BOSTON NOW, DECEMBER 10, 2007
College Hype is a business that wears on you
Brittany Lyte - BostonNOW Correspondent
Curt Schilling wears them and so does Ben Affleck. College Hype's slogan shirts pop up in this fall's big screen crime drama "Gone Baby Gone" - and on the backs of Boston locals.
Twenty years into business, owner Jack Doherty is generating hype from more than just the local college kids. The recent Hollywood publicity earned Doherty 300 new customers and 500 new orders in two weeks, forcing him to put in 10 to 15 hours of work per day. But Doherty couldn't be happier with the College Hype buzz.
A Dorchester-native, Doherty launched College Hype while studying history and computers as an undergraduate at Westfield State College in 1987. Since his college days, he developed his company into a full-time career. Now with 22 employees, a retail outlet in Dorchester and an online store, Doherty has eight different Boston-themed clothing lines and sells custom apparel and gear.
"Unlike most companies, we still do our own printing and embroidering in-house," Doherty said.
Popular logos include "All Roads Lead to Boston" (Affleck prefers the "All Roads Lead to Cambridge" design) and "Boston Stout." "College Hype" and "The Party's Over, Now What Do We Do?" rank among Doherty's favorite shirt slogans.
"Seriously, it's all about the publicity," Doherty said. "And also, having a pro athlete wear your stuff doesn't hurt either."
BostonNOW: What advice do you have for others starting a business?
Jack Doherty: The secret that people sometimes don't realize is having a great team.
It may be "your business" but it's the balance of a team that wins. A great coach without great players can't win. That is why College Hype has been around for so long. As we build as a business we have to build a team, just like any other organization. Besides that, working as a team is just more fun. You have to enjoy what you do and who you do it with, or why do it at all.
BN: What do you wish you knew before you started your business?
JD: I can't say there is something glaring that I wish I knew before the business started, because I feel like everyday we are starting and growing and adapting. To say "started" would imply an end at some point, and I can't see the end in sight. That's the fun of it all.
BN: What's the biggest mistake you made in getting your business going?
JD: There were never mistakes, just learning opportunities. That sounds like I'm dodging the question but the truth is that without missteps you learn nothing. I look forward to learning more about every aspect of this and the best way is sometimes trial and error. This is a creative job and creativity can be fickle. The business has never stopped growing for 20 years so I can't complain and I look forward to the next 20. This is a marathon. We are only in the middle but we love the pace and are taking it one mile at a time.