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Business Spotlight

Designed to perform: Andrea Robertson’s company outfits athletes across country

Triflare, Andrea Robertson

In 2009 and 2010, Andrea Robertson won the Mrs. America competition wearing a sparkling gold dress and qualified for the USA Triathlon National Championships in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. For the three-part triathlon competitions, which include swimming, bicycling and running, she wore a men’s one-piece triathlon suit. (The top for such suits runs over the shoulders; the bottom is similar to bike ...

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The conversation starter: Keefe Cravat founder helps men use clothing to tell their stories

Jordan D. Williams, Keefe Cravat

If life imitates art, then perhaps business can imitate art school. Jordan D. Williams first picked up the moniker “Bowtie Jordan” while he was a student at Columbia College in Chicago. “I would always wear bowties on campus,” Williams said. “In college, no one was really dressing up. They just don’t. It’s very rare, especially at an art school. I ...

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St. Louis apparel company Made for Freedom combats human trafficking

Dawn Manske

Social enterprise is hard — hard to succeed in, even hard to explain to those ensconced in dog-eat-dog capitalism. Just ask Dawn Manske. In 2011, she launched Made for Freedom in the city of St. Louis. It’s an online apparel company that sells jewelry, bags, shirts, pants and more, all produced by women — mostly overseas — who have escaped ...

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Summersalt’s direct-to-customer swimwear, apparel aim to revolutionize women’s wardrobes

Summersalt, Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin, Lori Coulter

Summersalt co-founders Lori Coulter and Reshma Chattaram Chamberlin consider speed to be their biggest competitive advantage in the entrepreneurial world. Given the brisk rise and early success of their clothing company, it’s safe to say they might be onto something. Whether it’s expeditiously expanding their clothing line to include more categories or picking themselves up swiftly after an investor turns ...

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Missouri companies match fashion startups with tech, resources to bring designs to life

John Elmuccio, Jennifer Lapka, Jon Lewis

Fashion icon Ralph Lauren once noted that he didn’t design clothes. “I design dreams,” he said. That may be true, but turning dreams of a new clothing startup into the tangible reality of product hanging on a shelf can be a genuine challenge — even in fashion Meccas such as New York or Los Angeles. Still, there is a small ...

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Startup Missouri hosts inaugural entrepreneurial Expo

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More than 200 entrepreneurs who aim to turn their ideas into successful products and businesses connected with mentors and resources at Startup Missouri’s inaugural Startup Expo Oct. 30. The daylong event, held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis-Chesterfield, also featured dozens of exhibitors, presentations from educators and founders of startups, and two keynote speakers. Startup Missouri organizers said ...

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From vacant to vibrant: Good Life Growing transforms urban properties to fight food insecurity

Angela Winston, left, Galisa Gregory, center, and Deraze Bullock, right, weed a garden bed Oct. 1 at the at the Good Life Growing garden in The Ville in north St. Louis City. All three are participants in the St. Louis YouthBuild program. Photo by Dana Rieck

James Forbes was laid off in 2011 from his job as a program coordinator and project manager for the Human Development Corporation, which provided financial assistance and services to help people experiencing homelessness and prevent families from becoming homeless. “I was pretty passionate about the work. I was able to be on the funding side of a lot of really ...

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High hopes, high risks: Running your own food business ‘not for everyone’

Fresh farmers market fruit and vegetable from above with copy space

When entrepreneur Rachel Kennedy ran a food truck called Plantain District, she wanted to move things to the next level but a standard restaurant wasn’t really what she was looking for. “I started thinking about a shipping container because that’s so similar to a food truck,” said Kennedy. “Just taking the mobility factor out of it made sense.” And that’s ...

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Cooking by the hour: Kitchen-commissary supports food startups

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About five years ago, Joe Henderson and his brother Jeff were competing on the barbeque circuit when they were approached by someone who had tasted their meats and wanted them to cater an event. That inspired the brothers to try and start a catering business. While they had previously just operated out of their own kitchens and backyards, Joe Henderson ...

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