Looking good often comes at a price, but two sophomore business majors recently developed the idea to discount popular accessories, specifically for male college students. Built from the ground up, Tharros Co. markets items from sunglasses to cologne.
“We both have an interest in that kind of fashion and accessories to that extent,” Jack Pittas, one half of Tharros Co., said. “You’re supposed to be selling what you’re passionate about.”
Over winter break, Pittas and his partner Joseph Mozeyko researched the items they could sell and discovered that these men’s accessories were easy to market and purchase, with little competition getting in the way. They discovered the demand for these items by surveying 126 male college students their age from JMU, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University.
With entrepreneurial mindsets, Mozeyko and Pittas hoped to eventually start a business. They pursued the opportunity when the central idea came to them, and built the business with their own money, allowing their profits to grow in an effort to soon brand their logo on the products.
“We’ve gotta start somewhere,” Pittas said. “Apple started in a garage; we at least have an apartment.”
The two experienced some “growing pains” at the start of the process, like a delivery malfunction. They were excited to receive one of their first orders, but there was a mix-up with the company they ordered from and the delivery company, so that first batch of products never came.
“You always know you’re [going to] hit roadblocks, I mean, we’re still learning too,” Pittas said. “We’re still trying to figure out stuff.”
Tharros Co. items come from wholesale intermediary sites, meaning they’re unbranded items distributed for general use to become branded. These items include sunglasses, which are made with bamboo flaps and have lenses made from the same material as Ray-Ban’s sunglasses. Their other items include two watches — one style that’s silver-rimmed with a black strap and another that’s gold-rimmed with a brown strap — an aftershave cologne that they describe as reminiscent of a barbershop, and three different tie clips.
The term “tharros” is Greek for “courage,” which was the inspiration behind choosing their slogan: “Have the Courage to be a Winner.” To continue their Greek theme, they have a special offer called the Alpha Box, which includes all four of the items inside of a cigar box.
Taylor Schwarz, a sophomore sports management major, bought the Alpha Box from Tharros Co. and was intrigued by its quality and the creativity of the company’s name.
“Why not help out a friend rather than buy from somewhere else?” Schwarz said. “I was really glad that I did [because] even though I was biased in buying from a friend, they’re really good quality products.”
The interest they’ve had has mostly been at JMU through Instagram, Facebook and word-of-mouth. However, they recently shipped a box to Pittas’ relative in Chicago to help spread the word there.
Although they’re happy with their successes so far, the two see this as just the beginning of a journey and believe their greatest victories have yet to come. Their main goal is to continue publicizing their name in order to expand and add more products, eventually making the business their careers.
“I think my favorite thing is that we found something that suits both of our skills,” Mozeyko said. “He’s got the accounting-financial aspects side, I’ve got the marketing side. We both have experience in those fields, you know, it just kind of blended perfectly.”