West BloomfieldAugust 17, 2012
High school seniors belt out business success
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Two young entrepreneurs from West Bloomfield have learned that belts are for more than holding pants up — they can also support a burgeoning business in West Bloomfield.
West Bloomfield High School students Andrew Jacob and Andre Najmolhoda are the 17-year-old co-founders of fashion company Over The Fly, and they are trying to expand their line of unisex Astro Belts to stores in metro Detroit.
Jacob and Najmolhoda said they have so far established business relationships with Pogo Skateboard Shop in Birmingham, Guys N Gals in West Bloomfield, Rear Ends in West Bloomfield, and People Skate and Snowboard in Keego Harbor.
Those retailers are just the starting point for the two young entrepreneurs, and they hope to soon have Astro Belts for sale in malls across America.
“Really, we can’t wait to expand across the country,” Najmolhoda said. “These four stores were almost a sample of seeing what it’s like. Now we’re working on getting our belts into trade shows.”
Jacob said his passion for business began in middle school when he formed a company that made plastic travel accessories, such as toothbrush holders. When he shared his accomplishments while studying with Najmolhoda early in the school year, the two became interested in pursuing new business ventures.
“I’ve always really been into fashion,” Najmolhoda said. “I always liked the hottest trends and stuff. … I thought it was so cool that he already opened a business. I never expected that any kids would own a business.”
After the teens began talking, they agreed to form Over The Fly and develop a new fashion item: the Astro Belt. The belts come in 24 colors, and the buckles come in 18 colors, with hues ranging from mint and magenta to khaki and purple.
The interchangeable belts and buckles allow wearers to mix and match colors, and the belts can be customized to fit men or women with a waist size of various sizes.
After Over The Fly picked a manufacturer, the co-founders tested out their first market in the winter: their school friends. Jacob and Hajmolhoda said they wore their own creations and sold them to their amazed peers.
“We started selling it just in the parking lot at school,” Jacob said. “Before we knew it, we sold a lot.”
The duo is continuing to spread the word about their belts. They were scheduled to market their product at the Downtown Detroit Days event in August, and they expected to do some business at the Woodward Dream Cruise, as well.
To learn more about Over The Fly, visit www.overthefly.com.
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