BF & I are always on the lookout for new companies starting out in the Windy City. Since Chicago is so much the Second City, there aren't that many companies that start out here, so when we find one, we get really excited. In the past, I've talked with Salmon Cove, an up and coming company out of the Loop in Chicago.
And small world that it is, wouldn't you know the owners of Salmon Cove, are fraternity brothers of the founder of Chicago Belt Company. They are both graduates of University of Dayton in Ohio, and natives of the Midwest. Therefore they are quite the experts of Midwest fashion.
Their line of ribbon belts are unique and feature iconic images from around the Midwest (including the Chicago Flag in the picture above, and the Great Lakes in the picture below)
I recently had the opportunity to sit down to brunch with the founder and owner of Chicago Belt Company, Rob Cardenas. Over a wonderful meal at local brunch spot, Orange, Rob described how he got his start.
When did you first decide to start your company?
Officially, over this past summer. Rob graduated and started working in the corporate world, and really enjoyed it, but knew he wanted to start his own business. It's been an aspiration for him since he was a kid. He learned a lot about business development in his corporate life, and transferred it to his new company.
What is your inspiration?
The great lakes area. Rob was wearing vineyard vines, and says he's always had clothes that came from similar companies and so did his friends. He's always wanted something of his own and looked to make something unique but with the same feel and look that would fit his style. Rob wants to create something that is relatable to those in the Midwest and beyond.
Where did you first develop your style?
Rob developed his style from his family. Growing up as a little kid, he always sported kind of the casual classic look. An all American style.
What has been the hardest thing about starting your own business?
Patience, the hardest thing is maintaining your focus and staying the course to accomplish your goal. But Rob has made it look easy! He has created is brand image, sourced product and launched a great website all within the last 6 months.
How to Enter for a chance to win a Belt and your choice of a Koozie, T-shirt, or a pair of croakies from Chicago Belt Company:
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 Chicago Belt Co. on Facebook
1 additional entry: Follow Chicago Belt Co. on Twitter
2 additional entries: Blog about this giveaway or Tweet. (Be sure to include a link back and @gaboiler07 and @chicagobeltco in the tweet!)
Please include all entries you completed in ONE comment!!!
There is a maximum total number of six entries.
Giveaway ends 12/19/11 at midnight EST. The winner will be announced 12/22/11.
What to learn more about Chicago Belt Company? Check them out here:
And as always, if you have any companies you think I should check out and feature on my blog. Please let me know!