Life is short. Play it loud.
Encore – (n) a demand, as by applause, for a repetition of a song, act, etc., by the performers, as at the end of a concert, recital, etc. A second act.
Earlier this week we visited Encore Apparel Company based in Charlestown, MA where the two founders of the Boston-based apparel company gave us a tour of their future showroom, currently under renovations. One of those founders just happens to be our 2014 Valedictorian, Mark Lisavich, who graduated with a degree in Fashion Design.
But Fashion Design and Bay State College were not his first act.
Having already received a degree in Computer Engineering from Villanova in 2002, Mark spent the years following graduation writing code and testing software. Deep down he always knew that he was meant to do something more artsy, more creative. Then, four years ago, Mark took the plunge and walked away from his desk job in pursuit of a Fashion Design degree at Bay State College where he found tremendous success.
Meanwhile, co-founder and old fraternity brother Casey Paton, found himself in a similar position. Post-graduation, he was enjoying a lot of ‘so-called’ success and his position as an international equity trader was coveted by just about any Ivy League graduate looking to go into finance. The only problem was he wasn't happy and wanted out.
Casey had this idea to create a business that supported local community causes while promoting ‘real’ music from the past – i.e. celebrating artists that had helped change the musical landscape through impactful lyrics, great sound and revolutionary ideas.
When the timing was right, and the two re-connected years later (the power of social media!), they knew that an apparel company inspired by their mutual love of music, would be the perfect venture for the two of them. And so, Encore Apparel Company was born. Their second act.
“Encore Apparel is geared towards active people who care about music, and have a connection to wanting to give back in some way,” says Lisavich. We’re inspired by brands like TOMS who are connected to bigger picture ideas. ”
The company was established with the philosophy that “real change for the greater society starts at the micro level and eventually grows into the macro.” Their hope is to be able to feature and make donations to local organizations throughout the year. On their website, there is even a spot to recommend different organizations or individuals that could use some support.
For the past year, the two have been working on starting this business from the ground up – logo design, figuring out costs, making connections with manufacturers, getting their website up and running, etc.
“You make a thousand decisions [in small business],” says Paton. “There’s no blue print so we go with what feels right.”
This fall, the pair leveraged a crowd-funding campaign to host a soft-launch for family and friends. The soft-launch gave them the ability to see what their costs would be and allowed them to make their first round of donations to local charities.
A local company, co-founded by a Bay State College Fashion Design graduate, routed in social responsibility and a love for “real” music – now that’s something we can get behind!
Thanks to Mark and Casey for letting us stop by for a visit. Be sure to check out their website to see some of their merchandise and read more about their story. And this spring, if you find yourself in Charlestown, stop by the Navy Yard to check out their great new show room!