The Fort Clothing Company is owned and managed solely by four unconventional business owners: Paschal high schoolers.
Being a high school student comes with a myriad of responsibilities. Involvement in sports, clubs, student council and other extracurricular activities doesn’t leave much time to own and manage a business.
However, twins Sam and Campbell Schaefer and their business partners, siblings Cruz and Bella Shope, have found time to do it all.
“Sometimes it’s hard to make time for [running the business], but I mean, we have made a good schedule and have been able to work it out,” said Bella Shope.
Although the four students aren’t the business founders, their fathers, who are well acquainted with the business world, helped them acquire the business in 2015.
“We approached our kids and asked them if this were something they would be interested in,” said Ken Schaefer, father to the Schaefer twins. “They jumped on it because it was a great way for them to get real world experience. So Jared, the other father who is involved, and I, we really take a board of directors role.”
Ken Schaefer and Jared Shope purchased the company from then high school student Gracie Chambers in 2015. Chambers founded the company in 2013 and decided to sell the company when she left home to attend college at the University of Texas in Austin.
“Our dads helped out with a loan and we’ve been paying them back ever since we got it,” said Sam Schaefer.
Since acquiring the company, the Schaefer twins and the Shope siblings have expanded their business both via online sales and their nine retailers throughout Fort Worth.
The Fort Clothing Company sells merchandise ranging from stickers to koozies in addition to their popular t-shirt line. While they do rely heavily on their retailers for sales, the four-person team manages all online orders themselves.
“We check the shirt out of inventory then put it in a shipping pack and print out a shipping label,” said Cruz Shope. “Then we email the customer letting them know that it’s coming, then we drop it off at the post office.”
The manual process of fulfilling these orders keeps the full-time high school students and business owners on their toes.
“In five years I hope that we have expanded further to not just Fort Worth, but across the whole country, if possible, to show everyone how great of a city Fort Worth is,” said Campbell Schaefer.
Sam, Campbell, Cruz and Bella hope to expand their business in the upcoming years, not letting their college aspirations get in the way of their success.