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Opportunistic Knights: The Founding of Suite 230

It’s been said that history tends to repeat itself, and I’ve definitely seen this to be true. Especially when I look at all the groundbreaking achievements that the students of the University of Central Florida have worked to attain. Typically, UCF students bring more to the table than your average university student who spends four years locked in their apartment, studying day and night to keep their 4.0 GPA intact. While a high GPA will get you far, I see no point in being academically flawless if you can’t look back on your four years at this rapidly growing university and know you did something amazing. With that being said, I’d like to introduce a couple of UCF students who are doing some amazing things as we speak: Andy Stimmel and Jack Rosen.

These two college seniors have turned their dream of starting a clothing company into a reality with the release of a clothing line called ‘Suite 230’. With Andy running the “business side” of the project and Jack controlling most of the “creative side”, the two entrepreneurs have definitely found a good balance for maintaining organization within the company. What’s interesting is that this project has been planned for a few years now, implying that the two college seniors were merely young adults when aspirations for starting Suite 230 became verbalized. Much of their early aspirations most-likely came from growing up around family and friends who were both business savvy and entrepreneurial as well.

I recently had the opportunity to find out some more information about Suite 230 from the gentlemen themselves who founded the company. Be on the lookout for next week’s article, as I’ll be including up-to-date images of some of the samples of clothing that Suite 230 has recently produced. What follows are a series of questions that will help all Her Campus fans get excited for what’s to come next.

Q: How long have you been planning the start of this clothing company?
 A: Jack has been sketching out designs for t-shirts since the beginning of high school, about 7 years ago. It really got into serious talks when we were entering college together 3 years ago.
Q: How did you come up with the name Suite 230 for the clothing line?
 A: The name Suite 230 comes from the original office we began our journey in. We were given a small office, like a supply closet, as an opportunity to get our clothing line up and running. Due to our inexperience at the time, we spent most of the time decorating the office and brainstorming concepts and ideas. After a few months, we were kicked out of the office because we had no tangible results. The office space was then used for other companies. Suite 230 is where all of our original ideas, designs, and concepts originated, and where the dream became a reality. It reminds us of where we came from, and were we want to strive to get back to eventually, a new Suite 230.
Q: Not many people, especially college students, make their dream to start a company into a reality. Did anything or anyone inspire you to go through with this project?
 A: While working summers jobs as valet runners for our old basketball coach’s company, we sat down and talked to him about what was going on in our lives. He liked the design sketches he saw from Jack and really thought we had something special here. It was our former basketball coach that really gave us the encouragement and confidence to start this clothing line, and he has played an extremely vital role in making this a reality.
Q: How did the two of you (Andy and Jack) decide to turn your ideas into a joint effort?
 A: Jack and I have been great friends since preschool. Both of us were born and raised in Orlando, FL, and we played competitive basketball together for 9+ years. With Jack having a very creative, artistic mind, and me having a professional strategic business sense, we knew we would be the perfect team. We consider ourselves to be Organized Chaos, because it describes us perfectly as a company, as individuals, and as a theme throughout Suite 230.
Q: Describe the overall style that the clothing line has to offer. Does your market include both men and women?
 A: Currently, we are producing t-shirts that are both graphically appealing and thought provoking. Every t-shirt has a deep meaning behind it, which really gives it substance and makes it unique. We were tired of the same old one-dimensional t-shirts, so we took a different angle. Our designs are based off of pretty much anything that can create meaning, and usually deal with pop culture and the environment around us. The art is a mixture, usually consisting of pop art, surrealism, and unique techniques and placement. Our shirts are expressive, unique, and are meant to stand out! They are for both men and women. Currently, men are in a crew neck, and women’s are offered in v-neck and scoop neck. They are fitted t-shirts, 100% combed cotton. Our target market is men and women aged 14-35 who want to be expressive in what they wear and stand out amongst their peers. However, it is not limited to them since we have many designs that may appeal to other markets as well, that’s the beauty of Suite 230.
Q: With every great idea comes some discouragement, whether it is from other people or yourself. How many people told you that you would never be able to make this happen? Did you doubt yourself at all?
 A: We have been told too many times that we were too young or too naive to make this happen. We know it is a competitive industry we are competing in, but we just have to stay true to ourselves and continue to believe in our product and ourselves. Balancing school, work, family/friends, and a business is definitely hard and did sometimes make us doubt ourselves, but we always remained optimistic about things and had confidence in our line.
Q: Which designers or brands have been your biggest inspiration or creative motivation?
 A: It is more of the pop culture and current events that inspire the concepts and messages behind the shirts. Many graphic t-shirt companies (Ed Hardy, Quicksilver, Affliction, etc.) have served as an industry standard that we wanted to get away from and do something different with.
Q: What are your majors? Have they in any way helped with the preparation and planning of launching the clothing line?
 A: I am a Marketing Major, and Jack is a Hospitality major. Both of us are in our senior year. Since starting this business about 2.5 years ago, there have been a few classes that I have been able to utilize what I have learned, but for the most part, the best preparation we got is through learning hands on and trial and error. There are instances, situations, and strategies that can’t simply be taught from a textbook. In-the-field experience is priceless.
Q: If Suite 230 were to be a major success in the near future, would this be something you’d like to do for the rest of your life, or is this more of a side project?
 A: We would love to continue doing this for the rest of our lives, given the opportunity! After t-shirts, we have plans to create a full blown clothing line, but for now, t-shirts are a great way to get people to know about our company and portray our messages.
Q: What was the best thing you learned from this experience?
 A: The best thing we’ve learned from this experience so far is that there is always going to be things that don’t go your way, or that will change at the last minute, so you should always be prepared, and have a back-up plan in mind.
Q: Where do you see Suite 230 in the next ten years?
 A: In 10 years we see Suite 230 in the major, large department stores, being a brand that is well recognized, well respected, and a brand that is different from the rest!

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