YOUR MINDSET COULD BE AFFECTING YOUR WELLBEINGOctober 18, 2023
DLE VOLUNTEERS POWER PROGRAMS WITH SUBSTANCEOctober 18, 2023
Since his last conversation with the DLE in February 2022, entrepreneur AJ Bowman has propelled his company, Boatman, to the national level, showcasing sustainable fashion and hinting at several new innovations coming soon.
An active DLE member, AJ has been busy exploring and executing new ideas for his company, most notably its national launch in August of this year. Committed to bridge sustainability and fashion, AJ started his business at age 22, shortly after the pandemic struck in 2020. With an eye toward differentiating itself from its competitors and gaining a competitive edge, Boatman produced the world’s first boat shoe made from nopal cactus leather.
An essential step for the company occurred at the beginning of 2022, Boatman acquired funding through Common Capital, based in Springfield, MA. After finding the right fit and acquiring initial funding, the next step for Boatman was to convene as a team to evaluate the best way to allocate capital.
“Like in any business, there are many factors to consider, such as how much money to allocate to purchase inventory, sampling, marketing, and new product development,” explains AJ. “Thanks to funding from Common Capital, we made an initial inventory purchase of 1,000 shoes. We also stepped up our marketing to prepare for the national launch with an informative and user-friendly website showcasing the company’s mission of offering sustainable fashion and footwear.”
Since the national launch in August 2023, sales momentum has been solid. “Boatman launched on a Thursday night and made sales on Friday afternoon,” AJ says.
Meanwhile, AJ shared that there are several exciting new products coming soon. They include working with grape leather: a slightly softer leather than the nopal cactus leather and an ideal material for creating bags. Also in the works is a desk caddy, wallet, belt, crossbody bag, Birkenstocks-style sandal, golf shoes, and a duffle bag.
AJ Bowman’s entrepreneurial spirit and his mission to bridge sustainability and fashion serve as a prime example of how DLE members translate their values into action to positively impact the community.