After a couple of unsuccessful attempts to launch my own apparel company, Nantucket Buckets was the first successful brand I had ever launched. As a sophomore in high school, I decided to embark on a project with two classmates of mine, Marc Zuzolo and Graham Welter. Being entrepreneurs, the three of us wanted to create something we could sell to a high school student demographic. Thus, we researched the market and noticed that bucket hats could be a potential trend for “millennials”, in particular. So, we split up into three departments and set out to create and develop the brand Nantucket Buckets. We wanted to separate ourselves from the market, so we asked ourselves: How are we going to be different? How are going to be better? After examining the bucket hat market, we saw that all the designs were limited in color to mostly of beige and gray and were lackluster in design. Thus, our projected line was clearly delineated. We would create bucket hats that not only used New England pastels but that would suggest a patriotic, "good life" design. Whether that aesthetic would result in an embroidered image of a martini or a pineapple with sunglasses, we did it. I designed the website, product, and developed the company image through photography. Graham handled the social media and marketing. Marc handled all the production and financials. The launch of the brand in May 2014 was very successful. Jump forward a few years, I have now sold my share in the brand and have moved on to continue my quest for my own clothing line.
While negotiating a deal to sell my stake in Nantucket Buckets, I had my eyes already set on another venture, Ellsworth Toggery. This time as junior in high school, I partnered with an incredibly talented, and stylish person by the name of Marty Ellsworth. Initially, he came to me about the possibility of starting this mens short company he's been trying to get on rolling for quite some time. With my entrepreneurial experience added to equation, an embroidered short company for men was more than possible. As a team, we worked day and night on developing the brands social media, image, website and product designs tirelessly. It wasn't until a lot of hard work over the course of five months -- and a lot of 3am phone calls -- that the e-commerce was live and selling shorts. The launch was successful and company is still in excellent economic standing. However, being young, and hungry for more experience... after a couple months of being in business, I took it upon my own shoulders to move on and start my third and hopefully lifelong project / entrepreneurial venture.
With Nantucket Buckets and Ellsworth Toggery under my belt, I felt ready to use all the experience previously gathered and to begin designing my dream, clothing brand. Growing up in New England, I've come to develop a passionate respect for classic Americana genre A.K.A "prep" -- the seersuckers, the twills, the regimentals, the oxfords, the beautiful weaves, the patchworks, the denims, the shades of navy, and pastels... the list goes on and on. That being said, I developed a strong desire to build a clothing brand that is inspired by quintessential prep and, more importantly, serves as a reflection of whom I am, where I come from (places like Connecticut and Nantucket Island), and the people I love most. For centuries this particular style has become a timeless and iconic look. However, as an entrepreneur I want to make sure that whatever I develop is different. The company’s motto "Uniquely Classic Americana" sums up exactly what I'm trying to achieve. I'm setting out to add new styles to the prep brand arena, in other words, to expand the classic Americana horizon by designing original products. To establish this company persona, the launch of Zach Ryan will consist of two new types of oxfords in two different colors that will provide an original signature to the brand: "The Saugatuck Oxford" and "The Henley Oxford," along with a high quality t-shirts to accompany them.
As far as developing the brand is concerned, it's truthfully been a one-man show. I have handled everything from creating an aesthetic / image, website design, e-commerce management, product design, specifications, merchandising, to sourcing fabrics, sourcing overseas mills and factories, production, marketing on social media platforms (currently at 15,000 followers on Instagram), making prototypes and samples, funding the project, and gaining P.R. exposure. I plan on expanding my team once the brand begins to grow. After about two years of hard work, the brand is planned to go public in May of 2017. I'm currently focused on building product hype, continuing to provide daily photographic content for social media, and producing an advertisement. I will be directing this advertisement this March in Rhode Island and Connecticut for the Spring/Summer line and will be working with a professional film production team.