The entrepreneur spirit is like my favorite dessert; I can never get enough of it.   What fascinates me even more is hearing stories of younger entrepreneurs.  If you missed my last post on David Orr, you need to check it out.   But today I share a story of another entrepreneur by the name of Jeremy Parker.   What impressed me most of Jeremy is not that he only followed his dream, but when things got tough; he had to adapt and change his game plan to keep his dream alive.  Here’s his story:

The Story of Jeremy Parker

My name is Jeremy Parker and I am a 23 year old entrepreneur.  I am the CEO of Tees and Tats, a high-end, limited edition t-shirt line designed by world renowned tattoo artist Marco Serio.  After I graduated from the College of Communication at Boston University, I set out to start a company, which would test me on all facets of the business world, and at the same time would give me firsthand business knowledge.  I approached my best friend and first cousin Ben Parker (He goes to University of Maryland) to help me with my business idea.  Ben and I have always been fascinated with the art world, especially tattoos.  The intricacy, confidence, creativity and dedication that a tattoo artist must possess always inspired me.

The Idea Comes To Life

One of our favorite tattoo artists that we followed was Marco Serio, originally from Portugal and now residing in New York City at the Invisible tattoo and art studio on Orchard st.  I contacted him and pitched him my idea for a limited edition t-shirt line.  I wanted it to be different than any other tattoo apparel line.  I wanted the artwork to be at the forefront of the t-shirt.  I wanted the piece of artwork to look and drape around the body like a tattoo, so I told Marco to design all the t-shirts as if he was giving a full back piece tattoo to a customer.  So all of the designs are primarily on the back of the shirt, mimicking the back piece tattoo.  We launched the line last July, with much success, selling too many high-end boutiques all over the US and Canada.  But starting last November, are sales starting to slow dramatically as with the rest of the economy.  A large percentage of the stores we were selling to closed, and the stores that have survived are not placing re-orders.

Not Giving In

I did not want to concede to failure- because if the entrepreneurial spirit dies, America will be in a much worse place.  I knew the store issue would still be a problem, because high-end retailers are not buying goods anymore, but I came up with an idea that I thought might help our online sales.

I first lowered our prices from $110 to $55.  This helped a little bit, but people where still not buying like we saw earlier.  So I came up with a concept that at the time seemed bizarre, but now has proven to be a savior for us.

Dogs of The Dow

Now when a customer buys a shirt on our website Tees and Tats.com , they are told the price of the DOW.  For every 100 points that the DOW drops within two months after the time of purchase they receive $5 dollars off of their purchase.  For example, if a customer buys a shirt
for $55 dollars and the DOW is 8200 and two months later the DOW is 8000 – the customer gets a check in the mail for $10 dollars.  The reason why people aren’t buying high-end fashion- is that they are nervous about affording food, rent and other necessary living expenses.  Obviously very understandable.  So by assuring them that if the economy deteriorates even more they would get some money back — it made it very enticing for many customers.  Our sales have been up significantly since we started this.

Giving Back

One important additional element to the Tees and Tats philosophy is our desire to give back. For every T-shirt sold in the initial collection, we are going donate a percentage of proceeds to the non-profit ArtWorks Foundation. Based in Englewood, N.J., ArtWorks provides children and young adults suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and their siblings, access to creative and performing arts programming which encourages the use of the creative process as a vehicle for healing, communication, self-expression, and personal development.

I just want to thank you for listening to my story, and I want to say that as things are looking bad and seems to be getting even worse—It is going to be the American people who are going to fix this problem.


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