Lawrence businessman Seth Movsovitz thought he was just being cute when he told his friends who recently had children "welcome to the fraternity."
Little did he know he had created the mission statement for a new business.
Movsovitz and his brother Max, though, have started an entire business centered on the idea of Delta Alpha Delta, or DAD, the fraternity for dads.
The year-old business, based out of Max Movsovitz's Topeka home, sells about 35 products ranging from key chains to T-shirts that have the Delta Alpha Delta logo. The items are sold in 19 different retail outlets, mainly hospital gift shops, in a six-state region and on the company's Web site.
"There are a lot of people who have good memories about fraternity life," said Seth Movsovitz, who is an owner of Lawrence's Comfort Keepers, a home health care business. "This appeals to them. It is something they can relate to."
The idea for the company came to Movsovitz when he was trying to find something other than the ordinary gifts for a good friend who had just become a father.
"It just hit me to take that 'welcome to the fraternity' idea to the next step," Movsovitz said. "You can go into a hospital gift shop and get a bubble gum cigar or a banner, but you don't find anything that ties in that feeling of being a proud father and is still something you can use for a while."
The brothers invested $30,000 of their own money for the initial merchandise and to trademark the name and the corresponding greek letters.
The company doesn't release its sales totals, but one year later, Movsovitz said the company had done well enough to pay off its initial investment.
The month leading up to Father's Day is the busiest for the company, but Movsovitz said DAD's sales took a big jump four months ago when its products were featured in an issue of Child Magazine. After the article, he said Web site sales increased from a handful a month to more about 100 per month.
"We're not a big corporation or a huge national seller yet, but we do have some very good momentum going," Movsovitz said.
The brothers are hoping to ride that momentum to a major expansion. Seth Movsovitz said the company was considering taking on shareholders to fund improvements to the Web site and to allow a company representative to attend trade shows.
The ultimate goal for the business, Movsovitz said, is for the company's products to be sold in every hospital gift shop in the country. He said the company also hoped to license the trademark for use by a major clothing company or other businesses that wanted to tap into the fathers market.
"We think there are a lot of possibilities," Movsovitz said. "That's what we love about this. There will always be a market for us. Just as we've been speaking, how many thousands of people just became fathers."