Princeton – It’s Lonely at the Top
It only makes sense to start Ivysport’s blog with the t-shirt that launched the company. Back in 1988, I was a sophomore at Princeton University and a “work-study” student – meaning I needed a campus job to help pay my tuition. I was issued the job of working at “DFS” (the Division of Food Services) in Forbes College, which meant after attending classes and football practice all week I had to wake up at 6AM to make eggs and omelets to hung-over fellow students as they meandered into the dining all. It took about four weeks on the job to realize (and to quote Donny Deutsch) “there had to be a better way”.
I had always been interested in the camaraderie and competition shared by the eight Ivy League schools, particularly as I made my way to the other campuses while playing football for Princeton. You could by a Princeton t-shirt, or Harvard t-shirt, or even a Yale sweatshirt, but you could not buy anything that featured all eight Ivy League schools on one item. I began sketching what would become my concept for “It’s Lonely at the Top”, which featured one Ivy school crest on top of the crests of the other Ivy League schools. Thus began my career as an entrepreneur.
I printed up a batch of shirts and began selling them to students at Princeton’s residential colleges. I would knock on a door, show them the shirt, and walk away with $15 bucks in my pocket. This was way better than flipping eggs! It was only a matter of time before my now competitor, the Princeton U-Store, came calling and requested to sell “It’s Lonely at the Top” in their bookstore. Later, all eight Ivy League schools would request their own version to sell at their bookstore. To this day – 22 years later – we still receive orders, compliments, and raves about this original shirt.
Personally, after Princeton I went on to explore investment banking, consulting, working in entertainment (HBO and EMI Music), and technology, yet at the end of the day I came back to Ivy League apparel and started what today is Ivysport – the largest provider of Ivy League apparel on the planet!
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