VETREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: NICK FRANZ FROM FRAG OUT CLOTHING COMPANY
August 2, 2018
By Aly Kuiken
Many military veterans struggle with transitioning back into society after service. Whether it’s returning to school, finding a job, or getting accustomed to civilian life, the transition process is not without a few bumps in the road. Nick Franz, entrepreneur and 13-year Air Force veteran, is working to make this process smoother for transitioning vets.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Nick joined the Air Force as an Avionics Technician at the age of 20. He was first stationed in Alaska, repairing large aircraft for several years before becoming a Military Training Instructor (MTI), and eventually moving to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.
After serving in the military, Franz pursued a B.S. degree in Marketing from Drexel University, which he completed in 2017. While he was studying at Drexel, Nick founded Frag Out Clothing Company, a custom and branded apparel business in 2015.
The name “Frag Out Clothing” comes from a military reference to fragmentation grenades, a key component of the company’s logo.
“The idea for the company name came from my day-to-day mentality, that any opportunity you get, just go in and conquer. Own the room. Own everything that you do. Go in there and kill it,” remarked Nick.
Frag Out Clothing Company makes custom apparel for a variety of customers, including first responders, veteran service organizations, schools, and events, among others. Additionally, Nick sells branded Frag Out Clothing products on the company’s website, and on Amazon and Etsy.
One of Nick’s larger customers is the Run Ranger Run event sponsored by GallantFew. Last year, Frag Out designed, printed, and distributed over 3,000 shirts for the event.
“I focus very heavily on making my customers happy,” mentioned Nick. “In this case, that meant end-to-end fulfilment, from design creation through the delivery of the product. But it doesn’t matter if one person ordered one t-shirt online, or if it’s a business that’s ordered a few thousand shirts. Everyone is important. I aim to give them the best product and the best service that I can.”
Nick credits his attention to customer satisfaction to his experience managing people as a drill instructor in the Air Force: “Understanding what drives people, what makes them tick, what their needs are and how to accomplish them, that’s essential in having a positive customer experience.”
As many veterans do, Nick gives back to the military community by seeking ways to employ veterans. He wants to help make the transition process a little smoother, after experiencing his own challenges with his transition.
“I’m making t-shirts. It’s low-key, small business, and I love it. I want to be a resource to veterans who are maybe using their GI bill to go back to school, who might be having a hard time transitioning and need work. I can give them the skills to go out and get the job they want. You know, serve as a stepping stone to provide work experience and marketing skills for someone to get that job that they’re dreaming of.”
Nick became involved with Bunker Labs after attending one of the monthly Bunker Brews happy hour events. He was selected to be a member of the 2018 Launch Lab Cohort, a 16-week business development program for veteran entrepreneurs.
According to Nick, participating in Launch Lab helped him refocus on time management, provided him with networking opportunities in Philadelphia, and introduced him to a community of like-minded veteran entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds to share ideas with.
“Bunker Labs is so well-connected and willing to carry out their mission of connecting and helping veteran entrepreneurs,” said Nick. “They introduced me to not only great business contacts and mentors, but also to a network of veterans from different industries, all working together to grow their businesses. It was a really great experience.”
Frag Out Clothing is currently seeking to hire a team to further grow the business. To learn more about Frag Out Clothing Company or to order their apparel, click here.
To learn about the Launch Lab X program and to apply for the 2019 Cohort, click here.