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Tailgate Clothing is a Ankeny, IA based company that is bringing fashion back to collegiate apparel and generating a ton of revenue at the same time.

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Last weekend I was in Ithaca, NY for a wedding. It just so happens that I went to Cornell, so it was a homecoming of sorts for me even though the wedding was non-Cornell people. While I was there, I went into the campus store to look at the latest Cornell gear. Red may be a hard color to wear, but I spent four years mastering it. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything that I liked. The best Cornell shirts are the ones issued to every athlete on campus (I have magically procured a few of these). Most of the stuff that you can buy is kind of lame. Tailgate Clothing is a Ankeny, IA based company that is solving this problem by bringing fashion back to collegiate apparel (here are some of their Cornell t-shirts). Apparently there was some pent up demand for this kind of merchandise (stuff that recreates “a forgotten era of timeless collegiate and classic American sportswear by incorporating vintage manufacturing methods, quality, workmanship, and an eye for details), as Tailgate Clothing has seen 1,153% three-year growth to $24.7 million in revenue (putting them at #327 on the Inc. 500).

Don’t Miss This Tailgate

I want to use Tailgate Clothing to illustrate a new job search trick. If you haven’t already realized that lists like the Inc. 500 are a gold mine of potential employers, you need to start paying more attention. The tough part is that a lot of the companies on the list don’t have Careers pages (Tailgate Clothing is included). They’re all growing at crazy rates, so they’re all likely to be hiring now or in the near future. But there’s a way to zero in on companies with even more potential for employment growth. Look at the amount of revenue generated per employee. This number can vary widely based on industry, location, and lots of other variables, but when you see a company that is making more than a million dollars per employee and not in finance or tech, you’ve found a company that is probably generating a lot of profit (Tailgate Clothing is at nearly $1.5 million in revenue per employee). There’s a good chance that some of those profits will go back into the company, and that usually means hiring people. Maybe I’m wrong on Tailgate Clothing. Maybe they are going to stay lean and see how much they can grow the business without growing the headcount, but there’s only one way to find out. If you make a habit of finding companies with high revenue to employee ratios and reach out to them, you are going to find opportunities that other job seekers will never see. It’s a lot of work, but it’s the kind of work that pays off big time.

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