Jeff Alpaugh
Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship
2018

Jeff Alpaugh Custom

What is Jeff Alpaugh Custom? A man walks into his local store for his annual shopping trip. He wants to be bold, but in a sea of white and blue, a run-of-the-mill shirt is as bold as it gets. At Jeff Alpaugh Custom, we raise the bar, so you are wearing you. Not only do you get a perfect fitting, high-end dress shirt, but also you can go as dangerous as you want.

What is a dangerous dress shirt? I’m glad you asked. It is a shirt that completely expresses the individuality of the wearer in a very dignified way.  

What is the business problem that your product solves? Jeff Alpaugh Custom (JAC) empowers you to be the most dangerous person in the room. We do this by offering striking designs with a very unique and fun brand and promotional style. Our brand and movement is aimed at men and women who are loud, proud and ostentatious, and want to dress in a way that reflects that lifestyle and spirit.

The most fun I’ve had so far was when we hosted our Dragons' Den viewing party. We had over 400 people join us at one of our favourite restaurants, the Kingstreet Alehouse in Fredericton. The mayor said a few words and a general flew in from Baghdad to speak as well. [Jeff is a former Canadian military officer.] It felt like the whole city was behind the ‘Dangerous Movement’.

The most important thing I’ve learned about starting a business: Nobody will build it for you. Always keep that in mind.

Advice I’d give a budding entrepreneur: You are responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen. Like everything else in life, there is nothing to it but to do it.  Start small but get started. Don't overthink it. Just test the market in small enough doses so that you can handle the losses. And keep testing and adjusting. Don't even think about starting if you are not willing to eat, sleep and breathe your vision.

A Queen’s or Smith connection? Everyone in the MMIE program has been extremely helpful. A classmate is even working on connecting us with Don Cherry. Professor Jim Hamilton is working to introduce us to the Shopify team. Dr. Elspeth Murray got us featured in a CBC.ca article and, lastly, the program director, Dr. Shari Hughson, connected us with alumni, who have given us some incredible guidance.

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