May 23, 2019  

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Southern Miss Team Places Second in Shark Tank Competition

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Southern Miss students Aaron Brown, left, Kelsey Yost, center, and Jadarius Collins comprised a team that finished second in a shark tank competition held in Fort Worth, Texas. (Submitted photo)

A team comprised of three University of Southern Mississippi students took home second-place honors at the annual Alley Scholars Shark Tank Challenge Business Plan Competition held earlier this month in Fort Worth, Texas.

Representing the company Swanky Traditions, the team featured Aaron Brown, a senior entrepreneurship major; Jadarius Collins, a senior entrepreneurship major; and Kelsie Yost, a junior management major. The trio collected a $3,000 cash prize for the runner-up finish.

“When it was announced that we had finished in second place, I was beyond proud of myself, my team, and my company,” said Brown, who served as the team’s captain.

Swanky Traditions is an upscale apparel company that focuses on recognizing the days of old when etiquette, dress, and appearance were an important aspect of daily life. The company’s apparel is sold at more than 11 boutiques in central and south Mississippi. Brown co-founded the company with Gregory Mitchell, an accounting major at the University of Mississippi.

“We knew we wanted something unique. I compiled a list of synonyms of classy, and we reviewed them,” said Brown. “The second we saw Swanky, we stopped looking. We then added Traditions because we wanted to focus on the classic traditions that have lost through time.” 

SherRhonda Gibbs, associate professor of management at Southern Miss, expressed little surprise that her students competed so well in the business challenge.

“This shows that Southern Miss provides a top-notch business and entrepreneurship education where students can compete on any level,” said Gibbs. “The Golden Eagles are always up for any challenge.”

For more information about Swanky Traditions, visit: