Before exploring his entrepreneurial possibilities, TJ worked as an investment banker.
“[Investment banking] was a phenomenal experience, but I realized it wasn’t for me,” said TJ. “I had both an entrepreneurial and creative itch that weren’t getting scratched, and I was looking for something new to do.”
TJ left investment banking to follow his dream of opening his own business. Onward Reserve was founded solely as an online retailer directed by TJ’s vision to develop “an authentically southern brand.” Despite not initially wanting to open a brick-and-mortar store, the perfect Athens location convinced TJ to capitalize on the opportunity. Currently, Onward Reserve has eight locations across the Southeast with plans to open more stores within the next year.
In addition to donating, TJ also supports UGA by serving as a guest speaker and mentor, through which he gives students candid and constructive advice. He encourages students to take advantage of their time at UGA and the innumerable opportunities available to them so they can fully explore their interests. By doing so, students can discover how to unite their passions with their career paths, much like TJ did.
“If you told me when I was in school that I’d be speaking to a fashion merchandising class one day, I’d be shocked. But I love it,” said TJ. “I love interacting with customers and designing our stores and clothing. If you can find something that aligns your passions with what you want to do, that’s worth its weight in gold.”
–Written by Claire Dickey ’18