Colgate University junior Jake Danehy’s fondest childhood memories were formed in Fair Harbor, a little village on New York’s Fire Island. There, he and his sisters spent summer weeks barefoot. They fished with their dad in the early-morning hours, then cooked up breakfasts of snapper and eggs.
And so, when the men’s lacrosse player and geography major decided to combine two other passions – an interest in entrepreneurship and a desire to help the environment – into a fledgling business, he relied on his memories of that little beach town to create a new brand of swimwear.
Working with Colgate’s Thought into Action Entrepreneurship Institute, Danehy located a North Carolina company that turns water bottles into fabric, then identified a manufacturer in his home state that will turn that fabric into bathing suits. He enlisted the help of one of his sisters – “a fashionista,” Danehy calls her – as his creative director. And together, the two are building a brand named after their favorite summer destination: Fair Harbor.
“I’ve been very fortunate and had a lot of help from Colgate alumni, who’ve connected me with the right people,” Danehy said. “They’ve helped guide me along the way.”
The company is producing its first run – just T-shirts and five designs of men’s swimwear – this spring with plans to sell them online and, perhaps, in some boutique shops. Five percent of profits will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation, which works to clean up beaches.
PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY JAKE DANEHY