By Ryan Fitzgerald – Co-Editor-in-Chief
To many who spend a week or two on the Cape during the summer, the peninsula is a haven for beaches, ice cream, pastel shorts, and relaxing times with a view of the sunset. For those who call the Cape home year-round; it is known for hard-working summers crowded with tourists, annual local events like OysterFest, and local small businesses and brands. Cape Fifteen is a perfect example.
Cape Fifteen was founded in 2014 by current Lasell senior Shane MacNeill and longtime friend and recent graduate of Wheaton College, Kyle Rumberger. The two Cape Codders met in elementary school and attended Barnstable High School together. They’ve always had a knack for helping their community so, after Kyle graduated high school, and during Shane’s senior year, they decided to create a company representative of the Cape.
“We wanted to give back to the Cape,” said Shane, an entrepreneurship major at Lasell. “We decided to start a clothing line to express our style. Not everyone wears the preppy pastel colored look that the Cape is associated with. We’re not trying to take away from that look, but there’s an everyday lifestyle of people who live here that we wanted to showcase.”
“We loved being the ones helping out the neighborhood with yard work and shoveling driveways,” said Kyle. “It sparked the entrepreneur inside of me while contributing to the com-munity. Our main initiative was to give back to the Cape, to conserve the places that make it so unique and help the community that inspired us.”
They chose the number 15 to represent the 15 towns on Cape Cod and their logo includes the Roman numeral “XV,” but the “V” is the arm of the Cape turned on its side. A clever idea that has seen success ever since they began.
“Our first products were a generic T-shirt and hat with our logo on it,” said Shane. “We had 24 hats and 24 shirts, they sold in just about two days.” The two entrepreneurs restocked the hats and shirts and they again sold out. “We realized people really like this stuff,” he said.
Kyle worked as a caddy for Hyannisport Golf Club since his childhood and in the beginning stages of Cape Fifteen he had a chance encounter with a popular golfer of the course and town resident. “I [caddied for] Mike [Berube] and his friend Dave [Grady] for a three-day tournament two summers ago and they noticed my hat, one of our original truckers,” said Kyle.
“They said they always wanted a company with an awesome logo that was simple and represented Cape Cod in a way that isn’t tacky. They invited me out with them after the tournament and I was the only caddy at the bar with all the golfers, so it was pretty funny. I pitched them the idea and they were on board that night,” he said.
Mike and Dave are both graduates of Barnstable High School and residents of the town.
“They’re now business partners with us,” said Shane. “It’s a pretty cool story, Barnstable grads helping out Barnstable grads. We like to have people from the Cape who understand the history.”
The new partners helped fund new ideas for designs, colors, and promotional opportunities that Shane and Kyle worked hard to produce beginning last summer. They now have a developed website, capefifteen.com, a few thousand followers on Twitter and Instagram, and have just released their 2016 fall collection of hats, T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts in various styles and colors.
“We [have] a new supplier who does all our printing in New England, which is something we love and want to push toward all our gear being made here,” said Kyle. “We want to make products we would wear every day; our tees and long sleeves are super soft and include all town names, and sweatshirts are heavyweight and super soft for the approaching cold weather.”
Shane and Kyle have also instituted campus representatives this semester. College students around the country could sign up and be a rep for the company; each rep is given their own code, if someone uses the code online they earn 15 percent off any Cape Fifteen product. If the rep is able to get 10 people to use their code, they earn a free product while helping their friends earn 15 percent off. The more sales, the more it benefits everyone.
“This is growing into something we can live off of and as an entrepreneurship major, I can go a lot of different ways in my future,” said Shane. “This isn’t the first company I’m going to start, my goal is to keep grinding.”
The 22-year-old is thankful for his time here at Lasell and knows how much it has helped him improve the company.
“Classes at Lasell have furthered my way of thinking – whether it be accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, social media marketing, they’ve all helped,” he said. “But I think it is more about the connections I’ve made here. When you have professors who believe in you and give you one-on-one assistance it definitely helps a lot.”
For example, one of Shane’s professors invited him and a few other students to a discussion at the prestigious Harvard Club where they heard from Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) of companies such as New Balance Athletics, L.L. Bean, and others. Shane had a successful conversation with the officer from L.L. Bean, proving his statement.
He will graduate in May and join Kyle as they’ll continue to push the brand and give all their attention to the company.
“Kyle’s been doing a lot of the heavy lifting now that he’s graduated and I’m still in school, but we’re both continuing to push the brand, get as much exposure as possible and always planning ahead,” he said.
For more information on Cape Fifteen, visit capefifteen.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to be updated on the most recent releases.