Starboard is a small clothing company based in Annapolis, Maryland that was founded late in 2010 following an unlikely series of events that I never expected to occur.
Earlier that year, I had the opportunity to review some hand made bow ties for a blog that I co-founded with my friend turned business partner, Ryan Stansbury. Ryan and I had founded Bowties & Boatshoes in October of 2010 with the idea that we could share our outlook and favorite products that fall into a genre that we decided to call “East Coast Style” or "East Coast Prep."
After the opportunity to examine the construction of other hand made ties, I wondered if it would be possible for me to make some ties of my own. In an effort to do exactly that, I purchased a 1940's Singer sewing machine from an estate sale and enlisted the help of my grandmother to relearn the basics of sewing that I’d forgotten in the years since home economics.
The first few attempts were very rough, but each new attempt brought me closer to something I could be proud to wear. After about a week of evenings spent forging a pattern out of many “prototypes,” I had created a bow with a profile that I could be proud of. Not too big and hokey, not too small and trendy, but a wonderfully timeless fusion.
Eventually, I began wearing my newly created ties to work. The bright colors, acceptably conservative patterns, and unique textures were an instant hit. Not only did the ties garner notice, but I quickly began receiving requests from colleagues and acquaintances for me to create custom ties for them as well. Given the level of interest, I decided to try my hand at selling ties.
After a few months of running the blog with Ryan, I had seen a plethora of different quality products and marketing strategies from small lifestyle companies. With that knowledge base, after just a few days of selling bowties on a one-off basis, I decided to found Starboard Clothing Co..
The company took its name from the nautical term "Starboard," which indicates the right-hand side of a ship. I can’t resist a good pun, so our tagline became:
“Maybe that's why there is something about Starboard Clothing Co. that just feels so ‘right.’”
We’ve been blessed to have a steady stream of supportive and loyal customers who have allowed us to consistently grow and offer new products. We’ve also been able to partner with some wonderful retailers who have been invaluable with their advice and insight. At the end of the day, we just feel downright lucky to have all of the support that we do and we’ll do our best to continue to justify the personal investment our supporters have made in Starboard.
-Benjamin Howard Meredith
Owner - Starboard Clothing Co.