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Brady Fernandes

Patriot Threads, Fernandes’ project-turned-business, has donated $25,000 to veteran non-profits nationwide to date.

Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation - Student

Senior marketing student Brady Fernandes’ entrepreneurial journey began early. What started as a capstone assignment his senior year of high school quickly turned into a passion project.

“I was always intrigued by business, and I felt the best way to get acquainted with that world was to dive in headfirst and attempt an entrepreneurial venture,” Fernandes says.

Fernandes also had the desire to raise awareness of veteran’s needs. He combined his business and philanthropic interests to form Patriot Threads, LLC. The apparel company partners with non-profits supporting veterans services to raise money and awareness. Patriot Threads creates unique, patriotic t-shirts and donates a portion of each sale to partnered charities.

“I saw the potential for the business to provide quality patriotic-themed apparel while serving a deeper mission to revitalize the patriotic flame in younger generations and inspire the community to become more aware and ultimately involved with local veteran non-profits,” Fernandes says.

To date, Fernandes’ project-turned-business has donated $25,000 to veteran non-profits nationwide.

“Patriot Threads serves as a testament to the massive influence that every individual can have on a cause they feel passionate about,” he says. “If you had asked me when I started the business if I thought this would even be within the realm of possibility, I would've said you’re crazy. Through hard work, persistence and my local community's support, goals like this are within reach.”

While building his business, Fernandes took the opportunity to apply skills learned in his classes in the Haslam College of Business.

“The unique ability to apply my studies instantly into my business allowed growth opportunities I never could have predicted,” Fernandes says. “When applying these different strategies, I obtained a deeper understanding of the lessons taught in class as they played out in real time.”

Fernandes says resources in Haslam have also helped him grow his business. The burgeoning entrepreneur initially chose UT and Haslam because of its entrepreneurial environment.

“What really sold me in the end was the robust entrepreneurship program,” Fernandes says. “I began getting involved with the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation my freshman year and credit them with helping set me on my current life course through the early development of crucial leadership skills.”

As Fernandes considers the future of his business, he sees more growth and opportunities to give back. He encourages others to consider what skills they can use to help those around them.

“The sooner you realize your individual potential is magnified exponentially when working towards something bigger than yourself, the sooner you can empower yourself with the confidence to take on daunting goals that make a positive impact on your community,” Fernandes says.