Today we’d like to introduce you to Shawn Hawthorne.
Shawn, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am originally from Houston, Texas, and moved to North Carolina at a young age. I have always been a creative and a lover of the American story, especially the 19th century and that’s how I kind of stumbled into the clothing industry, to be honest.
I went to college in North Carolina and received a B.S. in Business from the University of Mount Olive and an MBA from Colorado State University. While I never really loved my major they have served me well in the business I created named 1861 Outfitters.
As I said before, I love the American story and the 19th century specifically the American Civil War (hence 1861). During a tour of Gettysburg, PA, our tour kind mentioned an Ohio regiment that use to be positioned where a McDonald stands today. This really bothered me.
We have so many parts of our American story being torn down in the name of progress. These places once torn down will never look the same and we lose a piece of us. (1861 Outfitters donates a portion of our proceeds to nonprofit who preserve the American experience.)
One day, the idea of creating an All-American clothing brand came to me. I wanted to take my love for the American experience and combine it with the Americana style and give it a modern twist.
My journey of growing 1861 Outfitters has been great. While the clothing industry is very competitive, I have enjoyed the ride. I started the brand in 2018 with a handful of designs including the famous Palmetto Tree and Crescent Moon of South Carolina.
Recently, I was in Charleston doing my first official photoshoot and video shoot for 1861 Outfitters. There could not be a better setting for 1861 Outfitters’ first photoshoot than the beautiful streets and surroundings of Charleston.
We will soon be releasing our fall lineup and I would love to one day have a store in Charleston and have 1861 Outfitters in the famous Palmetto Moon retail stores.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road.
As a business owner, there are so many things that make the road a little bumpy. Learning how to balance time is the biggest challenge. I am pulled in many directions throughout my day such as financial decisions that need to be made, creative decisions that need to be made, learning new marketing strategies, etc.
All these duties among others and my acting career make for a full day but, I would not have it any other way.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
1861 Outfitters designs are patterned using the American spirit in mind and find a way to implement history into each of our products.
For example, our new Buffalo Soldiers design has the est. 1866 represents the year they were founded and our Army Bread design is patterned after a 19th-century bread crate used during the civil war.
We take these elements and put our modern twist on them to speak to today’s audience. We celebrate our all-American story in all of our pieces of clothing.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
That’s a tough one. I would say my customers may not know that I am also an actor.