For a Pair of Boxer-Shorts Barons, the Bottom Line Is but a Brief Measure of Their Success
As a double-play combination for their exclusive Washington, D.C. prep school, St. Albans, Charlie Green and Michael Dickerson impressed baseball coach Bob Brown with their hard work and enthusiasm, if not their athletic ability. Says Brown, "They had a lot of energy and creative ideas. I always knew they were up to something."
As it turns out, they were down to something. Today, five years later, the 23-year-old founding partners of a company called College Concepts are earning top dollar marketing Bottom Drawers. These are boxer shorts patterned with the logos of 50 colleges nationwide, and come football season, the 28 NFL teams will be represented as well.
During their college years the entrepreneurial duo were a continent apart (Dickerson, son of former network news correspondent Nancy, attended Stanford as an international relations major, while Green was a Swarthmore English major) and one great idea short. Then Dickerson noticed the boxer-shorts boom and thought of selling them to university bookstores.
Green agreed to go in on a test run of 30 dozen for their hometown Georgetown University. The Hoya undershorts sold out (at $8 per) in two weeks, and the boxer bigwigs knew their $2,500 investment was going to pay off. Everyone cottoned to their comfort, including women, who account for 70 percent of the purchases.
Students are not the only buyers either. According to Meg Gardner at the Georgetown bookstore, "We have busloads of tourists coming in here screaming for the shorts." Since that fateful sample run in the spring of 1985, College Concepts' business has been expanding like an extra-large waistband. Dickerson and Green quit their jobs on Wall Street and Madison Avenue respectively to devote themselves full-time to their New York City-based company. They have grossed more than $400,000 so far, and they project sales of $2 million by next year. As for their personal take, says Dickerson, "We don't want to say how much we're earning, because we don't want to make friends envious."
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