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shotmeyerEverything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in that.

I don’t believe that things in life happen because of dumb luck or by chance. I believe that things like success come out of hard work, blood sweat and tears, and help from God. I believe that we’re all put here on this world for a reason.

That’s why, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I knew that there had to be a reason for it.


Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey

Being an engineer, I tend think practically. I had recently read the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and presented it to my coworkers. I was working in manufacturing for a Fortune 500 company and everything was about practical, successful solutions.

One of the habits that I read about, and I really started thinking about, was the idea of 2 concentric circles; the circle of concern and the circle of influence. The larger of the two circles is the circle of concern. That encompasses everything that might matter to us but doesn’t directly impact us daily, for example, personal health, your career, war, poverty, or natural disasters. The smaller inner circle is the circle of influence which is the things that we have direct influence on. This covers everything from the food you eat, the car you drive, and the clothes you wear. As I was recovering on the couch I really started to reflect on this idea.

It got me thinking of this coffee shop that I frequent in Hoboken, NJ that follows this same principal. After the earthquake in Haiti they started 2 charities to help people, one for educating the children and the other to help provide clean drinking water. They then opened a coffee shop and a portion of the proceeds goes to those two charities. This isn’t a new idea, but I really liked the idea behind it and I think that it can be very effective.

How does this all fit together into starting a company? Well, my sister Jenna was also at home at that time recovering from a bad accident. We thought about the two circles and how we could influence our circle of concern by directly impacting our circle of influence. How could we create a bridge between the things we do every day and the issues we see in the world? We then started thinking about the different aspects of our daily life. We reflected upon the coffee shop in Hoboken. We thought about some other companies. I had just made ties for my school and they were very successful, so I already had an introduction to the clothing industry. As we were thinking and praying I happened to ask myself a simple question, “What do my clothes do?” I chuckled and then took a step back and asked myself and Jenna that question a little more seriously, “What DO my clothes do?” Quite frankly, they don’t do much. Sure it makes us look and feel good, and there a lot of people that make their living with the clothes that we wear, but after that they didn’t do much.

In that moment we knew that God was leading us into something special. We could bridge the gap with the clothes we make and impact our circle of concern. We wanted to bring this idea to the public. So with that, we decided that we would design and create good looking, high quality products that would allow people to directly impact specific charities and make a real difference in the world. Every step of the way we’ve asked God to guide and lead us to what he has planned, and that’s the only reason why we’ve been able to do what we’ve done.

We’re so happy to have been able to impact the lives of so many people already and are excited to see what God has in store for the future!

Recently, we were able to partner with our alma mater Eastern Christian School. We created ties and bowties for the EC community. We were asked to help those in the EC community who needed help learning how to tie a bowtie with a “how-to” video. We hope you enjoy it, and we know you’ll look great sporting your J. Shotmeyer EC ties!

If you would like to purchase one of these amazing ties, please check out our “Swag Shop” at the next basketball “Community night.” They’re for sale for $30 (regular) $20 (bow).