November 15, 2011

Brand Profile & GIVEAWAY!: Southern Tide

Southern Tide is a company near and dear to my roots. They're based out of Greenville, SC... LESS THAN 15 mins from my parent's farm! I came across this company while looking for new polos for BF. I got him hooked out of college with some classic Brook's Brother's, however there's not much give and they can come out of a wash cycle pretty stiff. Southern Tide's Skipjack Polos offer elasticity but a solid structure that maintains a professional shape... overall they're a crazy mix between backyard bbq and Friday's at the office. The below Championship Gold Skipjack polo is one of my favorite colors of their Classic offering:

Link - $75

I've been admiring some of the other sweet gentleman duds, keeping my eye out for some BF Christmas gift options.
If I had a brother.... or Sister FINALLY introduced me to a BF of her own... I'd say this might make a nice gift. LINK - $85

Their V-Neck Sweaters offers a sharp looking compliment to any Holiday ensemble for the man in your life... nudge nudge, hint hint. LINK - $115

I have to admit after my cooler painting project, and being particularly intrigued by a unique 'accessory' such as the below, my mouth waters for hot summer days on the boat (with my Dramamine, of course).

LINK - $219 (20 QT.)

The wonderful gentleman, CEO Jim Twining took  the time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about launching one of the fastest growing companies in the US! Check out our conversation below (Stay tuned till the end of the entry for the GIVEAWAY of a $100 gift certificate for Southern Tide... How PERFECT is that just in time for the holiday season?!)

Southern Tide. Classic. Authentic. Built with a Purpose.
Tell me About how Allen started Southern Tide?
Allen founded the company when he was 23 years old. Allen always had a keen desire to improve
things. For instance, he restored an old jeep when he was in high school (see attached before and after
pictures). He wanted to make sure if was “off road” worthy and built it so he could take it into up to 4
feet of water. In the process he learned to weld, learned about engines, how to paint a car, etc.

As a Junior in college, Allen traveled to Italy for several months and was inspired by the extraordinary
attention to detail and fabrics he found there. After returning from Italy he couldn’t stop thinking
about his idea of starting a clothing company. The next year, when he was a senior in college, he
decided to go for it. He felt he could make a better polo shirt and set out on a mission to do so!

The start of the company was a big risk, but Allen was an innovator and entrepreneur at heart. Soon
after he had the idea, his mother Dianne jumped in to help him. It took almost a year to get the
first Skipjack polo designed and produced, but they finally got it the way they wanted it and ordered
5000 shirts. They actually had them delivered to their house in March of 2007. They started selling
the product to men’s clothing stores and started getting a lot of re-orders. In late 2007 they met and
partnered with Jim and Barbara Twining.

Since the beginning, the company has experienced rapid growth. From just Allen and Dianne to 28
people, from 0 to to over 500 stores, and from that first order of polos in 16 colors to over 3000 items!
They’ve double their business six times since the end of 2007. Southern Tide was recently recognized
as the fastest growing apparel company in America and the 73rd fastest growing company overall by INC Magazine. In November 2011, Forbes Magazine named Southern Tide one of the “25 Most Promising Companies in America” . Southern Tide attributes its growth to consistent innovation, designing great products with a never ending attention to detail, listening to customers, building a great team, and a passion for extraordinary customer service..”

What is the Company’s inspiration?
Allen always loved classic clothing. In college wore a lot of khakis, button downs, polo shirts, and top siders. He dressed like most of the college students in the south. Polo shirts were one of his mainstays and as he started thinking about what to make first, he decided he could improve on what was available. The one’s he had shrunk a lot, lost their shape, wore out over time, and there did not seem to be much attention to detail. .

“We’re all so detailed oriented, I can literally remember days when we’d get shipments in of thousands
of polos in and we would literally inspect every shirt buy taking them out of the bag and use a small pair of scissor and a magnifying glass to cut any loose threads off the shirts.It would take weeks.

“We get emails weekly from people who want to start their own companies, and they want to know
where we get our polo shirts so they can buy some and put their logo on it. What they don’t understand is that we designed these from the ground up, and they are 100% unique to our company. Other than a few things like Yeti coolers, which we could not improve, we never find other people’s products and put our emblem on them. ”

“When we decided to make button down sport shirts, we decided to make the first men’s pin-point
shirt with stretch. They are typically 100% cotton and we added a little stretch to it as well as working
very hard on the fit. As far as we know, we also made the first high quality, alterable, khaki pants with
stretch for under $100.”

These are just a few examples of our approach to making authentic clothing.

Why do you think the Skipjack Polo has become the Best Selling Polo shirt in most of the 500 stores where it is sold?The Skipjack Polo remains our most popular product. People rave about the feel and the fit of the product and after 4 years, the growth of the product sales is still incredible. What customers in their emails and letters can be summed up this way –They love the fit – we worked very hard to create a unique fit for every size, rather than just stick to industry standards; They love the way the shirt stretches as they move, since we added a slight amount of stretch to this traditionally all cotton product; and they love the feel of the product – Allen’s goal was to make it as comfortable as an ‘old t-shirt’ that is incredibly soft inside. This same thinking was a big part of our sport shirt development – sport shirts are now our second biggest category and the fit, slight amount of stretch and feel of these shirts are also what people tell us they love about them.

What has been the hardest thing about growing the business? 
“The hardest part of starting the company is to never give up. Keep pushing till you got exactly what you want. Never sacrifice quality to make a buck – this is one of the values we actually have written down and hanging up in about 15 places in our offices. We had one manufacturer of t-shirts who was getting frustrated that we keep sending back the fabric telling him it was not what we wanted. At one point he said, “ ‘it’s just an f-ing t-shirt’ and we had to explain that ‘no, it’s not just a f-ing t-shirt’. It’s sticking to your ideals. We were not going to make a second rate t-shirt. We wanted something really authentic and by sticking to this, we were able to create an unbelievable t-shirt fabric that our customers rave about. Another hard part about hyper-growth is keeping the infrastructure in tact while keeping up with the growth.”
What other products do you hope to add to your portfolio?
"We released 7 new products in the last 30 days; denim, 2 v-neck sweater models, chinos, 2 new quarter zips, and a new type of sport shirt, . Every 4-6 months there are more products coming out. The most fun thing we’re doing is the light weight denim for spring if 2012. It’s really cool and is made from white denim that is dyed into an array of colors. .” Allen actually created the process of dying and finishing this special denim while at the denim factory working on another project.

Is there anything else you'd like to mention?
"A lot of people always ask, ‘how have you grown so fast’. Stick to your ideals, really listen to your customers, build your team with great people, and never stop trying to improve. The most significant part of this is Finding Great People! We have a fantastic team that shares our ideals and is incredibly focused."

How to Enter the to win $100 Gift Certificate for Southern Tide:

Required first entry: Leave your email address in a comment and follow Prep in the Midwest.

1 additional entry: Follow Prep in the Midwest on Tumblr
1 additional entry: Like Southern Tide on Facebook

1 additional entry: Follow Southern Tide on Twitter

2 additional entries: Blog about this giveaway or Tweet.  (Be sure to include a link back and @gaboiler07 and @southerntide in the tweet!)

Please include all entries you completed in ONE comment!!!
There is a maximum total number of six entries.

Giveaway ends 11/28/11 at midnight EST. The winner will be announced 12/2/11.

Want to learn more about Southern Tide? Check them out here:
Twitter: @southerntide
And as always, if you have any companies you think I should check out and feature on my blog. Please let me know!


  1. Thank you for the link to this site. It will be a help as I look for gifts for others this season.

    msgb245 at gmail dot com

    I am a follower.

  2. Love Southern Tide! So fabulous for Christmas for my boyfriend! And they're from my hometown of Greenville, gotta love that! And I like them on Facebook!


  3. Give it to me!! You already have my email address, and I am a follower.

  4. 1. seriously- i adore the sweater! i would LOVE to win! i am a follower!

    2. i Like Southern Tide on Facebook

    3. i Follow Southern Tide on Twitter

  5. 1. followed :)
    2. was already a tumblr follower :) clearly-confused
    3. liked southern tide on facebook
    4. followed southern tide on twitter

  6. 1) Already Done!
    2) Liked
    3) Already Done!
    4) Reblogged via my Tumblr (
    5) And Tweeted via two accounts! @aubietodd
    wthollinghead at

  7. Required first entry: Leave your email address Followed:

    1 additional entry: Liked Southern Tide on Facebook

    1 additional entry: Followed Southern Tide on Twitter

    2 additional entries: Tweet about this giveaway. (Included a link back and @gaboiler07 and @southerntide in the tweet)!/BowTieBelle/status/141134311217827840

  8. Thanks for the fantastic giveaway! I'm following here and on Tumblr.

  9. Email:

    Liked Southern Tide on Facebook

    Follow Prep in the Midwest on Tumblr

    Followed Southern Tide on Twitter

    Tweeted about the giveway! (!/Sarahbarnes7/status/141151343363633152)


    Follow Prep in the Midwest on Tumblr

    Like Southern Tide on Facebook and follow on Twitter

    Blogged about this giveaway (
    Also Tweeted about it

  11. Follow Prep in the Midwest on Tumblr
    Like Southern Tide on Facebook and follow on Twitter


    Thank you!


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