Brevard Court is the ideal location for Ole Mason Jar, a specialty men’s clothing shop with an Old World feel. As I climbed the dark wood steps to the shop, I felt like I had stepped back in time. The bourbon and high ball glasses set on a small table only added to this sensation.
North Carolina natives and Appalachian State University graduates Bradley Rhyne, 31, and Filipe Ho, 33 own Ole Mason Jar. They have been selling their men’s clothing lines online and by consignment since March 2013 and opened this location, their first, in January.
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Ole Mason Jar focuses on specific products. The shop has ready-to-wear sports coats ($700), polos ($75), ties ($60), button downs ($100 – $160), socks ($20) and leather goods ($20). Custom made suits start at $1,200.
Bradley Rhyne spoke to C5 for the Small Business Series:
(1) What has prepared you to become an entrepreneur?
“I worked at Bank of America for eight years. In fact, I just recently left to do this full-time. We wanted to do this right after school, but we were dumb kids and would have failed miserably. So we went and got jobs in areas that we knew we needed to learn and that would translate, like management and finance. I was in finance.
“Experiencing the corporate world helped prepare me for what to do, as well as what not to do. A personalized relationship with customers is important. We are all about having those in-depth personal connections.”
(2) How did you decide on the location of your business?
“Our vision for Ole Mason Jar is traditional and vintage. We want to bring you back to the past, but also there is a present-day aesthetic too. We were really looking for something that embodied that. This area (Brevard Court) was perfect. These buildings were built in 1914.”
(3) Describe a typical morning.
“I get most of my work done in the morning, the earlier, the better. I try to wake up around 6. It is quiet.”
(4) What has been your biggest obstacle?
“Clothing is a tough business, but our biggest obstacle has been being accepted and getting our name out there. We want to demonstrate how passionate we are.
“Another obstacle is getting other people in the industry to know about us and respect us. The industry can be very tight knit; everybody is an outsider until they’re not. Really, we want to earn their trust and respect, and let them know we are serious.”
(5) What do you do when you are not working?
“I am a huge fan of photography. I love landscape photography; love to take pictures of Charlotte.”
Family history and my own fascination with people and their motivations prompted me to begin this series about Charlotte’s small business owners. Industry, situation and questions will vary. Have a suggestion for a small business owner or entrepreneur to interview? Email it firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Small Business Series.”
Photos:Johnathan Taylor; VMI