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2014 40 Under 40 Honoree: Bryan Simpson

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Bryan Simpson created Five Pound Apparel LLC with a major goal in mind: to positively impact the lives of those who are less fortunate.

In April 2010, Simpson tried something he had never done before. Then 22 years old, Simpson started a screen-printing company in his college living room with no idea how to run a business or how to screen print a shirt. He only knew he wanted to support nonprofits through T-shirt sales.

However, Simpson’s living room-based company, Global Tees, was quickly shut down after word got out he was running the screen-printing business inside a residential property – an illegal act in Springfield.

Rather than calling it quits, Simpson made his second attempt at a philanthropic screen-printing store in December 2010 as a senior at Missouri State University studying marketing management. Five Pound Apparel LLC was born.

“We had little money, no experience and every reason to fail, but the company has continued to grow,” Simpson says.

The retailer’s name reflects its mission. For every sale, five pounds of food is donated to malnourished children.

As co-owner and self-titled “director of awesomeness,” Simpson is responsible for growing the fledgling company with nearly no startup capital into an established and profitable retail clothing business with anticipated earnings of nearly $500,000 in its third fiscal year.

Not stopping there, Simpson currently has plans to open a second location in the Farmers Park development.

“My proudest professional accomplishment was the ability to overcome the numerous hurdles we’ve faced and create a sustainable company that helps people locally and globally,” Simpson says.

Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Jim Anderson knows Simpson well.

“Bryan Simpson is my hero,” Anderson says. “He is a role model and poster child for social entrepreneurship. His business success is exceeded only by his commitment of care and concern for others.”

Five Pound Apparel partners with a number of local nonprofits to raise funding through T-shirt sales. This year alone, the company provided more than 17,000 meals locally through partnerships and it has financially contributed to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lost & Found, Drury University, Autism Speaks, Dusty Feet and Council of Churches.

To date, Five Pound Apparel has donated more than 40,000 meals, more than 6,000  pounds of food to children in Nepal, sent 4,200 books to Africa and donated 2,000 pairs of shoes to children in need.

Simpson also individually serves on the board of directors for Urban Districts Alliance.

“As a downtown business owner and resident, I’m incredibly invested in the success and economic vitality of downtown Springfield,” he says.

“My hope is that our story will inspire young people to take a chance, do something they love and make the world a better place,” he adds.[[In-content Ad]]


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