Students start bay-friendly business

By: Cody Boteler, Senior Editor

Chesapeake Collection is a specialty-clothing retailer that focuses on designs that reflect the area where the concept came from, the Chesapeake Bay, and was founded by a Towson University mass communications major and his friend.

Kevin Ames, who goes to Towson, and Matt Wilmer, who goes to Loyola, said that they started working on the creation of the company in Fall 2014.

“A lot of weekends had to be sacrificed,” Ames said.

The two of them met playing rugby at Calvert Hall.

To help with some of the legal issues in starting a company, like filing tax forms and getting registered as an LLC, Ames called in the help of an attorney who is also a family friend.

When everything was ready to go, the two were able to launch their product at the last Towsontown Spring Festival.

“If we wanted to close up shop [after the festival], we could have made about ten grand a piece,” Wilmer said.

Though the two are technically making profit, all of their revenue goes back into the company to order more shirts, pay their graphic designer and incentivize their volunteer brand ambassadors.

Wilmer and Ames are pretty receptive to brand ambassadors, and are getting college and high school students involved in the program.
“Their job is to get us social media followers, their job is to get us shirt sales, just help promote the company,” Ames said.

Brand ambassadors get 30 percent off all the items in Chesapeake Collection’s online store and are eligible for other rewards for working well.

The pair is still looking for more brand ambassadors.

“We don’t have a lot of stipulations for who it is, as long as we feel like it’s someone who can effectively promote the brand,” Wilmer said.

In addition to promoting it on their clothing, Chesapeake Collection is investing in the bay. Wilmer and Ames have said that they will donate two percent of their annual sales will be donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“We’re a startup company, so we can’t donate huge amounts of money,” Ames said. “But for now we think it’s a good amount.”

Wilmer said that they hope to be able to give more in the future.

To grow their company, the two have been looking to get their products into actual retail stores, instead of selling just online or at special events.

In an email, Ames said that their clothing would be sold at Sailor, a women’s clothing store in Easton, Maryland.

“We are hoping that this is our ticket, that this is our career, that it will take off,” Ames said.

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