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16 January 2013

Connecticut native launches yacht-inspired clothing line

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Senior Chris Uscinski has developed a T-shirt line inspired by experiences at the yacht harbor in Block Island, R.I. He is also working on a web show about boating.Monica Herndon // Assistant Photo Editor 

Before leaving his political science class, senior Chris Uscinski receives updates on his phone about his Connecticut-based yacht company, while checking the status of the next shipment of his clothing line.

Uscinski, 22, developed Salt Pond Co. this past summer, offering preppy attire that is reminiscent of his experiences at the yacht harbor in Block Island, R.I.

“The prototype of the shirts sold out,” he said. “I try to get into any business opportunities, if it works.”

The clothing line currently has T-shirts in blue, white and yellow, and they are representative of the harbor’s nautical feel. Each shirt costs $20 and can be ordered through the company’s Facebook page.

“The shirts have spread a lot by word of mouth,” he said.

Uscinski manages Salt Pond with his business partner Sands Payne, who works from Block Island. Payne has worked about 20 years in retail, buying clothing and distributing them in his stores. Salt Pond is the first time he is developing a logo and brand that “is not specific to any region,” he said.

“I wanted the logo to encompass the marina at Block Island but be more general and apply to anywhere else,” Payne said. “The shirts are not so specific like a tourist’s.”

Uscinski is grateful to have Payne at the company’s headquarters to help balance the pressure of two companies and schoolwork.

“Payne is the dock owner’s son,” Uscinski said. “I needed a partner to help with retail. It can be hard to sometimes have a school life.”

Salt Pond has sold more than 19 dozen shirts and will offer polo shirts, pants, belts and ties later this year, according to Payne and Uscinski.

They also said they hope the shirts can be introduced to local retailers in Rhode Island and specialty stores. The duo hopes to expand the business along the East Coast.

“It takes a lot of work, but I am ambitious when it comes to these opportunities,” he said.

A Clinton Beach, Conn., native, Uscinski began exploring entrepreneurship when he was 16 years old, starting Boater’s Buddy, a yacht management company.

Boater’s Buddy maintains yachts by providing interior and exterior cleaning, gas fill-ups, and linen and grocery services. The company has grown to include two more locations in Block Island and Miami.

In addition to Salt Pond, Uscinski is creating an online comedy web show about boating that will stream on tvworldwide.com in late spring. Writing and filming will take place during the spring semester. The TV show will feature Salt Pond shirts to help advertise the brand, Uscinski said.