Alum launches line of accessories for men
April 24, 2014
Iron and Blood, a new line of men’s accessories headed by NYU alumnus Zen Endo and his brother, is currently being funded through an online Kickstarter campaign.
Endo, who graduated from the Stern School of Business in 2012, said he knew he wanted to create a startup when he entered NYU.
“I made sure to take classes that would help me accomplish that goal rather than take classes to fulfill the requirements of any particular major,” Endo said.
Endo graduated with a major in marketing and management and cited Entrepreneurship for the New Economy, a class taught by Director of FirstMark Capital Lawrence Lenihan, as an influence on his career.
“[Lenihan’s] class brought together tech-savvy computer programmers with design-conscious business students,” Endo said. “We were put into teams and required to start a business. The class culminated in a climactic series of presentations at the end of the semester, and our teams pitched our new businesses to a panel of venture capitalists.”
Endo said meeting and hearing from entrepreneurial leaders such as Eric Ries and David Karp was inspiring.
The Iron and Blood Kickstarter describes the pieces as “industrial aesthetic jewelry.” Currently, the brand includes rings, tie clips and money clips. The Kickstarter campaign details how the pieces are made and what textures are used to create them. Although the brand is headquartered in New York, the pieces are made in Providence, R.I.
“[My brother and I] worked together to refine the design of the ring and in the process we started experimenting with traditional jewelry-making methods to make the other pieces that I envisioned,” Endo said. “We ultimately ended up using a kind of reverse approach of carving up an extremely hard material and then casting it out of a softer metal.”
Endo said the name Iron and Blood came from the textural contrast found in cast iron machine parts and he and his brother share the same bloodline.
The stated goal of Iron and Blood is to provide standout accessories for the stylish man.
“Jewelry is ingrained in male culture in many parts of the world and it has been a growing trend in the [United States],” Endo said. “As this culture continues to grow into the mainstream, men will become more confident about wearing pieces. In terms of making a guy stand out, we want our pieces to help set [their] wearers apart through the unique design of the sand casted texture.”
Endo hopes to include cuff links in the project, but is concentrating on producing the current line right now.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, April 24 print edition. Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at [email protected]