An Industrious, Dapper Duo
By Becca Broaddus
When Jackson Wren was a junior at Baylor, he started a business. It was part of Accelerated Ventures, a two-semester course that enables students to create real companies, raise real funds, launch products and services, and generate sales. Jackson and two of his classmates, Claire Major and Hob Howell, were granted the exclusive license of a newly designed, official Baylor plaid. With a $5,000 investment from Baylor Angel Network, Dapper Bear Clothiers was founded.
The apparel company started out offering a tie, a silk scarf and a bow tie. They started selling two weeks before Christmas in 2013 and were profitable by mid-January 2014. By the end of the year, Jackson bought out his classmates’ shares, and pulled his mirror image twin brother Eric into the business.
“Whenever I started this, I had no idea what I was doing,” Jackson said. “As a triple major (Entrepreneurship, Real Estate and Management), I was spread across all these departments, and I would tell my professors what I was doing. They would open their doors and help me with all the different aspects. Without that support, this thing wouldn’t have worked. It’s a Baylor family collaboration.”
While it’s been successful, thus far, Jackson and Eric have considered Dapper Bear more of a “weekend hobby” turned full-time job. The business took a backseat as they both pursued other interests and degrees.
After graduating from Baylor, Jackson went to get his MBA in Entrepreneurship at the Acton School of Business, so Eric took over the business. Then Eric decided to pursue a master’s degree in Counseling, so Jackson took over the business. Then Jackson went to work full-time in investment banking, so Eric took over the business again. Now, hunkered down in their parents’ garage-turned-office stacked to the ceiling with boxes of merchandise, Jackson and Eric are focused solely on Dapper Bear for the first time.
“It’s all been exciting, but to me, this is the most exciting point we’ve reached so far,” Jackson said. “There’s a lot of untapped potential, but now, this has all of our attention and all of our time. All the time and effort that people poured into us—it’s exciting to see what that can grow into.”
This isn’t the twins’ first business together. When they were 7, they started a business called Wren and Wren, selling gel pens to their peers at school. Then, at 12 years old, their dad decreed, ‘If you ever want a car, you’ve got to pay for it yourself.’ So they started a car detailing company, Cool Cat Car Care, complete with a logo of a clip art cat perched on a car. The brothers went door to door and built up the business, even putting flyers in mailboxes (which later, to their mortification, they found out was illegal). The Wrens’ were successful in both ventures.
“That was my first taste of starting my own business, and I thought, ‘I’m going to do this for the rest of my life,’” Jackson said. “And I still think I will.”
Each with a journal full of business ideas at the ready, they’re considering their next endeavor. They’re contemplating expanding Dapper Bear, enrolling in law school, building out a new business idea, or better yet, maybe all three.
“Everyone used to think you stay in one job for your career, and you stay there until you die,” Jackson said. “We are capable of doing so much. I think it’d be a shame to pigeon hole ourselves there. I want to do a lot of different things, and I will do a lot of different things.”
Baylor Business Review, Spring 2017