"The Value of the MBA - in 3D"
from the Graduate Management Admission Council
In a year and a half, the company that two Millsaps graduates established when they failed to find the perfect T-shirt for their fraternity event has grown from selling one-pocket T-shirts to sports shirts, screen printed T-shirts and koozies.
The Fraternity Collection, launched by Peter Rafferty (B.B.A. 2011 and M.Acc. 2012) and Nathan Pearce (B.B.A. 2012) in February 2012, now employs more than 40 employees, has earned more than $2 million in gross revenue and donated more than $75,000 to charities designated by its customers.
The Fraternity Collection offers male and female customers the opportunity to customize one-pocket T-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts at its website www.fraternitycollection.com. There are more than 2,000 combinations (42 shirt colors with 31 pockets for women and 28 pockets for men).
Want a purple seersucker pocket on the white T-shirt you might wear to your fraternity’s next party? Choose The Robert. How about a green-and-white chevron print on the pocket of a tank to represent your sorority’s colors? Select The Lisa. And that’s just two of options available.
The company allows each customer to select a philanthropic organization to which its will donate 10 percent of each dollar spent.
“We recognized and wanted to promote the importance of philanthropy as a key component of Greek life, so we allow our customers to direct 10 percent of the purchase price to the philanthropy of their choice,” said Laura Dominque Rafferty (B.B.A. 2012 and M.B.A. 2013), vice president of marketing.
Rafferty and Pearce credit in-class brainstorming exercises while they were students and knowledge gleaned from their classes and professors in the Else School of Management with helping them establish and successfully operate their business.
“Every one of our professors in the Else School was beyond helpful,” said Rafferty, CEO. “Each played a very important role in our educational process and impacted the way we run the Frat Collection. For instance, in addition to teaching us finance, Dr. Bill Brister inspired us to manufacture our products in the United States. Dr. Ray Phelps taught us the importance of branding and target marketing, which helped us strategically brand our company and focus on a specific niche market.”
The company’s website launched in February 2012 and during graduation weekend of that year received more than $10,000 in orders.
“We offer a high quality product, superior customer service and unmatched support for philanthropic efforts,” Rafferty said. “We operate our own manufacturing facility in Columbia, Miss., which employees over 40 people. In addition we have donated over $75,000 to charities such as Make A Wish, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, and the Children’s Miracle Network on our customer’s behalf.”
The Fraternity Collection team is working to expand its product line to include pants, shorts, women’s cut sport shirts, bow ties, belts and much more. Additionally, the company plans to leverage its manufacturing capabilities by creating additional clothing brands and offering apparel-manufacturing services to other companies.