Sean Fitzpatrick grew up on Cape Cod. The 32-year-old has had a love of his hometown and the Atlantic coast his entire life. However, he recently realized that there was a major void in properly spreading the true culture of Cape Cod. So he took the bull by the horns to launch his own small business – Cape Cloth, LLC – through which he shares this culture by offering unique apparel.
Fitzpatrick, a 1-800Accountant client, proudly registered the business in October 2014. In fact, he officially pushed the “Go” button on it on October 10th at 10:10 a.m. He runs the e-commerce store directly out of his home office in South Dennis, Massachusetts.
The entrepreneur-by-day and bartender-by-night explains what ultimately led to him taking the leap of faith into starting a business of his own.
“This past summer, I was on the beach with my girlfriend, Kerin. She was complaining about something that was wrong with her baseball hat,” he says. “I realized that there is no apparel that captures the true spirit and energy of this place. I always wanted to work for myself someday, so I came up with a design for apparel that is a modernized version of Cape Cod.”
He offers t-shirts, shorts, tank tops, and beachwear. The items are emblazoned with images of people enjoying common activities on Cape Cod, such as fishing, sailing, golfing, and water sports. He is also looking to add some formalwear options like polos and button-down shirts.
Unlike other clothing outlets, Fitzpatrick is not just selling a cool line of apparel. He is also donating $1 for each purchase of a cloth item to Cape Abilities, a local nonprofit that helps individuals with disabilities find jobs, places to live, and other fulfilling opportunities in their lives.
While Fitzpatrick admits it’s a cliché, he says wearing lots of hats is what he truly enjoys about being one of the many self-employed small business owners out there in pursuit of a passion.
“A common theme in my life has been challenging myself to do things and learn new skills,” he confides. “I kind of have an ADD-type brain. As a business owner, every day is so different, and there is so much you just can’t plan for. I really enjoy the constant learning process.”
Fitzpatrick admits that the apparel industry is quite competitive with countless brands offering various designs. However, his unique twists – the Cape Cod-centric style and his charitable giving – separate Cape Cloth, LLC from the rest of the pack.
“I’m trying to symbolize a certain energy, the community, and the people who live in this area,” he says. “There have always been a very Kennedy-esque, blue blazer, khaki crowd, and then the casual crowd. This kind of meets right in the middle of those styles. From a design element, there is nothing out there like this. The charitable element also makes it unique.”
Starting a business that primarily sells its products online means its marketing strategies should obviously be more web-based. Fitzpatrick has a website – www.capecloth.com – along with social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He explains the importance of consistent branding on the web.
“Make sure the domain name you want is available, and try using the same URL names for your social media pages. This allows you to have a powerful marketing presence online.”
In addition to online marketing strategies, the entrepreneur has received a good amount of word-of-mouth referrals – something he finds extremely valuable to any small business.
Like fellow entrepreneurs working independently, Fitzpatrick says he’s been no exception to many of the common challenges that come with starting a business.
“Staying focused and staying on task are a challenge. The biggest thing has just been trying to keep it all running myself. There are no employees or departments I can turn to for help. I have some close confidantes I can bounce ideas off of, but it’s still all on me. You’re kind of off on your own island.”
Thanks to his own experience, he offers some tips for entrepreneurs.
“You really have to love something,” he says. “The demand will dominate so much of your mental state. It’s so easy to think about your business all the time, so you have to be able to balance all the plates in your life.”
Fitzpatrick says he has been very happy with the business accounting services he has received from 1-800Accountant.
“When it comes to accounting, the less I have to focus on, the better. 1-800Accountant offers a very convenient service. Whether it’s basic tax questions or figuring out different tax strategies, I love having a company with a large breadth of knowledge at my disposal.”
Photo credit: The photograph included in this blog post was provided by Cape Cloth, LLC and is used with permission.