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Thursday, May 9, 2013

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Tim Hyland, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sparkle & Wit Apparel and Tote Company Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

Tim Hyland

Maine Woolens is a weaver of blanket and throws located in Brunswick, Maine. We work primarily with natural fibers, like cottons and worsted wools and are committed to using renewable natural fibers from American growers whenever possible. We do piece dyeing and package dyeing in house and the combined experience of our excellent employees exceeds 300 years. Our wool and cotton blankets and throws are 100 percent machine washable, soft and luxurious to the touch, cozy warm and comfortably light. We have many styles to choose from. Our clients are very positive about our products and happy to support a Made in Maine, USA company. Visit our website at
We have been highly recommended by Whom You Know: 
Maine Woolens, affordable luxury and tradition. 


Tim Hyland is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sparkle & Wit Apparel and Tote Company. Tim is not only a founder of the company and very involved in many aspects of the business, but also worked to establish the framework and partnerships to have all products Made in the USA and eco-friendly when possible. He firmly believes in the importance of the American product movement and keeping manufacturing and production here in the USA.

Originally from New York, Tim spent 13 years growing up in London, England which really enriched his childhood. Those global experiences would shape so many of the traits he brings to business today. He attended Boston College and was hired to begin a Wall Street career in investment management upon graduation. He worked in the Investment Management Group at Prudential Investments for 2 years before being hired away by a boutique asset management firm, Allegiance Capital which he helped grow from $950mm to $6.5billion. In late 2010, the firm was sold to Macquarie Group Ltd. Tim was involved in the integration of the two businesses into the new parent company.

After a year as Senior Vice President of business development for another asset management firm, he took the opportunity to establish a company with his partner and wife, Melissa who had already owned her own business for the past 7 years. She heads up the creative and design direction while Tim runs the business. Having worked with so many companies and different types of clients and investors over the past 15 years, it was an excellent opportunity to thrive in new set of challenges as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Giving back to philanthropic interests and charitable causes is important to Tim and his family. They have worked with guide dog organizations for 15 years, both as volunteers and raisers of three black Labrador retrievers. Tim, along with his family members, have also been involved with cancer research, battered women’s' shelters and wounded veterans.

Tim has diverse interests away from the office. He is a driving instructor for the Audi Club and Ferrari Club, working with drivers of various levels at racetracks throughout the Northeast USA. He successfully completed black belt training in tae kwon do. Having resided in London and traveled there for business, he enjoys travel, a variety of sports, cars, and time spent with his wife and young daughter. He currently resides in New Jersey. We are so pleased to present Tim Hyland as our latest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Tim for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What does manufacturing in the United States mean to you?
Tim Hyland: 
It’s an important factor for Sparkle & Wit as a business and important to me personally. It should be considered by US companies who outsource all their manufacturing. I recognize the economic challenges, but with the recovering economy and all the unemployed US workers, anything we can do to bring jobs back to the US should be a priority. It will benefit us both in the short and long-term.

What do you know today as an entrepreneur that you didn't know when you started Sparkle & Wit?
Starting and building a company requires you to not only wear many hats, but become familiar with so many aspects of a company that would not occur if you worked in one department of a big organization. I have also learned you have the opportunity to interact more closely with business partners, customers, and vendors. For the most part, people genuinely want to help other business owners be successful.

How can more Americans find products to buy that are made in the USA-it isn't always easy!
I agree that it should be easier to find Made in the USA products. There are several websites now that are portals of USA brands as well as several blogs, but the awareness needs to increase even more

What should everyone know about Sparkle & Wit that they might not know yet?
First, the name. “Sparkle” for the rhinestone and crystal accents added to items in the collection and “Wit” for the fun expressions we often put on shirts and bags. We are a family owned and operated company who not only want to deliver great products for our customers, but we support the made in the USA movement too.

After New York/Northeast USA, London is the next biggest readership of Whom You Know. What should everyone know about London and what did you like about growing up there?
I love London. It is such a beautiful, historical, and sophisticated city with so much tradition. I have had the privilege to travel back for both business and personal trips with my wife. We still have friends there. It has changed so much over the years. I love the way contemporary has been blended with traditional. I am dating myself, but when I moved there as a child due to my father’s ex-patriot assignment for a bank in early 1981, we were spectators along the route for Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding, July 29th which incidentally was my mother’s birthday. It is difficult to appreciate the full gravity of your experiences when you are younger, but for a long time I have been grateful for my 13 years there and go back whenever it works.

Do you watch the BBC and if so what are your favorite shows?
I do not have a lot of time to watch a lot of BBC, but I enjoy TOP GEAR.

Why did you want to attend Boston College, best college in the world?
The process of applying to US universities from the American School in London made the logistics of visiting campuses more complicated. After I had been accepted to my first 3 choices of colleges (with Boston College being the front runner), I wanted to visit before finalizing my decision. As the timing worked out, the weekend I was there was Patriots Day in April—the Boston Marathon. The excitement of the students and the beauty of the campus were tremendous. I was also fortunate to have a cousin who was currently a junior there so she was great in showing me around, introducing me to other students, and also telling me I would love it. After that visit, it was the choice for me.

What did Boston College teach you and what do you love most about it?
Many people talk about the foundations of Jesuit education. They also often think it is just religious. Not true. For me, I learned right away the core curriculums are set up to give you exposure to so many areas of study and improve your skills in so many academic disciplines. That sets the groundwork for you to make an informed decision in your path of study and take electives in other disciplines to round out that education. BC also taught me to get involved in a variety of activities. The approachability of the professors and priests was wonderful. As a matter of fact, my freshman year theology professor, Father Joseph Nolan, became a real mentor to me (and still is all these years later). He presided over our wedding at St. Ignatius church on the Boston College campus in May, 2003, and came down to our home in 2010 to baptize our young daughter. 

How do you try to make the world excel, as in Ever to Excel?
It starts with the people. I have worked to bring great people together, both for business and personal interests and found that even small acts of kindness or an introduction go a long way. The world excels if everyone does their part.

If you were going to bet with Regis on the next Holy War, what would you bet and why?
If you are referring to the Boston College vs Notre Dame football rivalry, that is a tough bet right now coming off ND’s national championship caliber season. That said, I believe BC is going to improve in the coming few years. I would bet that Matt Ryan gets a larger contract extension than any Notre Dame Player currently in the NFL.

Do you miss working on Wall Street? Why or why not?
As you would expect, yes and no. I miss the energy of the daily challenges in the office. I do not miss the logistics, travel, and commuting. Fortunately for me, I have stayed in touch with several good contacts and past colleagues and have the opportunity to meet them in NYC. Plus, it is such a small world that our business dealings and relationships could cross paths at anytime.

What is your favorite car and have you ever been to Lime Rock Park?
I have been going to Lime Rock Park since 1998, both as a participant in countless high performance driving schools with car clubs that I belong to and as a volunteer instructor for the Audi Northeast Quattro Club (NEQ) since 2006. I love all kinds of high performance cars, but Porsches are probably my favorite and I am fortunate to own 2 of them.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
Instead of one particular person, I am influenced and often inspired by those stories of business leaders and entrepreneurs of all types who have overcome massive obstacles to create a business that is thriving today. Our country became so prosperous thanks to the efforts of hard-working people and that spirit of opportunity today inspires me, especially those who have taken it to a new level in whatever business interests they pursue. 

What are you proudest of and why?
On the personal front, I am proud of our family. With the support of my wife and a beautiful young daughter, that has been wonderful. We spend a lot of time together which has been great. From a business standpoint, I am proud to have taken various calculated risks, some that have turned out better than others, but have worked out well overall. I have to continue that journey so ask me again in a year and hopefully I will be proud of the progress. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Run a successful organization that comprises business interests that I find engaging and interesting and work with a team of people who are not only excellent at what they do, but live a balanced life and believe in giving back as I do. We can all prosper together.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
This is very subjective and honors take different forms. In my second year in investment management, I received the “Chairman’s Club” award which recognized the most outstanding team member of our group and permitted me to travel to Puerto Rico for a top conference and rewards trip. That was a long time ago. From there, I got various recognitions for exceeding asset-raising expectations and helping the company become more profitable. For a few years the eastern division of the company which was my responsibility generated the most business. Now, I want any awards going forward to recognize a team I have established and the goals we have exceeded together. 

What one word best describes you and why?
Determined. Like everyone else, I have had many setbacks and disruptions along the path, but I have continually gotten back up and never given up. I know the journey is unpredictable and often frustrating, but I try to be more grateful for what I have as well.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan?
I really enjoy Central Park. Whether just for a walk or attending an event, there is always such a great energy about it.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan?
Admittedly, I am not a big shopper, but occasionally I do enjoy walking through Tiffany’s with my wife. 

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
Right now, it would be an established and successful entrepreneur who has the experience, contacts, and knowledge to help businesses get to the next level. Maybe Jack Dorsey.

What is your favorite drink?
It depends on my mood and the company. When we entertain or dine with friends, I enjoy great red wine. If I am out casually with the guys, I like Guinness.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
It was not too funny at the time, but looking back we laugh. I was at a party with a former colleague who proceeded to drink too much in front of clients and senior management. Myself and a colleague offered to ride in the cab with him to make sure he got home safely, but he could not remember his address so we ended up having to call his wife for directions. That didn’t go over well.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
Again, this is tough to select one. Depends what we are in the mood to eat. I have been going to West Bank Café on West 42nd for a few years and always have terrific meals. I know the owner and really enjoy the casual atmosphere and great food.

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature?
Having worked in investment management, I liked “Liars Poker” and “When Genius Failed”, which both have a lot to do with Wall Street and NYC. 

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
I have never met him, but Sir Richard Branson. He is a very accomplished and successful entrepreneur and innovator, but he seems to have a lot of fun and passion for what he does. He is unafraid to be casual, yet very effective. 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why?
While it is a lofty goal, I would say part of a hospital or medical wing. The work many of these doctors do is incredible and I believe whatever we can do to help people who are ill get better and possibly enjoy a healthier life would be tremendous.

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
Runs, workouts, and a variety of activities in Central park.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else?
Enjoy just about any type of food, neighborhood or culture in a short period of time. The diversity is incredible and it gives each area of NYC a special energy.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
Our founding fathers. I would want to see how they go through the process of writing laws, coming up with our declarations and lasting principles working with no technology that is available today. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience?
While I have had the privilege to attend several Broadways shows and many concerts, my wife and I went to one of the last nights of the band U2 tour at Madison Square Garden for our anniversary several years back. We had great seats and the energy in the building that night was amazing.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
My family and I have been involved with a variety of charities and causes, ranging from 15 years working with guide dog organizations, both as volunteers and raisers of 3 black Labrador retrievers, to battered women’s shelters, skin cancer research, and wounded warriors. I have found that even small acts of kindness got a long way.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
People who have not worked in NYC or spent any considerable time there have this general feeling that everyone is always in a rush. They underestimate the pure caring and generosity of the city. Look at how folks have helped others on so many occasions, often complete strangers. As far as overrated, several of the touristy restaurants seem to be a little overrated. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it?
Patriotism. Features the Made in the USA section which is great.

Have you tried The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? 
No. Hopefully soon I will get the opportunity.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I love spending time with my family, enjoying several hobbies and activities, travel, and now doing our best to bring more awareness to Made in the USA companies.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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