Brookes & Hyde
Brookes & Hyde is an accessory brand that was started and founded on crafting the finest leather goods from the best materials in the world for life’s everyday adventures. It's a brand that sells quality and aesthetically pleasing designs to enrich the lives of each of its customers, all while creating a sense of ownership and pride when the products are used or worn.
Brookes & Hyde began as the college senior thesis of founder Connor Sambrookes, who was then studying at UC's DAAP program.
“During my final year of school, I returned to Chicago for a second internship and started to develop my senior thesis: a small batch brand focused on sourcing the highest quality leather and materials to create a product line of premium goods, made in-house, that gave the consumer a product worth their money,” Sambrookes says.
The brand was launched in 2015 and still operates out of the family garage, but Sambrookes is slowly growing and expanding the operations, constantly designing and innovating new products.
Brookes & Hyde is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where Sambrookes will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.
During the Big Pitch process, Brookes & Hyde will be mentored by Allison Pape, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Django Kroner from the Canopy Crew.
“I plan on growing the brand locally and becoming a staple within the city of Cincinnati,” says Sambrookes. “I believe that Cincinnati is home to some of the greatest makers and artisans in the country, and I want to be part of building upon that.”
Sambrookes would use the prize money to move into a larger space that would ultimately allow him to increase production capabilities. It’s currently the biggest obstacle holding the company back.
“Instead of making one belt every hour, I would be able to produce 3-4 belts every hour,” he says. “It would allow me to increase my manufacturing, which in turn would lead to more sales, which in turn would lead to hiring of local talent and the growth of the brand.”
Brookes & Hyde makes a variety of products, including belts, wallets, toiletry kits, valet trays, coasters, dog collars and some smaller lifestyle accessories. Sambrookes plans to launch a women’s line later this year and will release a bag line in 2018.
Ohio Valley Beard Supply
Patrick Brown and Scott Ponder, the co-founders of Ohio Valley Beard Supply, have created a line of natural beard products comprised of beard elixirs, finishing balms, washes and conditioners — oh, and mustache wax.
They will tell you that they are turning porcupines into kittens, one beard at a time.
“We want men with beards to be 100 percent more attractive to whoever they want to be attracted to,” Brown says.
Ohio Valley Beard Supply is one of seven finalists in the fourth annual ArtWorks “Big Pitch” presented by U.S. Bank, where they will compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award during a live five-minute pitch on Sept. 28 at Memorial Hall.
Throughout the Big Pitch process, Ohio Valley Beard Supply will be mentored by Reuben Johnson, a U.S. Bank Small Business Specialist and Matt Madison of Madisono’s Gelato.
According to Brown, the business' current challenge is distribution and all that goes with shipping product and creating retail relationships. Ohio Valley Beard Supply products are in dozens of Fresh Thyme locations in the Midwest, plus a number of local boutiques.
“Our company has the potential to become something much larger,” says Brown. “We want to be in every single beard we can be in.”
With a win at the Big Pitch, the duo would be able to hire another employee to manage the distribution process so they can work on creating new retail relationships and opportunities.
How to Attend ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank:
ArtWorks Big Pitch presented by U.S. Bank returns for a fourth year at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Memorial Hall. Seven of Greater Cincinnati's up-and-coming creative entrepreneurs will each deliver a five-minute pitch in front of a panel of judges and a live audience to compete for a $15,000 Judge’s Choice Award and a $5,000 Audience Choice Award.
Tickets start at $10 and are available here.
Read about the other five finalists here, here and here.