Bryan Simpson, co-founder and CEO of 5 Pound Apparel, started an illegal t-shirt screenprinting company from his college beer pong room in December 2010.
Just over two years later, he now runs a socially conscious – and legal – retail store that supports 15 nonprofits. For every 5 Pound Apparel item sold, the company donates five pounds of nutritional supplement to its partner, Nepal Nutrition. Nepal Nutrition was founded by CU alumni Mark Arnoldy, who founded the CU-Boulder GlobeMed chapter. GlobeMed will present a talk with Simpson on how he successfully started 5 Pound Apparel as a college student at Missouri State University. Mar. 6 at 7:20 p.m. in ATLAS 100.
What was the inspiration to start 5 Pound Apparel?
I started 5 Pound Apparel while I was senior in college. Until that point in my life I hadn’t done my part to give back. On the way to soccer practice one day, my friends and I decided to help an old man whose car had died on the side of the road. It was a simple and insignificant act, but it was enough to inspire me to start a business with the ultimate goal of helping people every day.
Where does the name 5 Pound Apparel come from?
When we found out it was illegal to operate our screen-printing in our residential living room – long story – we took a leap of faith and opened a retail store. To continue our relationship with Mark and his work with Nepal Nutrition, we decided to donate 5 pounds of food and fortified peanut butter to NN for every shirt sold. Hence, 5 Pound Apparel.
What is 5 Pound’s mission?
To sell awesome products that benefit nonprofits locally and globally.
Why was it important to you to partner with CU Boulder’s GlobeMed program to design a limited edition shirt?
GlobeMed is an incredible organization and we’re always looking for ways that we can team up with nonprofits to raise money and awareness for their causes.Were you a member of GlobeMed in college?
I went to school in Springfield, Missouri and there unfortunately isn’t a GlobeMed chapter here. There also isn’t skiing nearby. I probably should’ve gone to Boulder.
How did you get involved with Mark Arnoldy, founder of CU’s GlobeMed chapter, and his nonprofit, Nepal Nutrition?
Mark and I go all the back to JV soccer in high school. I started a screen-printing company and wanted to use the proceeds to benefit a nonprofit. Meanwhile, Mark was doing incredible work with Nepal Nutrition, so for us it was a perfect fit.
What advice do you have for college-age entrepreneurs?
If you’re any thing like me in college you’re young, poor and inexperienced. It’s the best possible time to start a business. The worst case scenario is that you fail – and at the end of the day you’ll still be young and poor, but the value from the experiences you’ve gained will far exceed those of your peers who take a traditional career path. “It’s much easier to educate a doer than it is to activate a thinker.”
Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Avalon Jacka at Avalon.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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