Campus News

Austin Branson '04, Peter Carter '04 Among Inc. Magazine's "Coolest"

Story posted October 06, 2009

They're young, successful, and now, according to Inc. magazine, they are "the coolest."

Austin Branson '04 and Peter Smathers Carter '04 are among the magazine's "30 Under 30: America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs."

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Austin Branson '04 (left) and Peter Smathers Carter '04

After graduation in 2004, they founded Smathers and Branson, a company that manufactures and sells preppy needlepoint belts, key fobs, wallets and other products.

The idea came while they were roommates at Bowdoin. They say their girlfriends had made them needlepoint belts as gifts and that they immediately saw a market for them.

"To our surprise, we discovered that no one was selling finished needlepoint products at the high quality and affordable price that we were looking for," says the team on the Smathers and Branson blog.

"We searched for nearly a year until we were satisfied with a group of stitchers and a producer that we knew could create the quality product we had set out to make. Today we employ and provide opportunities for over 2,000 people in 16 villages in Vietnam. This continues to be one of the most satisfying parts of our business."

The company's accessories have been featured in magazines including House and Garden and Redbook. Branson and Carter have also appeared with their wares on Fox Business News, and former President George H.W. Bush was photographed wearing one of their belts at the AT&T National golf tournament alongside Tiger Woods in July 2007.

Read the Inc. magazine article.

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