In 2004, while roommates at Bowdoin College, we decided to start a company that offered needlepoint belts. We became intrigued with these unique accessories after our girlfriends made us needlepoint belts as gifts. After looking to buy finished belts, we realized that these products were impossible to find and prohibitively expensive. We set out to make the belts more available, attractive and affordable. We had always shared the entrepreneurial spirit and having discovered a concept for which we shared a passion, we started working on the idea that has become Smathers & Branson.
We knew that our biggest challenge would be finding and training skilled artisans. With our options quickly running out, we decided to spend the fall in Vietnam. Meeting our stitchers face to face enabled us to perfect our product to meet the high standards we set. Without realizing it, we had laid the groundwork for a cottage industry that, within a few years, would employ and provide opportunities for over 2,000 people. As our company continues to grow, we have the satisfaction that our artisan’s level of success grows as well.
We began testing the market in the spring of 2005, and quickly, the once treasured gift became the epicenter of a thriving business. We now offer products ranging from men’s and children’s needlepoint belts, to cummerbunds, and dog collars, with a women’s line on the horizon. In addition, we can create custom products with unique patterns for schools, clubs, and organizations as well as one of a kind belts and monogrammed products.
Smathers & Branson defines their mission: “to offer the finest products with customer service to match.”
Thank you to our customers and stores for your continuing support!
--Peter & Austin