Why I Left a Career in Professional Sports to Build STYL

My “I need to build this” moment happened at a Nordstrom Rack in Chicago, and it brought back two painful college memories. Like most college students, I had a very limited budget for personal expenses. I waited tables, bartended, and the majority of my earnings went to rent and food, leaving few opportunities for buying clothes.


On the first occasion, I headed to the mall for some shoe shopping. My roommate was raised in SoCal and he had that cool surfer vibe. I wanted to emulate his white high tops and ankle cut socks look and I bought a pair of white on white Nike’s.


Later that night he came across the Nike shoe box and asked to see them. I was certain he was going to give them his approval, until I took them out of the closet and heard him say, “Dude, those look like white nurses shoes”. They were promptly returned the next day.



A year later I went shopping at Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego for a new shirt for an upcoming party. While looking through the men’s dress shirts for sale at Nordstrom, I was approached by an attractive female sales associate.


After asking me a few questions her eye’s perked up and she said, “I’ll show you what to wear to a party to really impress”. Intrigued by the thought of being original and expanding my fashion sense, I looked at the $80 shirt she pulled and my mind immediately said NO, but I agreed to try it on.


In the dressing room I should have trusted my initial reaction as I looked in the mirror and the shirt made me look like I was being burned alive. I opened the dressing room door to the attractive sales associate who closed me with, “It looks great on you and you have the confidence to pull it off!”


I arrived at the party, got weird glances, laughed at, had a few drinks, came home, and never wore the shirt again.




- Conor Sammartin is a Co-Founder at STYL

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