College: College of Charleston
Occupation: Director of sales, marketing, and promotions for C4
1. Describe your job in three words: colorful, unexpected, fun
2. You moved to Shanghai after college. What role, if any, did that play in the development of this company? As soon as I graduated I moved straight to Shanghai. It absolutely played a role. I went there with the intention to find something to do. I had no idea what it would be. I went there first to get into marketing and consulting companies and then I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I taught English part-time which turned into starting my own SAT prep company for students who couldn’t afford college. I did that full-time. Then the summer of 2011 we came up with this idea to start the belts.
3. Who’s we? You had friends there? Yea I lived with three other guys and the four of us decided to pursue this seriously. We moved back to U.S. and the rest is history.
4. What’s it like working with your friends? It’s cool. You hear people saying don’t go into business with your friends. I’ve learned it the hard way. Over this past year we were around each other all the time and it consumed our life and blurred the lines of our friendship and that’s not necessarily a good thing. We live together, work together…it’s a lot. There needs to be that separation. It did complicate things in our friendship, but at the same time it’s cool to work with people you can call your friends. It makes it more fun!
5. Who came up with the name? C4 was a collaborative effort. As things progressed it just ended up being C4. But it stands for choose your color choose your cause. The four c’s.
6. Why belts? Well for a number of reasons. For the most part because no one has ever seen belts in this kind of way before. It’s exciting because it’s new. It happened naturally. We found the material in China and it’s usually used in watches and wristbands and we were wondering what we could do with it. And when you think of a wristband it’s like a miniature version of a belt so we said hey let’s put this around our waist. Let’s do belts.
7. I adore the Toms guy. I love people who have a product, but still give back. How did you choose the charities you give back to? We pick four charities every year. They are non profits as well. We chose the four this year based on our personal interests, what we believe in, and what we feel strongly about. We also think about how our customers relate to the world as well. I chose Boys & Girls Club of America. When I was at Woodward we worked closely with them and so I liked that. That’s why I chose that. I know a lot of our customers can relate to that too. It’s a great program to help inner city kids stay out of trouble. I support that. The other three which are Kiva, Project Kaisei, and the Human Rights Campaign are also very important. The Human Rights Campaign supports equality no matter what. No matter the individual’s sexual preference. That’s a big issue. We want to support all lifestyles! And Project Kaisei…. we want to give back by supporting the environment and clean products. The other one Kiva raises money for startup companies. Because we are one, we want to promote entrepreneurship around the world and really help people out. And do a lot of ppl ask you about the Toms guy-Blake Mycoskie? Yea and I feel indirectly influenced by him. Yea it’s definitely a company to look up to.
8. My friends and I come up with some grandiose, let’s take over the world,we’re all in type of inventions everyday, but we never really do it. What made you and your business partners hit the ground running and take your ideas seriously? There’s a number of things. I mean we went to China to start something new. With that being said, we were already on our way. Personally, I didn’t want to go to China and not do something. Before that it was the SAT prep company. I was already in the mindset to start something. You just have to have the ambition and drive to break away from whatever it is you’re doing. From there it all just falls into place.
9. But did you ever think I don’t want to do this anymore? Oh yea! Starting a company is not easy. We have asked ourselves that at times, but it’s funny you ask that. I was on Facebook yesterday and my friend posted a quote by someone and I thought it was cool because he is a solo entrepreneur. We have a lot in common. It’s a Thomas Edison quote and it said, “many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” That’s so true. Yea we came this far so we are just going to keep going and become more and more successful.
10. In ten years you will be… I have no idea what I’ll be doing. If you asked me this a year ago I couldn’t have told you. I never foresaw myself selling belts so honestly I could be doing anything.