DeSales Students Merge Music With Fashion to Create "Pyknic"
DeSales juniors Stephen Thompson and Andrew Marshall agree, clothing may not necessarily make the man, but it most definitely describes him.
Thompson, a marketing major from Robbinsville, N.J., and Marshall, a sport management major from Green, N.Y., are the co-founders of Pyknic, a fun, casual and unique clothing line they introduced two years ago during their freshman year.
While in high school, Thompson's participation in commercial art classes helped develop his graphic art skills and resulted in some work with clothing companies. According to Thompson, the one-man operation proved to be too challenging. Then as a freshman at DeSales, the idea for the business resurfaced when he met Marshall, who had similar interests.
Marshall and Thompson met on the men's soccer team and discovered they were in the same marketing class. They also shared the same plans for the future, after graduating from DeSales. Basically, they both expressed a strong desire to work in a more relaxed environment with friends, rather than in a large company where they would be just another number.
"We realized we had many of the same interests, including music and fashion. We figured we could use our business savvy to merge the two concepts," said Thompson. "We wanted to create something that people could not find in the mall because it was that unique."
Their business venture started with an idea for a t-shirt with a slogan that they could wear to parties. Then others in their residence hall asked for shirts. As demand increased, so did the desire to continue with the business and come up with a more creative design.
Both students have a strong commitment to the business and want it to succeed. To promote their product, they created a catalog and attended trade shows. The clothes are sold online and through distributors. Items include sweatshirts, t-shirts and polo shirts.They hope to add jeans to the collection in the future.
"With classes, school activities and other things going on in our lives, we still work on the collection in some way each day," said Thompson. "As a direct result, our product has improved tenfold and we have developed a large client base that includes customers and boutiques here and overseas."
Currently, Pyknic is the focus of an independent study that Marshall and Thompson are doing for Dr. Martin Brett, assistant professor of business and director of the sport management program at DeSales.
According to Brett, it is gratifying to see the students apply what they are learning in real time, so that as their business knowledge continues to grow, so does their business.
"Andrew and Stephen have done something that I am sure many people think about doing every day," said Brett. "They have taken an idea and turned it in to a reality."
Brett attributes the students' success, in large part, on identifying their target market and staying focused.
"One of the elements of their business that has made them so successful is the fact that they have remained focused on their target market," said Brett. "They have a great feel for this target market as well, because they are a part of it. They know what their peers are looking for and they have positioned themselves to deliver it."
The idea of the name "Pyknic" came from a "cool words" dictionary they found online. Although Thompson says its meaning is silly, the spelling was different and it seemed to represent the collection.
"Most of all, it was catchy," said Thompson. "There is nothing like it, so people tend to remember it."
Although both students are involved with design concepts, Thompson focuses on product development research and the technical side, such as the web design and the graphic design of the shirts. Marshal handles the events, product research and public relations.
Their respective families also are very supportive. They offer a variety of help from business advice and taking photographs, to wearing the clothes and helping to promote the products.
With the success of the business, they are now expanding. Pyknicwear now can be found in stores at the New Jersey shore and a store in New York. Also, the clothing line is being sold in stores in Perth, Western Australia, Japan and the United Kindgom.
Press Release: DeSales Students Merge Music With Fashion to Create "Pyknic" | Posted on: 11/30/2007
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu