Chris Jordan is a guy with big ideas, and if the growth of his new venture is any proof, he knows how to turn those ideas into reality.
An entrepreneur his entire adult life, Jordan was bitten by the small business bug early. “My dad owned his own business, and the idea of clocking in and clocking out never appealed to me. I’ve always just had that spirit, and it’s worked for me.”
Jordan, 36, grew up in North Little Rock, attended the University of Arkansas and is a rabid Razorbacks fan. He owned and grew his own real estate agency for many years, but in 2011 started a new venture, Stated Apparel.
“It started as an apparel company doing some funny shirts for different towns in Arkansas,” he said. “I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor, a lot of Arkansas pride and I love sports. When this started, it began as a little side business and was well-received.” Jordan likes to joke that he’s the funny bone of the company, but his wife is the backbone.
Working primarily out of mall kiosks as he grew his ideas, Jordan, alongside his wife Casey, relied on that creativity and sense of humor to build his brand. Over time, Stated Apparel began appearing in several malls throughout Arkansas, and Jordan had a sense he was onto something unique. “I love creating shirts for people that represent their lifestyle,” Jordan said. That led them to their motto that they use today: ‘Our Shirts. Your Story’.
“About a year ago, I decided to make the business my primary focus,” he said. “My wife, daughter and I moved to [Casey’s] hometown of Bryant, and I sold a portion of my real estate business to work on Stated Apparel full time. That’s when we shifted into the production and screen-printing ourselves.”
It was a big move carried out by Jordan but one that would be immediately followed by another big decision. He needed to get his graphic designer and business partner, Adam Barnes, to Central Arkansas and under the same roof.
“We moved [Barnes] down from Fort Smith and put him on a full time salary,” Jordan said. “We had Stated Apparel, and it was going well. He’s such a valuable asset that I gave him part of the business. He’s so important to what he do here.”
With the team together, Jordan and Barnes began expanding their brands to new clothing lines that now include Lake Bum, Snakewater Outfitters and His Hem, a Christian-based line of t-shirts. They also expanded their state-themed shirts to 10 other states. However, they’ll never forget their roots, because as you can see, the Arkansas flag is built into the company logo.
Another clothing line that’s taken off for Stated Apparel is sports-themed and based on one simple line… “Gameday Y’all.” No matter what your school colors, you can find the perfect match, letting everyone know exactly what’s on your mind when your favorite team kicks off in the fall.
“We own Gameday Y’all and
www.gamedayyall.com,” he said.
“It’s something simple we started and is applicable to every school in the country. It’s really popular.”
“As I grew this methodically, I grew every process individually, so we can think through everything ourselves and our lines can all be very different,” he added.
With many lines under one tent and a creative team in place, Jordan says the direction of Stated Apparel is now moving into higher end, fashion-minded clothing with the Lake Bum line. “There’s still some of the fun, but we’re focusing more on fashion,” he said. “We’re wholesaling to boutiques and getting great feedback on what we’re putting out there with our higher end apparel.”
Adding to the strength of Stated Apparel, Jordan has assembled all facets of his clothing line to one location stationed in Bryant. That move allows Barnes and him to manage all parts of the clothes-making process and maintain creative control and privacy.
“We do the whole process ourselves from concept to production to delivery,” he said. “This way we self-regulate our quality control and we get the satisfaction of creating something we are proud of.”
So with multiple clothing lines in place and growing like wildfire, what does Jordan see as the next step for Stated Apparel?
“In the future, we think we’re going to be pretty powerful when it comes to launching a brand, even to the point where we help people launch their own brands.”
It doesn’t sound like a bad plan at all. And when you consider how well Jordan has pulled off growing Stated Apparel and its partnering brands in such a short period of time, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll achieve that goal, too.