MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- It’s been a “pretty crazy” year since Jake Danehy pitched his Fair Harbor swimwear line on a mock “Shark Tank” at Colgate University.
Last year, the 22-year-old geography major from Larchmont and his friends modeled his ecologically-conscious board shorts for a panel of celebrities. The panel included Jessica Alba -- an actress, model and founder of a company that makes non-toxic household products.
The simple, yet stylish swimwear, made from recycled plastic bottles, was inspired by a concern for the environment and the laid-back surfing life in Fair Harbor, a Fire Island community where Danehy spent his summers.
His “sea's the day” message he hopes to project is simple as well: “Only consume what you need. Live in the moment.”
Due to their sophisticated pitch, Danehy and his sister, Caroline -- then a Mamaroneck High School senior -- came away from the "Shark Tank" with $5,000 in seed money, which, combined with a $15,000 grant from Colgate’s “Thought Into Action” program, funded their first production run.
Childhood friend Sam Jacobson is a co-founder. Caroline is now a freshman at Colgate, where Jake is a goaltender on the Raiders' men's lacrosse team.
Last summer, they made 500 pairs, in five styles. At $65 a pop, the shorts were half of what the nearest competitor’s cost and “sold out,” he said.
They first operated out of the TIA incubator, then moved to an office in New York City.
This past December, they launched a Kickstarter campaign which pulled in $25,000.
The new coffer will fund a second round of shorts and organic cotton T-shirts. (Women’s bathing suits are on the horizon.)
Sold online at www.fairharborclothing.com , the collection has grown to seven styles. Shipping begins in March.
The plastic “yarn” is made in China (the cotton is from California) and the fabric is cut and sewn in Guatemala.
Danehy, who estimates the first run kept 5,500 plastic bottles from polluting the environment, said he hopes to someday move production here.
If Fair Harbor continues to see fiscal fair weather ahead, Danehy said he can see it “becoming a multi-million-dollar business one day.”
And that could be good news for the ocean he loves as well.
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