Smathers and Branson

Smathers and Branson 

Smathers and Branson is a needlepoint accessory company based out of Bethesda, Maryland. 

The company started in 2004 while Austin Branson and Peter Smathers Carter were seniors at Bowdoin College.

Both received hand-stitched needlepoint belts from their girlfriends, receiving compliments from fellow students when they wore them.

They pitched a dual-independent study in art and economics, to investigate launching a belt company of their own. As Carter and Branson put together a business plan and learned how to design, their company began coming together. They wanted to find a way to mass-produce hand-stitched needlepoint belts.

Knowing they needed to lower the price point, Carter and Branson traveled to Vietnam after their graduation in 2004. They eventually joined forces with a manufacturer and one-on-one taught 50 workers throughout several villages how to needlepoint.

Upon returning to the United States and their basement room in Branson's parents' house, Branson took out a $10,000 loan from his father to get the company going.

Today, Branson and Carter own and operate Smathers & Branson, which manufactures and sells needlepoint belts, key fobs, and wallets, among other products.