In this episode we catch up with the owners of 1911 Apparel, Darren and Jacob. Their story began as high school best friends, though they later would take different paths in their lives. Ultimately, they ended up joining forces to create All Things Veteran. This organization is designed to give back to the men and women that have fought for our country. Their passion is to help people become better patriots, grow awareness of veteran suicide, and help Veterans in any way they can. To further fund that effort, Darren and Jacob created 1911 Apparel– an online store that sells patriotic apparel with a purpose. Both men have their own careers and have used their shared passion for giving back to veterans to help drive them in their pursuit to touch individual lives.
In this episode we’ll talk about:
- Technology used to make it easier
- Where do they want to take their company
- Advice from two people who have already done it
How did you get started?
The two initially used WordPress to build their website. They hire as many veterans as possible to give them more opportunities. Sometimes this meant employing the families of veterans to do tasks such as helping build their website. When they decided to dive into the world of e-commerce, Darren and Jacob switched their website from WordPress to Shopify. They say this made their lives a lot easier given the plethora of amenities available, such as a label writer which innovated the way that they ran their business. Jacob and Darren are both pursuing their own careers in nursing and the finance industry respectively, so running an e-commerce business adds a lot to their plates. Their passion to help veterans drives them forward.
Where do you see this company going in the future?
Darren and Jacob both want the business to grow as much as it can to help veterans. Both are happy with their current choice of employment. Darren is the CFO of a heating and air conditioning company, and Jacob is a nurse practitioner in the emergency room, so they have no interest in making this e-commerce business their sole career. Both encourage people starting their e-commerce companies to continue with a more stable job at least until your business can sustain you. They would like to see growth in their company and their cause.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to venture into the world of e-commerce?
The guys shared that starting your own company is often harder than it looks, so know that it is going to be difficult. You can try hard and create something you’re very proud of– but not everyone will like it. This is one piece of knowledge they learned the hard way. In the beginning they made a website and had a shop on facebook but only sold shirts in the single digits. They encourage all to take advice wherever you can find it, and learn as much as you can. They leave with the sage advice that there is value in trying and failing, we learn as much if not more from our failures than we do from our success.