Having inherited his artistic abilities and being trained in sewing by a close friend, Matthew Jones is a College of Business finance major who is tailoring a career to suit his interests.
Vetted, the 20-year-old’s clothing line that launched in March, has fueled Matthew’s creative spirit and captured the interest of early adopters of his “no-two-pieces-are-alike” clothing.
“I acquired my drawing and design abilities at an early age from my father, James, who is an engineer. And, Timmy Underwood, my longtime friend, not only taught me the mechanics of sewing but continues to inspire and encourage me,” said Matthew, a native of Concord, N.C. “Timmy has been my teacher. I had ideas and he helped me bring them to fruition.”
Matthew does all the sewing of his outwear designs, mostly hoodies, crew necks, vests and jackets, and markets them on his Vetted web site. One of the clothing’s unique qualities is the fabric Matthew uses.
“A tapestry throw blanket-type fabric, mostly a polyester and cotton, is Vetted’s signature,” Matthew said. “It’s basically recycled materials that I purchase online and from very obscure places. I sketch out my design ideas and hand-sew everything I sell from the swatches I buy from anywhere and everywhere.”
“Dr. (John) Hannon is a mentor who has taught me so much. He’s so encouraging and never doubts my abilities,” Matthew said of the director of the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. “I’ve learned a lot from failing, and as a person who’s ‘been there, done that,’ he’s been instrumental in encouraging me and to take this from a hobby into more of a career aspiration.”
“Matthew is a creative, industrious and charismatic Clemson man who recognizes, and is taking full advantage of, all the fabulous resources the College of Business and Clemson have to offer big dreamers like him,” Hannon said. “His many attributes will propel him through the inevitable challenges every start-up faces.”
Matthew said his clothing has appeal across generational lines, especially to those who have a liking to a sleek and hip look.“There is something out there for all age groups. I like to incorporate ‘80s and ‘90s throwback styles but also modern pieces,” he said. “The pieces appeal to those who are passionate about life and want to emulate that passion in their fashion style.”
Apart from the creative aspect in Matthew’s career aspirations is the importance a solid business acumen will play in its success.
“The business aspect of Vetted is an intellectual property that I’m learning in the College of Business. I’m excited about continuing to learn as much as I can about financial management and accounting principles that will play a huge role in the longevity of my business,” Matthew said. “I need to focus on the creative but cannot forget about the importance business plays in the longevity of the business. Finance applies to any industry, but I’m also taking marketing classes to better understand the importance of that discipline.”
Balancing academics with the demands of producing inventory and managing the business keep Matthew’s plate full, and his desire to take this from an undergraduate venture to a full-blown, stand-alone business will require hard work and financial resources.
“Right now, I’m sewing between classes to keep up with the demand but I’m eventually looking to mass produce. That takes planning and money,” he said. “I’m definitely looking for angel investors who might see Vetted as a good investment.
“I see the hard work I’m putting in now will pay dividends down the road. It’s always been a passion of mine to create and give something to the world. When I wake up in the morning, I fulfill that passion by creating unique pieces of art through fashion and clothing.”
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