Who: Richard and Fred Calloway of Male Care Inc.
Where: Augusta, Georgia
When: Started in 1998
Men have needs. Repetitive needs. Week in, week out, they get their hair cut, their cars washed and their clothes dry-cleaned. Recognizing that men "do those three things religiously and consistently," as Fred Calloway puts it, he and his brother Richard saw an opportunity-and took it.
They created Male Care, a "one-stop shop" that offers all three services. Call it Southern hospitality. Here, men lounge in comfort while the work is being done. Instead of driving around town to three separate locations, at Male Care they can spend some time reading, typing on their laptops or catching the ball game on TV. The concept has garnered such a loyal following that about 80 percent of Male Care's approximately 1,800 customers visit at least once each month.
Richard, 46, and Fred, 44, initially financed the start-up with $30,000 in pooled savings, but are now seeking investors to help expand their concept across the United States through franchising. With 2001 sales expected to hit $210,000, immediate plans include opening a second Male Care location, also in Augusta, next year.
One day, the brothers hope to add oil changes to the line of services. They're also looking into launching an exclusive line of personal-hygiene products (such as hair treatments, lotions and after-shave) branded under the Male Care name.
Who: Jaime Matis of J.J. Creations Inc.
Where: Sherman Oaks, California
When: Started in 1997
Jaime "J.J." Matis has her eye on Olympic gold. No, she's not an athlete, but she loves sports. An avid Dodgers fan, she designed a backpack shaped like a baseball to wear when she went to games. After being asked again and again where she'd purchased her creation, Matis knew she was on to something.
With $25,000 of seed money from her father (and interest from the Dodgers merchandise director), Matis set out to create prototypes and get licensed by Major League Baseball. She started out with only one account last summer and now has five, including an account with basketball's Los Angeles Lakers. Her most successful marketing strategy is simple: Wear the patented bags to every home game. "They're so eye-catching, and it's a one-of-a-kind item people haven't seen before," says Matis, 32.
Matis plans to launch a line of minibags and backpacks next year and wants to target other pro teams as well as intercollegiate sports-and, maybe someday, the Olympics.