What do you do professionally?
I’m currently running my third company, TheHoodie.com. It began as The Dad Hoodie, which I created for myself when I was tired of carrying around a diaper bag for my young son! I took a super soft hoodie and built in storage pockets for diapers/wipes/bottles/etc. Customers began requesting the Hoodie for tasks other than Dadding so I expanded the brand.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
The flexibility. Having a young family (my wife, Carly, was Duke ’06), I love being able to control my own schedule and prioritize my children ahead of work without worrying about it negatively impacting my career.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
With a start-up the challenge is always taking very few resources and turning them into something big. My business is self-funded, and it feels like every decision is critical with very little room for error. Broadly speaking, the challenge is making sure every single customer has an exceptional experience with our brand.
What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?
I was just in India meeting with clothing factories, which was a fantastic trip. My only previous trip to India was with Fuqua. India creates an emotional reaction I haven’t experienced elsewhere. It’s unbelievably energizing and inspiring, while also incredibly sad.
What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
“Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relative to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid.” - Bertrand Russell
Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?
Teacher. I love the idea of recreating myself and having a second or third career, which I plan to do in five years. It’ll be a real waste of a life/career if all I do is start a bunch of businesses.
Professionally or personally, what are you excited about right now?
Professionally: The role that niche direct-to-consumer e-commerce is going to have over the next few decades. All large mainstream opportunities will be dominated by Amazon and virtually impossible to execute against, but e-commerce niches will provide huge opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Personally: Traveling around the world with my family.
What do you like to do outside of work?
All things family and working on becoming fluent in Italian.
What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?
That I’m a generalist and there will always be many people far better than me in each functional area of a business.
Who was your favorite professor?
Bennet Zelner, who was a strategy professor. As an entrepreneur, it was super interesting to take intellectual business frameworks and see which ones actually apply in real world small business settings.
What is your favorite Fuqua memory?
The trip I took to the Taj Mahal with a few classmates. Just a wild experience that I’ll remember forever. The best memories seem to happen away from the classroom, in my experience.
What does Team Fuqua mean to you?
Support and connection. Classmates with whom I haven’t spoken in years consistently reach out to check in and see how they can help. They’re genuinely interested and never looking for anything in return. It’s actually been this way since day one at Fuqua! I’m actually working on a new idea with one of my old classmates!