Previously published in the 2018 Ouachitonian yearbook.
While they did not intend to run a hat business, that is exactly what happened when seniors Kyle Alexander, Ty Owens and J.D. Speed found that purchasing hats—which they wore every day—was more expensive than making the hats themselves. So, they created the hat company Southern Bloodline.
The name Southern Bloodline came from the logo of the hats themselves: the state of Arkansas with its rivers outlined in red.
“We wanted to do something that had to do with the state of Arkansas, since we three founders are from there,” said Owens, a biology major from El Dorado. “Once we did that, we chose the name Southern Bloodline because it embodies who we are—the lifestyle, tradition, principles, work ethic and ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, ma’am’ culture of the South.”
The three baseball players made their first two hats at the end of 2016 and then took the product to the public, launching a website in February of 2017. They overcame many challenges in the process of making their hats and running the company.
“We had no idea how to make a website, how to trademark our logos and names, how to file for our LLC (Limited Liability Company), how to pay our sales tax or even how to distribute our hats once customers bought them,” said Alexander, a business administration/management major from Conway. “When we first started out, we didn’t have boxes to ship our hats in. We shipped our first 90 orders in shoe boxes.”
Southern Bloodline includes hats, apparel, accessories and stickers. Each package includes a hand-written thank-you card to show appreciation for the customer.
“Just recently, we have been blessed to grow it to the size where we are able to start working our way into retailers, so that is one way we plan to expand,” said Speed, a business administration/management major from Prairie Grove.
“God has surrounded us with amazing people that have been willing to help us in any way that we need,” said Speed. “We get all the credit, but there is a long list of people that deserve credit, too. We think it is important to recognize both God’s blessings and the contributions our friends, parents and mentors have made to our company.”
By Emily Koonce
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