Gazelle St. Louis Magazine

ST. LOUIS RESIDENTS START MEN'S ACCESSORIES BRAND

Gazelle typically spotlights female entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs who provide products and services to women. However, every now and then, we are inspired by the zest of the entrepreneurs we come across who market toward men.

Never Back was formed by three friends - Jon Woo, Patrick O’Hara and Stephanie Zipp. They describe themselves as fashion lovers, finance gurus, sports enthusiasts and marketing pros who do not take life too seriously. "Gazelle" spoke with Jon about the emerging brand.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP We started creating our business about a year ago and are in the midst of launching it. Never Back was the brainchild of our founder, Patrick O’Hara, someone who frequently wore preppy needlepoint belts. He loved them because they told a story and served as fun conversation starters. I joined the team because I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I saw this as both an opportunity and a challenge.

FEARS Our biggest fears were that no one would buy our product, but with a strong business and marketing plan and supportive friends and family, we are disproving that fear and are excited to grow the business.  

MOTIVATION I legitimately enjoy this work. My business partners are close friends, which makes the work fun for me. Being an entrepreneur also gives you a chance to think strategically about all facets of the business and allows you to stretch your brain in all different directions. It’s rewarding to call something “yours.” You fully own it, you created it and you are your own boss.

INSPIRATION We look at other menswear brands, celebrities, style influencers, men’s and women’s lifestyle and accessories brands for inspiration. Social or marketing campaigns that are unique, different, disruptive, catch our eye most. We find inspiration in everything we do and are having fun creating a unique voice and persona for the brand.

GOALS We have received a lot of great feedback on the designs and believe that we have created products that people can enjoy. As a young company our main goal is getting the word out about our business and increasing sales. Further down the line we would like to expand into more belt designs, and then ultimately, widen our offerings into different accessories for men, women and pets. With Midwestern roots, we are looking to alter how the public views needlepoint products – as a laid-back, affordable way to complement your look.    

WORDS OF WISDOM “Always look forward and Never Back.” That’s Never Back’s motto and something we believe in. To purchase and for more information, visit www.shopneverback.com.

Jonathan WooComment