Logan Brown and Bradley Roofner are fellow sophomores, fraternity brothers, roommates, close friends and the two founding CEOs of a student entrepreneurship company that makes accessorized hats for golfers.
Brown, a computer science sophomore, and Roofner, business honors sophomore, officially registered their company, HatTee, in February and have since been selling golf hats that can hold tees on the side. The goal of the hat is to rid the inconvenience of carrying golf tees in pockets, where they can scratch cell phones. Roofner, who golfs on a consistent basis, said he used to leave his tees behind before making HatTee.
In September, HatTee launched its website, and in the past month, the company has moved away from pushing individual sales and is now focusing on larger sales. The hats are still available for online individual sales, but Brown said the focus of HatTee was moving to retail.
It was over dinner at the UT Club in the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in October 2011 that the idea of HatTee started. Roofner mentioned the idea for hats with tees, and Brown was instantly interested.
“We didn’t know quite what we would do with it at that point,” Brown said. “But I thought [Roofner] was a genius, and he also had this cool idea for a hat, so I thought I better snatch him up quick.”
After dinner they shook hands and agreed to start a business together. In the following semester, Brown and Roofner went in for a meeting with John Butler, director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship. Brown said that was a big moment for their business, because Butler gave them advice and inspiration.
Butler set up phone conferences for Brown and Roofner. They spoke to Carl Paul, former CEO and founder of Golfsmith and Joe Beck, agent of two-time Masters Golf champion Ben Crenshaw. Butler said they had entrepreneurship originality that would make them successful.
Roofner said the encouragement from that meeting helped push them forward.
“There is no greater feeling than when someone attaches value to our idea,” Roofner said. “When someone buys a hat and we get to have a conversation with someone and they say they like this ... it is unmatched.”
The two met in fall 2011 as freshmen when they were pledging for fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi. Since then Brown and Roofner have become close friends and moved together into a West Campus apartment this fall. They said while running a company and going to school can be difficult, it is manageable.
Brown said he takes on the strategic planning and vision for the company, and Roofner said he focuses on the financial backing of the company.
“We live together now and we sleep in the same room and do just about everything together,” Brown said. “We mesh just about as good as we possibly can get. I’m the loud and boisterous one, and [Roofner] is there to keep me in check.”
Brown said living together has its advantages while running a company.
“We can talk about things from midnight to 4 a.m. if we need to, and it does happen sometimes,” Brown said. “We have pillow talk, but it’s not about girls but the finances of the company, which is equally exciting stuff.”
Printed on Friday, November 9, 2012 as: Student CEOs on par