Michael Nemeroff is the CEO and co-founder of RushOrderTees, a family-owned and operated eCommerce custom apparel company. Founded in 2002 when Michael was a Junior in highschool, RushOrderTees specializes in quick turnaround times for anyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Over the past 18 years the company has focused on improving its processes and is currently the industry leader with its state-of-the-art design studio and quality guarantee.
What inspired you to start your business?
Fear. My family’s lives were so uncertain. My parents’ business was failing, they were declaring bankruptcy, and the house was being foreclosed on. My parents didn’t have a plan because they were so close to the problem. Starting a business with my siblings was the best way I could see to help support my family.
When was a time you came close to giving up?
We were bringing in about $30K a month in revenue in our third year. It’d taken us a long time to get there, with my brother, sister and I working around the clock in a small warehouse to bring in every scrap of profit we could — only to find at the end of every year, we’d barely turned a profit.
We were all exhausted. I was 20 at the time, and decided I was ready to move on. But my brother forced me to keep working on it. I promised him I’d stay for a few more months, and that’s when we doubled down on our marketing efforts. Within a month, we went from making $30K to $200K. All the sudden, we were a million-dollar company. The growth was challenging since we didn’t have any employees at the time. The three of us were doing the selling, marketing, printing, designing, purchasing, shipping, cleaning, accounting and everything else all on our own.
It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I stuck around.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
This phase of the business. It used to just be my family and I running every aspect of it, so we couldn’t take more than 5 days off a year (and that was pushing it!). We’d be answering phone calls after hours until midnight and working every day just to keep the company moving. Now, I can look further ahead at how I can keep growing the company instead of being stuck in the day-to-day.