I first saw Ryan Shell, a New Yorker that started The Home T, a soft, cute t-shirt company, on Shark Tank (my husband and my favorite show). Shell said it was a no brainer to donate a portion of proceeds of the shirts to the National MS Society and I knew I had to talk to him. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to chat with him and share our discussion with you.
How has multiple sclerosis affected your life?
“I have friends and family that have multiple sclerosis. My first interaction with someone with the disease was around the age of 14. I didn’t know much about it at the time, but a person I had frequent contact with went from being a very active guy to being in a wheelchair within months. Now that I look back on his experience, it was extremely dramatic. This was just the first of many such experiences and the memories never go away.”
“The biggest impact the disease has had on my life personally is that it’s prompted me to have this overwhelming desire to help those I do and don’t know as much as possible. That currently comes in the form of raising money for multiple sclerosis research. My goal is to raise $1 million for research. I just want to help as much as possible.”
Why did you decide to create The Home T?
Explain your decision process to donate a portion to the Multiple Sclerosis Society?
“Once we decided to start The Home T, there really was no decision process to donate to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and earmark the funds for research. It’s something we both instantly knew we absolutely wanted to do.”
For those of us interested in starting a business, what advice could you share?
“You have to understand that tons of people are detractors and are very risk averse. This prompts them to say things that aren’t necessarily supporting or motivational.”
“You also have to keep in mind that new ideas sometimes sound crazy and aren’t always understood by most people. And that also goes for people that are already “successful.”
“Many successful businesses require tons of hard work, but don’t for a second overlook the fact that a little bit of luck goes a long way.”
“Lastly, don’t for a second consider starting a business unless you love the idea. It will become your “baby” and a massive part of your life.”
Tell us about Shark Tank! We are avid watchers.
“Shark Tank was a wild adventure to say the least. It was an honor to be able to pitch the sharks and be part of a really small percentage of entrepreneurs that make it to that point. It was a positive experience for The Home T.”
Many Modern Day MS readers are looking for inspiration to stay positive while battling a chronic disease, any words to keep us going?
“Having multiple sclerosis is an extremely personal thing. It can also be a very lonely experience based on the hundreds if not thousands of people I’ve now spoken too. The important thing to remember is that there’s literally an army of people fighting the disease with you. From ground breaking research to the average Joe doing an MS walk or bike event… there are a ton of people working to help cure the disease and reverse what it does to the body.”
“I don’t know that I necessarily have any other words of inspiration. Reason being is that I think people that have multiple sclerosis or any other chronic disease are the ultimate inspiration. These diseases can be incredibly challenging and the fact that so many refuse to back down and live life to the fullest — that’s an amazing thing.”
“The next time you need inspiration, look in the mirror.”
What do you think is the future of MS?
“In the coming years additional medical advancements will be made. I am also very hopeful that a cure will be found in our lifetime.”
Any final words?
“I’d just like to thank all of The Home T’s customers for their amazing support.”
Thank you, Ryan. I am inspired by The Home T and your generosity to the multiple sclerosis community.