Entrepreneur in the Spotlight: Rhone Co-Founder and CEO Nate Checketts
November 20, 2019 | Scott Murphy
Rhone is a premium performance lifestyle brand originally developed specifically for men. CEO and Co-Founder Nate Checketts felt that men’s activewear was an afterthought, and the quality and fit of men’s apparel was not being properly addressed. With Rhone, Nate and his team have designed a full collection of apparel that addresses every aspect of an active lifestyle. Rhone’s products are developed using premium fabrics with comfort and performance in mind, utilizing innovative technology to wick moisture, dry quickly, and reduce odor. The company has experienced rapid year-over-year growth as it continues expanding into a large and growing market, including a women’s capsule collection.
We connected with Nate for a quick Q&A about his business, important entrepreneurial lessons, and what he reads for inspiration.
What’s your connection to our firm?
We are fortunate enough to have AVG as Rhone Investors. To give you all a warm welcome to Rhone, we’d like to offer 25% off on orders of $100 or more using code AVG at checkout on our website. I ask that you do not share with anyone outside of the AVG community. Happy shopping!
In a nutshell, describe the products that Rhone produces.
Rhone is a men’s premium performance lifestyle brand that was founded in 2014. Engineered for an active lifestyle, Rhone fills the void between big box retailers and high-end yoga brands, delivering best in class products specifically for men. Since inception, we have grown triple digits every year, and have been featured in publications such as GQ, WSJ, NY Times, Forbes, Fox Business, and many more. Currently, Rhone has three New York store locations, as well as one in Connecticut at Chelsea Piers in Stamford. Rhone is also the number one selling men’s brand for both Equinox and Peloton, has growing relationships with Barry’s Bootcamp, Rumble Boxing, Nordstrom, Four Seasons, and is also sold at over 350 additional specialty stores and gyms.
How is Rhone changing the status quo in your industry? Which initiatives are you most excited about?
We focus on using the highest quality of performance fabrics, perfecting our silhouettes, and constantly listening to innovative style suggestions from team members and customers. In fact, a suggestion from one of our customers drove us to expand our commuter line and create the commuter dress shirt.
What sparked your entrepreneurial drive? How do you sustain it?
The entrepreneurial drive started at a very young age. From lemonade stands to mowing lawns to starting a kids camp in my parents’ backyard, I was always eager to learn how businesses operated. I had to try and fail many times to understand not just how to get something off the ground, but to build something to really last. Making my entrepreneurial drive last generally comes from taking good care of my health first and then honestly it’s just my natural state.
What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned on your entrepreneurial journey?
- Hire the best people. Don’t be afraid to hire these people early on, even before the business is ready.
- Embrace your ignorance. Disruptive ideas generally come from outside of an industry.
- Entrepreneurship is not a quick career fix, and it’s not a short term endeavor. It is a long lasting commitment, which includes studying other successful companies and leadership. Business principles tend to endure while business tactics need to adjust based on the rapid pace of marketplace evolution.
Which resources or sources of inspiration (podcasts, books, blogs, mentors, etc.) are most useful to you on a regular basis?
If I had to name one podcast that I listen to most, it is Business Wars. I’m also a voracious reader when it comes to business books. I am a bit odd that I actually am energized by listening to these books and will generally listen to business books when I train or run. That helps me get through a lot more books in a year.