 families through our "Buy a Shirt, Feed a Family" program, and we are also currently making all products right here in North Carolina, USA.
- Quality > Quantity: Guess what, making things in America IS NOT CHEAP. Guess what else though, the quality is way better than other parts of the world. An exact quote from one of our customers, "This is the best freaking shirt in the world", is the ultimate testament to the power of focusing on quality rather than taking the easy way out and making things on the cheap.
- Stay Humble: No matter the successes, there are always mistakes and short falls in small business. We have certainly grown a lot the past two year, but there were also a couple months in the beginning where we sold practically nothing. I can still recall sitting in the world headquarters of OLE MASON JAR (my bonus room at the time), and looking at our very first feature (an awesome article by QC Exclusive). The extreme joy of feeling like we had made it was immediately kicked in the face when I looked at our monthly sales report, discovering a total of $32 in sales (1 t-shirt) for the entire month. Pretty humbling to say the least, and so thankful our monthly sales our a tad higher than that these days :).
The past two years have been incredible, and I am so thankful for how far we have come. What's next for OLE MASON JAR? How about polos, leather belts, sport coats and custom offerings...all made right here in the U.S.A. Thanks again for all your support in helping us achieve such a significant milestone, and we look forward to many more years of success.
A native of NC, Bradley Rhyne is OLE MASON JAR's Co-Founder and CEO, as well as chief editor for all content and social media. With his extensive experience in the finance and accounting industry as a Vice President for a fortune top 10 company, Brad brings a wealth of knowledge, creativity and business acumen to OLE MASON JAR.