Last year, Ryan Simone was struggling with what many college seniors are struggling with today – finding a job after graduation. But last year during his senior year at UM, Simone embraced his inner entrepreneur when he came up with an idea for his EDM-inspired clothing line, Ravee Apparel.
Simone’s inspiration for Ravee Apparel (RA) came after losing his phone at Ultra Music Festival two years in a row.
“Frustrated, I wanted to develop a way to better secure my valuables,” he said. “I came to realize it wasn’t just at Ultra – the gym, beach, tailgates – I was stuck juggling these items.”
The Morristown, N.J., native found that after four years in Miami, tank tops became a staple in his wardrobe.
“Developing one with nonvisible zipper compartments seemed like a great idea,” Simone said. “After a year of hard work and bringing my roommate, Andreas King-Geovanis, on board, Ravee Apparel is open for business.”
Ravee Apparel combines style and function.
“Two hidden zipper compartments allow you to secure your keys, wallet, smartphone and any other belongings,” Simone said. “Best of all, our pockets don’t bulge or flop around so you can keep your hands free and valuables safe.”
Especially since he graduated last May, Simone attributes much of his company’s success to his UM education.
“UM’s diverse student body has taught me to approach a problem from several different perspectives,” Simone said.
The student body has not only influenced his problem solving, but also driven his business, whose “target market consists of active, college-aged individuals,” Simone said.
Simone was an economics major in the School of Business with a minor in art history.
“In the business school, I took several marketing classes that have helped immensely,” he said.
But it wasn’t just what he learned in the classroom that brought Ravee to life. Simone took advantage of the resources around him and turned to the LaunchPad for help. The LaunchPad gave him the initial framework to turn his idea into a prototype and eventually a business.
“My adviser helped me develop a step-by-step plan to find production, file for patents, and bring my product to market,” he said. “Far more valuable, the LaunchPad gave me the confidence to pursue entrepreneurship as a career. Without their guidance, I doubt Ravee Apparel would be open today.”
After launching the company last week through Kickstarter.com, a crowd-funding platform, Ravee is quickly approaching $10,000 in orders from around the world.
For its next step, Ravee is looking to expand to retail stores.
“Right now we are working on a few potential deals with retailers in South Beach and Atlantic City, N.J.,” Simone said.
Ravee offers a variety of designs and graphics that can be viewed on its webpage. In addition to pre-made designs, the company can also offer custom designs and prints for fraternities, sororities and any other organization looking for this sort of apparel.
“Through dye sublimation printing, our designs won’t crack or fade like traditional silk-screened clothing,” Simone said.