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TIA blog series: Fair Harbor by Jake Danehy ’16

By Contributing Writer on December 16, 2014
Jake Danehy

Jake Danehy ’16

Fair Harbor is a lifestyle brand that is based on the idea of the simplicity of summer and our dedication to the environment. We make men’s bathing suits out of recycled water bottles, using proven, high quality yarn. Every year 50 million plastic water bottles are discarded after just one use. These water bottles end up in landfills, the oceans, or are burned. Because of this, we believe that water bottles should be recycled, melted down, and turned into products that can be worn/used everyday. It is our mission to create a high quality performance product that embodies the pureness and simplicity that is Fair Harbor.

Fair Harbor is a town on Fire Island, New York — a place we went as kids and learned how to surf. Fair Harbor defines summer: clean beaches, no cars, the smell of salt water in the air. Because of our ties to and love of Fair Harbor, we feel that it is our responsibility to clean the oceans of plastic waste, so that everyone can always enjoy the luxuries of summer for a long time to come. Because of our passion for the outdoors, we donate 5% of our profits to the Surfrider Foundation, an organization that cleans up beaches, helping restore natural order to the ocean.

We came up with this idea because we love the ocean and want to keep it clean. We also saw a gap in the existing market for timelessly fashionable performance bathing suits. Because of the gap in the market and our dedication to the environment, we believe that Fair Harbor will be a success.

TIA has been incredible for Fair Harbor. I cannot express how helpful it has been to bounce ideas off of experienced and very knowledgeable entrepreneurs. The mentors in TIA have been through the start up process before, making their guidance and expertise extremely valuable to our venture. I honestly cannot thank them enough for their time.Fair Harbor

A few mentors that have been extremely helpful to our venture in particular have been my group leaders, Lynn Plant ’77 and Greg Dahlberg ’98. They have been instrumental in helping my team and me through some of the challenges that we have faced. Also, Wills Hapworth ’07, Andy Greenfield ’74 and Dina Dunn ’88 have been extremely helpful and very positive about our venture. Lastly, Paul Pollock ’82 has been exceptionally helpful by providing the legal service that we need to become a business and protect our brand.

Again I am so grateful for all of their help along the way, and cannot thank them enough for their time.

The biggest challenge that we have faced has been putting all of the pieces together to develop the bathing suits. Before we started, the process seemed pretty easy: go find fabric, make a design, and produce the product. We have found out, however, that it is much more complicated than that and there are many parties involved in developing a garment.

After running around for a few months trying to do everything ourselves, we finally hooked up with a manufacturing firm who helps entrepreneurs every step of the way, with product design, sourcing, sample making, sizing, and manufacturing. Sweenie Manufacturing has been great and if everything goes as planned, we foresee a production run of 500 pieces within the next few months.

Over the next semester we plan on making sure that our samples fit great and once we get that down we will move on to manufacturing. We are making one bathing suit design, with five different styles, 100 pieces of each style. I see this brand going far as we will not limit our brand to bathing suits. After we develop our bathing suit and are comfortable in the market, we will then expand our line to other beachwear, all with a vision of being sustainable, embodying the classic feel of Fair Harbor.

Jake Danehy ’16 is from Larchmont, New York and a goalie on the Colgate men’s lacrosse team. He is a geography major and has taken many classes on sustainability and properly allocating our resources. He is extremely passionate about the outdoors and loves all types of recreational activities and fitness. He has partnered with his 17 year old sister, Caroline (incoming class of 2019!) who has a strong interest and adoration for fashion, as well as his best friend, Sam who is a business and entrepreneurial studies major at USC.


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