Colorado State University - Pueblo transfer student clothing business hits big time
PUEBLO – Childhood friends from Rye, Logan Gogarty, 23, and Reese Kirkland, 22, have reunited as transfer students at Colorado State University-Pueblo to become partners in a men’s clothing company that recently was accepted to the world’s largest online retail shopping site.
Gogarty, a business/Spanish major, and Kirkland, a construction management/pre-medicine major, went their separate ways after high school – Gogarty on a church mission trip to Spain and Kirkland to CSU-Fort Collins.
Kirkland was an entrepreneur from a young age, selling snacks and sodas to classmates for profit and later buying vending machines to be placed in his family’s construction business. Both men were influenced by parents who owned their own companies.
With a $500 birthday gift, Kirkland invested in a logo for Miami Clothing Company, which offers luxury merchandise for men, including clothing and accessories like hats, bags, and belts. Kirkland’s original store was the trunk of his car, selling out of his first design, mostly to family and friends. The fitted golddigger foil print shirt caught Gogarty’s eye and the two reunited, with Gogarty offering to pay for the next order. Creation of a web site, www.miamiclothingcompany.com
, expanded sales throughout Colorado and the nation, even Miami, Florida, which provided the inspiration for the company name.
“Unlike laid back California, Miami is fast paced, loud, flashy, yet casual,” Kirkland said. “Our clothing represents that Miami lifestyle.”
What sets their clothing line apart are the dimensions – a more fitted style that addresses frequent complaints heard about arms being too wide and long and material that shrinks. They recommend that their poly blend items be hung dry to maintain shape and texture. The men also test new designs on their web site, seeking consumer input before producing new items.
The two still package and ship from boxes of merchandise stored in their bedrooms, not ideal, but a practice that keeps their costs to a minimum. Processing may change dramatically if sales escalate exponentially with the acceptance of their clothing line to Karmaloop, the nation’s largest web retailer. Karmaloop receives 4.5 million views a month, features more than 500 brand names in urban fashion and streetwear like Vans and Converse, and boasts an opt-in email list of more than 2 million consumers. Undeterred by previous rejections from the site, Gogarty said the pair believes in the motto, ”If at first you don’t succeed, try just once more.”
Sales volume changes from this recent deal and the addition of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook presence likely will bring the pair to a crossroads in the coming year. Both men agreed that the ultimate goal would be not to attend graduate or medical school, but to have the company become their sole incomes.
Gogarty credits his businesses classes at CSU-Pueblo for teaching him the specifics of starting a business, including establishing EIN numbers and trademarks and maneuvering the world of tax deadlines and partnership agreements.
“But the classroom can’t teach you the intangibles of how to be both friends and business partners,” Gogarty said. “Communication is the key as we don’t want to sacrifice our friendship or the business.”