The Bright is dedicated to it’s mission of supporting veterans and is proud to announce the monthly column, “Veteran Owned” which will profile different veteran owned businesses. This month we’re taking a look at Bull + Moose, a Men’s Neckwear collection started by Army Veteran, Diego Andres Echeverri and his friend Francisco Diaz-Mitoma Jr.
The Bright recently spoke to Diego about the Men’s neckwear line that he helped launch and the advice he would give to other veterans considering starting their own business.
Mr. Echeverri served in the Army following September 11 through 2006, including a year in Afghanistan. Following his discharge from the Army, he went to business school and worked for then Florida Governor Charlie Crist.
His longtime friend, Francisco Diaz-Mitoma, Jr., approached Diego about starting a men’s neckwear company. Their Washington, D.C. based-company, Bull + Moose, launched in the summer of 2013 and was recently featured in GQ Magazine. His background in the military instilled a strong sense of self-discipline and hard work and that has definitely carried over into Echeverri’s entrepreneurial sense.
The goal for Bull + Moose is to offer an edgy, rugged, gentlemanly look that’s affordable. “Guys are starting to take more pride in the way they dress, wanting something for cheap, but good quality”, Echeverri said. While they currently offer only men’s neckwear, they hope to expand into blazers and dress shirts.
Echeverri would advise other veterans looking to start a company to “not let fear or, the fact that it’s unknown to you, scare you away.” He advises veterans to do their research so that they know exactly what it is they are getting into when they open a business. He says it is important to set aside the amount of money that you are willing to lose if the business goes south. Minimize your start-up costs as much as possible. “Bootstrap it”, Echevrri advised.
Starting a new business requires patience and willingness to network with other entrepreneurs. “Getting your business up and running at a profit isn’t going to happen in six months”, Echeverri says. Keep your day job and work on your business until you get to a point where the business is self-sustaining. Reach out to people using online tools such as Linkedin and Facebook. Make hiring other veterans a priority. Find people who can mentor you in the various aspects of owning a business. Do not be afraid and do not give up, he emphasized.
Bull + Moose is a proud sponsor of Got Your 6, www.gotyour6.org, which Bull + Moose describes as a campaign that unites the entertainment industry with top nonprofits to create a new conversation in America, one where Veterans and military families are seen as leaders and civic assets.