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Spell It Out

Keeping up with web lingo has helped this entrepreneur launch an accessory empire.

This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What: Apparel and accessories with IM acronyms and emoticons

Who: Brian Fried of IM:It

Where: Melville, New York

When: Started in 2004

Startup costs: More than $50,000

How did Brian Fried, a marketing director for a mortgage bank, get into selling apparel and accessories? The entrepreneur says he simply turned his hobby of inventing into "a real side business." Fried, 34, is the creator and licensor of IM:It apparel, accessories and school supplies--brightly colored gear featuring acronyms such as "LOL" and "GTG," and various emoticons. Tapping into his 6-year-old daughter's inside knowledge of kids' fashion and the ever-increasing number of tweens and teens who use IM and text messaging obsessively, IM:It is the latest of Fried's numerous endeavors, which include an ad specialty company, kitchen houseware products and a few toy inventions.

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