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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Shep and Ian Murray of Vineyard Vines: How They Quit Their Jobs and Made Millions

Shep and Ian Murray are brothers. They were doing hectic desk jobs at corporate offices in Manhattan, New York. Therefore, in 1998, Shep Murray, who was working as a marketing accounts executive, and Ian Murray, who was associated with a humble PR agency, left their jobs within 10 minutes of one another. They brought out their credit cards and borrowed cash advance loans. Many of their acquaintances said to them that it was a silly idea. However, they did not back out and began Vineyard Vines, a tie maker located on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The Murray Brothers, as they would prefer to state, were determined to swap their business suits for swimwear through marketing ties so that they wouldn’t need to put them on.

How it all began for Shep and Ian Murray

Initially, they traded their ties individually from their haversacks and sold them to customers on cruisers, seashores, and in pubs. Just in a week in July, they were able to sell around 800 ties. Promptly, they placed a re-order, settled their debt, and shifted to their first office. After 10 years, Shep and Ian had a whole clothing line.

By 2012, there were 18 self-supporting Vineyard Vine sales outlets across the United States.  The Vineyard Vines clothing line was now available in around 500 shops. In 2011, the firm had an estimate of approximately $100 million as sales revenue.

In the beginning, Shep and Ian provided four varieties of ties. As exacted by the Murray Brothers, they set up their clothing line business via a viewpoint of “living the good life”. This is echoed in their motto “Every day should feel this good.” Still, Shep and Ian are outright proprietors of Vineyard Vines.

Product line Vineyard Vines focused on 

Vineyard Vines concentrated on selling the following products to its customers:

  • High-profile ties 
  • Belts 
  • Hats 
  • Shorts 
  • Shirts 
  • Swimsuit 
  • Bags for men, women, and kids

Over time, the company has developed into a chain of retail outlets and clothing shops throughout the country. The principal emblem of the clothing firm is a smiling whale.     

The Phenomenal Growth in the Latter Years

Since the 1998 summer months, the clothing line firm has grown throughout the country, specifically by the East Coast. The company has launched various retail outlets and shops in the meantime. Other than these conventional distribution channels, the company has grown its sales to online buyers as well. Vineyard Vines makes accredited MLB (Major League Baseball) and NFL (National Football League) goods that it markets via its retail conduits. Besides, the company has grown into making certified college attire that is principally sold via the campus outlets. 

In 2007, the name of Vineyard Vines got included in the list of the 5,000 quickest growing businesses in the United States. From 2004 through 2007, the revenue earnings of Vineyard Vines, the comparatively new firm in the business, went up thrice.  

  • 2015

Vineyard Vines kicked off their new headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

  • 2016

The clothing line products of the firm earned revenue worth 476 million dollars. In the same year, according to a statement, Goldman Sachs assessed Vineyard Vines at one billion dollars.

  • 2019

Target Corporation provided a 300-product limited version Vineyard Vines assortment online and in stores. The drive attracted certain disapproval from customers because several articles sold out inside an hour.

  • 2020

All retail outlets of Vineyard Vines were shut in March 2020 for the time being because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.  

Outlets of Vineyard Vines

Initially, the retail outlets were launched in Northeastern sites linked with the sea like Martha’s Vineyard. The first store was set up in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard. After that, they set up a store in Greenwich, Connecticut. Over time, Vineyard Vines has grown to over 100 retail outlets throughout the states of America, and the brand is marketed by more than 600 other retail merchants. The esteemed clothing and accessories brand now has a presence in more than 100 locations across the globe. 

Their clothing line has received mixed receptions from the common people and has been portrayed as “preppy”.

Media Highlights 

With its ongoing success, Vineyard Vines had the opportunity to feature as a segment of the “How I Made My Millions” series on CNBC. On this show, the journalists asked Ian and Shep Murray to express their views and experience on a range of themes. As stated by them, setting up Vineyard Vines was partly due to motivation and partly how to do something different.    

They said that when they began their journey way back in 1998, they had two factors in mind: what they wished to do and what they didn’t. Both of them plainly understood that slogging it out at desk jobs in Manhattan was not their goal and they would not be able to do it for the remaining years of their lives. Understanding this helped them chalk out particular strategies.

They didn’t kick start their journey contemplating on establishing a tie maker. Instead, they began hypothesizing their brand and what it would symbolize. That is why they brought forth the concept of “Good Life”. They thought of coming up with a brand that would symbolize all the positive aspects of life, such as the things people crave to do and dream about.

At first, people thought that they were out of their minds. If Ian and Shep Murray had paid heed to them, they wouldn’t have been so much successful. They felt that performing what they were passionate about was more significant than working at a job for the sake of maintaining it.        

There were ups and downs during their extensive journey of 22 and half years. The Murray brothers worked out how to carry out their commercial operations effectively and promote their neckties. They also constantly endeavored on how to garner unfailing brand communication. Nonetheless, they acknowledged that they would not do something contrarily. Speedy development acted as a crash course training program for them and they easily interpreted the various facets of operating a business enterprise. They primarily focused on two principal domains: their workforce and customer service. 

They knew that from every aspect of a sale, customers have to be content whether it is talking to a customer service representative, shopping in an outlet, or placing an online order. The customer’s experience is one of the deciding factors of their success. The communication of the customers with their brand depends on the particular type of experience they come across. So, they need to be treated appropriately so that they continue coming back to them. It’s as simple as that. If a customer encountered a negative experience with their brand, they always tried to find out why it happened and what the ways to mend it were. 

The idea of having a group of disgruntled customers was always awkward to the Murray brothers. They also believed that satisfying their customers was not sufficient. Their team should also be happy to work with them. The hard work and dedication of their employees have made it possible for Vineyard Vines to come this far. They relentlessly tried to find out whether they were feeling motivated, flourishing in their positions, and if anything more was required to empower them.

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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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