Manchester can feel like a big, small town. In fact, I often hear that the proverbial seven degrees of separation are closer to at least two or three. My boss was in the inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program (10kSB for short) along with Tim Pipp, owner and founder of Beeze Tees, a screen printing company based in Keene with a new storefront in downtown Manchester. As you can imagine, I’ve heard a bit about Tim’s entrepreneurial streak and looked forward to talking with him about his starting a small business and his New Hampshire story. As it turns out, in addition to being a small business owner, he’s also a Granite State transplant like I am.
Before moving to New Hampshire, Tim lived in seven states before turning 17 years old because of his father’s job. However, the longest he lived anywhere — and ultimately where he decided to take root — was in New Hampshire.
I enjoyed the trails, mountains and all the variety of scenery here in New Hampshire,” Tim said, “but even in college, I had the mindset that I would leave New Hampshire. I moved around a lot, and I planned to continue doing that.”
Starting a Business: The Beginning of Beeze Tees
From owning a vending machine business to holding multiple on-campus jobs and being a full-time athlete and graphic design major at Keene State College, Tim’s work ethic and entrepreneurship were evident.
He began dabbling in screen printing and started printing shirts for teams he knew in the cross-country running community. Unfortunately, because students with on-campus jobs weren’t allowed to have off-campus employment, he was fired from all of his on-campus jobs, which turned into a blessing in disguise.
“Being fired forced me to make my business successful. I focused on making it work and learning how to run a business. In my senior project, when everyone was presenting on their personal brand, I branded and launched my business.”
Tim graduated on a Saturday, and on the following Monday, he started working full time for his business.
Entrepreneurship During COVID
One thing that sets New Hampshire apart from other states is the community’s support for small businesses. “I couldn’t have started Beeze Tees anywhere else.” Even after opening a second storefront in Manchester, Tim says that he felt the same level of support as he did when he opened up his first storefront in Keene. “I feel that a lot of people want to see a young person do something and be successful.”
It’s because of that support that Tim uses entrepreneurship to give back to the community by making something out of nothing, keeping employees active and engaged, and filling a need that the community needs right now.
A few of the ways that Beeze Tees has innovated to support the community:
- They’ve created yard signs that you can customize to celebrate 2020 graduates. So far, they’ve sold 400 signs in two weeks.
- They ordered over 10,000 masks to sell in the community (and avoid other resellers price gouging). So far, they’ve sold nearly 6,000 masks and offer a much quicker turnaround time than other distributors.
- They’ve created an easy way to support small businesses affected by COVID. Every $10 of each shirt sale goes back to the employees of local shops.
Wisdom and Looking Ahead
Although Tim thought he’d leave the area after college, he discovered that by creating new opportunities, he could drive his motivation and every new phase of his business forward.
“I’ve been doing this [running a business] for nearly a third of my life. I’m able to control my schedule and my life because I took a risk. I’m able to do what I’ve done because I took that risk.”
None of us know how life will change in the next few months, but one thing I can take away from my conversation with Tim is this:
Adapt to what people need. Now’s a good time to get started.