Here is another in our continuing series of articles about things going on around Rochester. Enjoy.
The Phoenix Haberdashery sounds like a prestigious clothing retailer for the most high end clientele, and not the brain child of two teens.
However, it was Luke Zaremski and Riley Benner, two high school students from Rochester, New York, who developed the innovative small business and now their efforts have paid off big time. The two just won this year’s national Young Entrepreneurs Academy Saunders Scholarship.
The Saunders scholarship competition was founded back in 2009 as a way to motivate young entrepreneurs and to help them start networking. The winners not only receive a four year scholarship, but also a fast pass audition to the hit TV show Shark Tank. They also won memberships to the local chamber of commerce, consultation time with experienced entrepreneurs, and a national social media and traditional media campaign, too.
So what exactly is it about the Phoenix Haberdashery that was so innovative and inspiring that earned them these impressive awards?
Two words: reversible ties. The fashion accessories are designed so that you can just reverse them if you spill something. You could also get a reversible tie for quick style changes. For example, you could get one that was black on one side–the most professional color possible–and red on the other side so that you didn’t have to look so formal when you hit happy hour after work.
“I think a lot more people are going to know about us now we’re definitely going to make more ties, more inventory,” said Benner. “We’re going to get into several retailers and from there, we’ll just plan to grow.”
Gayle Jagel, the founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, said that she’s confident in the future success of this year’s finalists, saying “I truly believe that if we teach young people how to make a job, not just take a job, we’ll create a culture of innovation in our states, in our regions, in our country, that’s good for the entire nation.”