My name is Steve Radke and I'm the Founder and CEO of Short Steve Button Downs, LLC. I came up with the idea for creating a breathable yet fashionable short sleeve button down (SSBD) shirt in September 2018. In January 2019, I legally formed the company and in May 2019, I quit my job in commercial real estate development to pursue this full-time.
It started when my friend and I attended the 2018 US Open tennis tournament in New York City. It was about 90 degrees and felt like 100% humidity. Sweating was inevitable, so I had to figure out what to wear that would look decent, while also keeping me comfortable in the heat. I went with a Nike golf shirt because the fabric was light and breathable.
A few days later, while standing on the NYC subway platform and sweating through my cotton dress shirt, I had a realization: I hadn't worn any of my short sleeve button downs during the previous summer because they were all 100% cotton. As soon as I would start sweating in them, the fabric would soak up the perspiration and become incredibly uncomfortable. It was then that the proverbial light bulb went off: I needed to design a SSBD that would keep me cool and comfortable in the heat. The two key components would be the fabric and the designs. The fabric would need to be soft, stretch and breathable and the designs would need to be versatile enough to be worn on multiple occasions including work, happy hours, family BBQs, hiking, golf, etc.
To start, I did what any millennial with a smartphone would do. I asked Google “how do I make a shirt?” I found a website called Maker’s Row, filled in some basic info, posted in the forum, and waited...To my utter amazement, I received multiple responses from firms that were willing to help me pursue my idea. Once I realized this was actually possible, I began dedicating my nights and weekends to turning my idea into reality. Having achieved my goal of designing and producing a breathable comfortable SSBD with various versatile patterns, my new goal is to share this product with you, the customer.
I will be publishing some more "behind-the-scenes" stories via a blog that will be available soon on the website. In the meantime, thanks for reading and sharing my story. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.