A Rockland Entrepreneur’s Story: From NBA Dreams to Sportswear Seams

BY ERIN MAHER

Standing at five feet, 10 inches, most would not look at Andrew Arcangel and think, “basketball player.” While he didn’t make it very far playing basketball, Arcangel never turned from his passion to make basketball his career.

Born and raised a Rockland County resident and now living in New City, Andrew Arcangel, 23, is the founder and CEO of a new basketball sportswear company, true athelite.

Officially launched on July 23rd, the true athelite brand sells specialized basketball sportswear for men. The fabric, developed in Massachusetts and manufactured in China, challenges the current sportswear of big brand name companies out there.

“What’s so special about it is you’ll see for Nike Drifit or Adidas Clima Cool they have certain features. I wanted to combine all of them into one,” says Archangel, of the true athelite tech fabric.

Arcangel graduated from Albertus Magnus High School in 2007 and went on to attend Fordham University in the Bronx. Fordham provided Arcangel with a bevy of resources and opportunities to explore entrepreneurship. Studying business administration, Arcangel made his mark on the Fordham community by co-founding the Fordham University Entrepreneurship Society, serving as the club’s first vice president.

Arcangel’s junior and senior years of college exposed him to the world of business. He used his time networking with professors who had professional experience in the industry, including a professor who served as the former vice president of marketing for the New York Knicks. Arcangel gained professional working experience during an internship with Wells Fargo.

Senior year was when true athelite was first conceptualized. “One of our semester long projects was to create a business plan for a start-up, an actual start-up, which is pretty cool, and from there I actually got the confidence to make my own business plan,” explains Arcangel.

Arcangel’s plan was innovative and impressive, and in 2011 upon graduating, Arcangel was awarded the Fordham University Entrepreneurship Award, an award given to a graduate who has demonstrated the highest level of academic excellence, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Graduation was not only a major milestone that marked the end of one chapter of his life, but also the start of the next.

“Upon graduation I got inheritance money from my grandmother, who is also an entrepreneur. I was given a five figure check, and at that moment I was like, ‘I have the business plan, I have the money, let’s go for it,'” said Arcangel.

Transforming the start-up from paper to a reality took a tremendous amount of work. The first step Arcangel took was to secure the true athelite name, applying for the trademark immediately. From there, a combination of skill, ingenuity, and determination helped him turn the start-up plan from lots of paper into an actual webpage.

“I like challenges, I always like challenging myself, so I sat down and said, ‘let’s learn how to make a website.’” Starting from scratch and without any prior computer software knowledge, Arcangel sat down at his computer and self-taught himself how to build a website. A domain name, a private server, and only 36 hours later, the true athelite website was up and running.

After the name and website were in place, Arcangel worked to build the brand. Social media was the podium in which he chose to spread and share the message and ideals of true athelite.

True athelite’s twitter page is updated daily with inspirational messages that Arcangel formulates himself, “It’s not a quote from a basketball player from twenty years ago, it’s a quote I would tell myself to motivate myself.” The tweets went viral, and pre-launch the company had over 1700 followers. Arcangel’s not worried about the brand’s identity or ideals. “It’s easy to maintain true athelite as a brand because it’s a reflection of myself,” he said.

His defining passion for the game of basketball was born right here in Rockland County. Arcangel competed in local recreation leagues as well as his school teams. Both his brother and father played and followed the game, and so did Arcangel. The game had a great impact on his life, starting from a young age. He explained, “I went to a local card store that is no longer open, unfortunately. I picked up a pack of basketball cards and found an Allen Iverson card…”

His inspirations were not other entrepreneurs, but were, in fact, professional NBA players, “….Allen Iverson was huge back then, he had a profound effect on me because he was a short guy who dominated in the league, and for me as a Filipino who is just naturally short, I found it inspiring.”

Now that the brand is launched and Arcangel strives to build and expand it, Arcangel’s goals for true athelite are raised higher than the hoop itself. Said Arcangel, “I have 2017 circled on my calendar because that’s actually the year when Adidas’s contract with the NBA expires. They are the official outfitter of the NBA, and only company allowed to make their uniforms. It’s very ambitious in five years, but I want to be able to at least compete for that spot and get the attention of the NBA.”

“Our slogan is, ‘what hard work looks like’, and that’s because in order to get to an elite status, an elite level, you have to put the work into it,” adds Arcangel. This young entrepreneur’s dream turned into reality due to his dedication and hard work. Poised, passionate, and personable, Arcangel at 23 has done what millions around the world only dream they can do. Arcangel is the epitome of the true athelite slogan, and as he continues his hard work and shoots for the stars, he will without a doubt be dressing the best “athelites” in the game.