In the Light: Jake Danehy

Much of school is spent learning about the problems that surround us. While most students learn about the issues of our world, few actually do anything about them. Senior Geography concentrator Jake Danehy is an exception.

“I was sitting in one of my Geography classes sophomore year, and we were learning a lot about plastic waste and I got really frustrated about it because there’s all this plastic waste going into the oceans,” Danehy said.

Danehy transformed his frustration into inspiration and the idea for a clothing line made of recycled plastic was born. Danehy co-founded Fair Harbor Clothing with a close friend at USC and his younger sister, Caroline, a first-year at Colgate. Working through the Colgate Thought-Into-Action (TIA) Program, Danehy was able to make Fair Harbor Clothing a reality.

Last Spring, Danehy participated in Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend “Shark Tank” by presenting his clothing line in front of a panel that included accomplished entrepreneurs.

“We got $5,000 from the Shark Tank, and then we also got the ENY (Entrepreneurs Fund) funding through Colgate, so they gave us $15,000 and then we used that money to start the business,” Danehy said.

While Danehy’s work with Fair Harbor is impressive in itself, even more impressive is the fact that he has managed to balance his work with being

goalie for the Colgate Men’s Lacrosse team.

“My favorite thing about Colgate is the lacrosse team, because of the community that we have there,” Danehy said.

Last Spring, however, Danehy was faced with a challenge when he was offered the opportunity to present in Colgate’s Shark Tank the same day

lacrosse had a game.

“Originally, I was not going to be able to do it… but I worked out a deal [with my coach]. I thought it was one of the most unreal experiences I’ve had at

Colgate.” Danehy said.

Over the summer, Danehy, his sister and their partner at USC were able to rent an office space in New York City to focus more attention on launching Fair Harbor. 

“It was great to be in that environment for the summer. It paid for itself; because of the connections we made, now we’re designing our second line of board shorts and t-shirts,” Danehy said.

Danehy is still figuring out his plans after college. He hopes to continue with Fair Harbor while pursuing other business opportunities to gain experience in the industry. Meanwhile, Danehy is enjoying his last year at Colgate.