Editor's Note: Each month "Commodore Nation" will ask a varsity athlete to sound off on a point of personal interest. Feinberg is a senior on Vanderbilt's baseball team. He created a company that sells bracelets that benefit families of soldiers killed in Iraq.
In late July I found myself doing my newly found hobby -- thinking of business opportunities. I observed that the most important feature in products for consumers in my generation is the brand name. I figured if I could create a popular enough name, I just might have something. So after over 200 hours of R&D (creating an edgy brand name), I came up with "Saturday Soldier." After reading through the NCAA rule book, I confirmed that a student-athlete cannot use his name or image in profitable entrepreneurial venture. However, I still wanted to go through with the project, so I decided to donate the profits from the sale of our bracelets to a cause that I felt strongly for -- helping the families of soldiers killed in Iraq. It is a great cause, because no matter how an individual feels about the war, everyone feels bad for the families who have lost loved ones. When I told people back home about my plan, some thought my aspirations were far-fetched. Every time I heard something negative, it fueled me to succeed on an even higher level.
There were many obstacles in laying the groundwork for Saturday Soldier. But none of them seemed like obstacles to me because I was convinced that failure was not even a possibility. Creating SaturdaySoldier.com was tough because I had never created a website before. However, I felt that learning the process was integral to our success.
In late August, I anxiously awaited the response from my peers. I was ecstatic when I heard many Texas Tech players wore our bracelets on ESPN the first week of the season. The name "Saturday Soldier" caught on like I hoped. The athletes in my generation loved it from the start. Because of the name's uniquely edgy appeal, we were able to get athletes from 27 major conference football teams, 5 professional baseball organizations, and Team USA baseball to wear Saturday Soldier apparel. Because of them, we were able to get our bracelets retailed in three states -- Tennessee, Missouri and Iowa.
Even though I did not have connections in the military when I started Saturday Soldier, reading the e-mails that soldiers have sent me has been truly inspiring. Although my teammates have limited business experience as young consumers, they understand how consumers think, and they think Saturday Soldier is going to grow in success.
To learn more about Saturday Soldier or to purchase Saturday Soldier bracelets, go to www.saturdaysoldier.com/battlebands.