A Shockoe Bottom shirt maker’s latest offering is tailor-made for entrepreneurs.
Ledbury began accepting applications this month for its new startup competition, the Ledbury Launch Fund.
The fund will offer new or still-developing businesses a chance for a $25,000 shot in the arm. Applicants need only to be pursuing businesses that sell tangible products.
“They need to make something,” Paul Trible, CEO of Ledbury, said. “We want something that’s going to be viable.”
In addition to the prize money, the winner will also have a year to call on Trible and Ledbury co-founder and COO Paul Watson for business advice. The prize money comes without any strings attached.
Trible said Ledbury is financing the competition itself. That’s helped by an extra-strong start to the year in sales.
“In the first four months of this year, we did more (in sales) than we did in our first two years in business,” Trible said.
After the application deadline on May 25, a panel of judges will select three finalists. In June, a public vote will be held to determine the grand prizewinner.
The panel consists of Trible, Watson, “Today” show co-anchor Willie Geist and Richard Coughlan, a senior associate dean at University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business.
Trible said the competition is a way to give an entrepreneur a start and engage Ledbury customers. Ledbury sheds light on other businesses on its website, as well.
Ledbury is headquartered and operates a retail shop at 117 S. 14th St. It has 21 employees, up from 13 a year ago.
Ledbury sells shirts, blazers, ties, belts and bags. Pairs of Lebury socks start at $35, and shirts start at $115. Online sales generate 96 percent of Ledbury’s sales.
Trible said another brick-and-mortar spot isn’t likely to come until 2015.
“We’re focused on scaling the e-commerce business,” Trible said.