This past summer, Dan Cosgrove, a 2011 Robins School of Business graduate, teamed up with two friends to launch Fielder’s Derby, a clothing brand inspired by the carefree personality of the Kentucky Derby’s infield that aims to provide affordable, comfortable and fun pieces.

When asked about the decision to launch a startup, he shared, “I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio, along with the other co-founders, which is in the middle of horse country. We’ve enjoyed taking part in the Kentucky Derby’s infield festivities over the years, and we wanted to bring that carefree, spontaneous mentality to our Hawaiian-style shirt designs, a major differentiator.” Fielder’s Derby boasts vibrant prints ranging from sharks and skis to elephants and surfboards. At the time of this article’s release, all shirts are currently sold out.

Cosgrove described the brand’s identity as unique designs at an affordable price. “Our slogan, ‘Live Life #Infield,’ means a place where an individual finds their joy, passion and love of life, in whatever fashion that may be.”

He explained the process to launch. “The whole timeline was about a year. We could have launched faster, but with our current day jobs, we dedicated our efforts as time allowed. Today, when we come up with a new design, we’re able to get it into customers’ hands in roughly eight weeks. We’re doing what we can to set a solid foundation by getting the product, supply chain and team right from the beginning.”

A business administration major with a marketing concentration and a minor in rhetoric and communications, Cosgrove didn’t start out as an entrepreneur. “Following graduation, I came to work for Procter & Gamble (P&G). Today, I am senior purchases manager for the Duracell Batteries division, and my responsibilities focus on the future products we plan to sell two to three years down the road all the way to the packaging and materials we use for the batteries you find in stores.”

He shared how his work-life balance has taken shape since the launch. “After prioritizing our day jobs, we all flow to the work where necessary; however, in a perfect world, my core responsibilities would be product supply and marketing. I hope to establish a college ambassadors program as well as a startup competition, all the while designing new, crazy shirts for production.”

Cosgrove concluded, “I’m a competitive and entrepreneurial-minded person who loves to learn, and the Robins School gave me the confidence to believe I can succeed as well as the knowledge that developing mutually beneficial relationships is key to success. Programs such as Q-camp taught me how to be the polished businessman I knew I could be.” Cosgrove was part Q-camp since its inception in 2009. “As I am still relatively young, I understand why people might initially view me as someone who doesn’t have much experience, but I love the challenge of surpassing people’s expectations by beating prior year results and achieving goals people said wouldn’t work. I find this both in my day job and the startup, and it’s been very fulfilling.”

Photo Credit: Kevin Issadore