By Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute
To buy a regular suit, all you need to do is go to a department store and pick one off the rack. If you want a suit that fits your body and personality to a “T,” then you need to visit student haberdasher and owner of True Gentleman Supply Co., Trapper Roderick.
A communication and entrepreneurship student, Roderick got his start two years ago, when he designed a bespoke suit for himself. Then his friends started asking for help and advice. The more suits he created, the more he realized his passion for design and helping others look good.
“The next thing I knew, I was having a lot of fun and people loved my product,” said Roderick, who’s earning an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Entrepreneurship. “I did it to solve a problem for myself and others, and it ended up being the perfect opportunity to start my own business.”
Roderick found help through many people and programs at the U. Among other assistance, he got $6,000 from the U’s Get Seeded program and mentoring from the Innovation Scholar program. Along the way, Roderick continued to develop his marketing, build his clientele and search the globe for the best fabrics and tailors.
Everything came together in 2014, as Roderick sold 220 suits and hired a small team. He hopes for even better sales in 2015, and eventually, he hopes to start selling custom suits on his website and break $5 million in revenue. Meanwhile, Roderick will also be finishing his undergraduate degree.
“This process has actually made me want to get a degree even more,” he said. “At first, I just wanted to get in and out of school, but I’m enjoying my classes a lot more now because it helps me in my everyday business.”
Learn more about Roderick’s company at truegentlemansupply.com.
*A version of this article originally appeared in the 2015 “Student Innovation at the U” report. The publication is produced by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate students from all colleges and majors doing amazing things. Read more stories and get involved at lassonde.utah.edu/studentinnovation2015.