From soldier to CEO, Daniel Alarik started his company with a few dollars in his pocket and a healthy dose of grit.
After his many years of military service -- and as a result of his love for military culture and his family -- Alarik founded Grunt Style, a patriotic apparel company, in November 2009. Since then, Grunt Style has evolved into a business with more than 350 employees, about half of whom are military veterans.
"I get to employ 100-plus vets," Alarik said. "I get to give them an opportunity."
Grunt Style not only promotes patriotism, it actually honors America's patriots by guaranteeing an interview to any veteran that applies, regardless of their qualifications.
"An interview is like a first date," Alarik said. "Having confidence and understanding where you are and where you want to go is very important."
The former Army drill sergeant encourages anyone transitioning out of the military to present themselves professionally and highlight the positive attributes of being a veteran: experience working with a team, confidence and a willingness to learn. He also said veterans maintain a level of integrity and authenticity that can benefit the business world.
"You don't need to be a natural; you just need to be honest and hard-working," Alarik said. "If you can do that, you can make six figures."
When he separated from the Army and pursued his mission to spread American pride across the nation, his knowledge of business was virtually nonexistent. Alarik modeled his company's corporate structure after something familiar.
"Our company is structured like a line unit," he said. "If you're a vet coming in, you immediately understand."
Grunt Style's origin as a 25-person platoon has evolved into a battalion of more than 350 individuals, complete with a battalion commander and company commanders.
"It's a team environment that stresses internal progression," Grant Crowley, Grunt Style's human resources director, said. Crowley also emphasized that the company offers an innovative, friendly and family-oriented atmosphere for all employees, including those without a military background.
"The team is what makes us successful," Alarik said. "There are no heroes here at Grunt Style, just teams."
Alarik recently revealed that the company's current mission is to revitalize American manufacturing. He said that by focusing on operations, Grunt Style can actually screen-print more effectively and more efficiently than China. This manufacturing breakthrough will ultimately bring even more job opportunities to veterans and patriots alike.
Grunt Style products are currently sold in 11,000 stores nationwide and online. An updated list of current career opportunities is also available at www.gruntstyle.com.
Ashley Ignatz is the family readiness trainer and volunteer coordinator at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California. A military spouse and mother of one, Ashley was chosen the 2017 Spouse of the Year for MCLB Barstow. She is also a freelance writer and has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations from California Polytechnic State San Luis Obispo.
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