Name: Silverfox, derived from nickname for Ryan Rogers
Owners: Ryan and Nicole Rogers
Products: 12 items, including different color and patterned sports shirts, polo shirts and hats shipped to consumers in a unique “Fox box.”
Standard prices: $115 for sport shirt, $85 for polo shirts and hats from $27 to $32. Company offers free shipping.
Started: Began shipping products in October after a year of development in Chattanooga
Tagline: “SilverFox…because everybody knows one.”
Web sites: Online at https://Silverfox.style, and on Facebook and Instagram at silverfoxbrand.
When Ryan Rogers turned prematurely gray before he was even 30 years old, friends of the stylish, Chattanooga businessman began calling him "the silver fox."
The moniker stuck and Rogers and his wife, Nicole, embraced the label and even got a friend to draw a silver fox logo they initially put on their boat and hung in their garage. Last year, after Rogers had left recent jobs as chief operating officer of U.S. Xpress Logistics, a strategic advisor for Trucker Path and a mentor for Dynamo, he decided to turn the name into a men's clothing line and an online startup business in Chattanooga.
"I've always wanted to start my own business, so Nicole and I spent several years working on the idea of a men's clothing line using the SilverFox logo," Rogers says. "We went through a number of designs and ideas until we got what we think is a very distinctive, attractive and comfortable selection of sports shirts, polo shirts and hats, each displaying our unique SilverFox brand. Our friends and colleagues have really given us a lot of encouragement."
In October, after spending a year working with Los Angeles clothing designer Brett Rubin to develop the new line of sport shirts, polo shirts and hats, the Rogers launched their e-commerce business with an initial dozen items under the SilverFox trade mark.
The couple are banking on the growth of e-commerce to fuel their new clothing line, although they have also found some success in direct sales around their hometown
"There are only two ways right now to buy our products — online and out of the trunk of my car," Rogers quipped. "But we keep seeing the SilverFox around town and we've been really pleased with the initial response. We know we have sold some of our items in Dubai and other countries around the world."
Nicole Rogers said they have done far more than simply putting the SilverFox logo on ordinary shirts or hats. The couple carefully worked with Rubin to develop the clothing items with silver threads and buttons, special fabrics and stitched logos on some shirts and hats.
"You can dress these items or dress them down — wear them with a blazer at work during the day and wear them with a vest for an outdoor look at night," she says. "We call it the perfect fit."
The sports shirts are 36 percent bamboo, 36 percent polyester, 26 percent nylon and 2 percent percent spandex, which creates a wrinkle resistant, antibacterial and light weight product.
Bamboo is moisture-wicking, wrinkle-resistant and silky soft to the touch. The SilverFox polos are made with Peruvian Pima cotton, which is the softest cotton on the market. Less than 3 percent of clothing in the world is made with Peruvian Pima cotton. The SilverFox logo is the statement piece on the custom hats.
"We're seeing the appeal not only for those showing a little gray," he says. "We're also getting a lot of interest from younger people as well."
"SilverFox is for the man who is refined, innovative, determined, stylish and who sets the bar for everyone else," he adds. "We feel like we have a niche brand, and we've tried to make it simple and very customer focused. We're not trying to be the biggest, but we think we are unique and special."
So far, the Rogers are operating the startup venture out of their garage and even their two children have helped out filling orders. The apparel is made under contract from sewers and suppliers in Peru, Shanghai and Bangladesh and is mailed out to buyers around the world.
"It's been a great family enterprise and we hope, over time, to grow into a small warehouse. And we may, if it makes sense, outsource fulfillment if we continue to grow," he says. "Now that we've built the brand, we feel like we can branch off it pretty quickly. But the secret sauce is still determination and hard work."