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Student-run “For the Boys” company catches fire in St. Louis area

Seniors+Brett+Schade%2C+Jackson+Glisson%2C+Austin+Balestra%2C+James+Banks%2C+Tyler+Ramatowski%2C+Drew+Benoski+and+junior+Will+Patton+pose+for+a+photo.+The+boys+gathered+for+a+photoshoot%2C+and+this+is+currently+the+main+picture+on+the+website.+%22I+mean+it%E2%80%99s+not+really+anything+crazy+you+know+just+a+local+business+just+starting+out+selling++sweatshirts%2C+but+once+we+get+our+website+going+and+a+little+more+brand+recognition+I+think+we+could+really+have+potential+to+expand%2C%22+Glisson+said.
Seniors Brett Schade, Jackson Glisson, Austin Balestra, James Banks, Tyler Ramatowski, Drew Benoski and junior Will Patton pose for a photo. The boys gathered for a photoshoot, and this is currently the main picture on the website.

Seniors Brett Schade, Jackson Glisson, Austin Balestra, James Banks, Tyler Ramatowski, Drew Benoski and junior Will Patton pose for a photo. The boys gathered for a photoshoot, and this is currently the main picture on the website. "I mean it’s not really anything crazy you know just a local business just starting out selling sweatshirts, but once we get our website going and a little more brand recognition I think we could really have potential to expand," Glisson said.

Shanna Bailey

Shanna Bailey

Seniors Brett Schade, Jackson Glisson, Austin Balestra, James Banks, Tyler Ramatowski, Drew Benoski and junior Will Patton pose for a photo. The boys gathered for a photoshoot, and this is currently the main picture on the website. "I mean it’s not really anything crazy you know just a local business just starting out selling sweatshirts, but once we get our website going and a little more brand recognition I think we could really have potential to expand," Glisson said.

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Senior Austin Balestra had always wanted to take a shot at starting a clothing line, so he asked his business friend, Parkway Central senior Tyler Ramatowski to help. One night after a long discussion they decided on the product.

“It was kind of one of those things that we figured we’d take a shot at and try, and FTB (For the Boys) was the first logo we agreed on, and it kind of took off,” Balestra said.

Once the product was decided on, Balestra sent the logo to senior Jackson Glisson who became the head of marketing.

“They showed [the logo] to me, asked me what they thought about it, and I said that would probably really hit. I asked if there was any chance I could get on board and they loved it,“ Glisson said.

The first shipment became available Nov. 3. At first, the creators knew they were taking a risk and were nervous, but after making a profit, they saw the true potential of their project.

“We were excited, but deep down there was a fear that what if it doesn’t blow or doesn’t hit, and what if we dropped a whole bunch of money on a project that failed. So we were nervous, but [once] the first order sold out, we thought there is a lot of room to grow,” Balestra said.

As students walk the halls, the creators often see their peers sporting “FTB” merchandise.

“It’s great, I love getting texts from people saying, ‘I just saw someone wearing your sweatshirt.’ It’s good to see it around the school, and I love when teachers talk about it and seeing the community getting involved,” Glisson said.

Balestra, Glisson and Ramatowski have all put in a lot of work, like advertising the product, discussing the layout and creating a website, but they did not do it on their own. Balestra’s father helped make the dream become a reality.

“We started looking into options to getting our hoodies printed but we’re 17 and 18 [years old]; we don’t have many connections in that type of business, but luckily my father is in promotional sales, and he helped us get our hoodies printed,” Balestra said.

The business is continuing to expand, a fully-functioning website, showcasing the merchandise, and an Instagram account.

“The website is up, and we have tank tops hats, beach towels, yeah we have a whole good line coming out,” Glisson said.

The business has not only benefited the creators for the experience but has inspired them for what they want to do in college.

“Marketing is what I want to study next year in college, and I’m able to incorporate my marketing class.  I’m taking this year into my work, and the whole thing has just been a real-life experience,” Glisson said.

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Student-run “For the Boys” company catches fire in St. Louis area