Beta Undergraduate Launches Bow Tie Business
Monday, February 16, 2015
Posted by: Teri Sloan
At only 18 years old, Beta Brother Brandon Etheridge is already running Deck Head, a fledgling bow tie company, while also studying as a full-time student at University of South Carolina. The company grew out of an idea he had in high school: inventing an interchangeable bow tie that can be mixed and matched to create a wider variety of looks. Now Brandon is working towards a spot on ABC's popular show Shark Tank in hopes of building his company into a full lifestyle brand.
Brandon's entrepreneurship started early in life, when he and a friend created a children's cooking show at age twelve. The two filmed a demo reel and sent it to several local television stations, but the two seemed a bit ahead of their time. It never came to fruition. Just two years, later, Brandon began watching Shark Tank and was inspired to take control of his own future the way he saw so many do on that show.
Flash forward to today, when Brandon's patented bow tie invention has changed men's neckwear. It is the first company to offer how ties to be purchased in halves, giving men the ability to interchange different ties to create new, varied looks. Men can buy two identical halves for a traditional look, or they can mix and match colors and patterns for a unique, fresh look.
Now, Brandon is looking for a strong mentor to guide him in building his company. "Shark Tank is important to me, not so much for the money (don't get me wrong; that's important too), but for the guidance that one of those investors could provide to me," he says.
He says this support is vital to his success, describing entrepreneurship as a lonely business. "It can be very stressful, let alone while carrying a full load in school. It can be exhausting. When everyone else is wrapping up their nights when their homework is done, my 'job' is just beginning. I don't have coworkers yet to discuss accomplishments and/or defeats with. I have me, myself, and I to get it all done."
Brandon says that his Chi Psi Brothers have helped ease some of that loneliness. "Coming into Greek life, I didn't know what to expect. I had heard it would be a lot of fun and that sounded great to me. What I wasn't prepared for was how intense the brotherhood truly is."
"[My Chi Psi Brothers] genuinely celebrate my accomplishments. If I have a tough day, nothing makes me feel better than heading to the Lodge to be surrounded by my Brothers and friends. I have an extended family behind me that I never anticipated. As an entrepreneur, that is priceless. Obviously, I want to achieve due to my own inner personal drive but having the Chi Psi family behind me gives me extra motivation. I don't want to let my brothers down. My success is Chi Psi's success."
Now Brandon needs the help of even more of his Brothers. He has passed Round 2 of Shark Tank auditions and is being strongly considered for next season of the show. In order to make it on the show, Brandon just needs to increase support and sales for Deck Head. Here are some ways that Brothers can help:
- "Like" Deck Head's Facebook Page, and share among family and friends who may be interested.
- Follow @deckheadnc on Twitter and Instagram.
- Last but certainly most important, visit deckheadnc.com and consider making a bow tie purchase. The ties are 100% silk, handcrafted woven bow tie halves. Quality is second to none.
"I would like nothing more than to represent Chi Psi and my brothers on a national level by appearing on TV for the show Shark Tank."