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ENTREPRENEURS SADDLE UP FOR SUCCESS

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They say that sarcasm can get you into real trouble. But here’s a case in which such irreverence has produced some different results. In fact, it has made Richard and Dan Lem-mons wealthy men.

The Lemmons brothers are owners of High Horse Sportswear of Dallas, a company that sells oxford-cloth, knit and rugby shirts as well as sweatshirts with a new twist: Rather than a proud polo player and horse a la Ralph Lauren, High Horse Sportswear bears the symbol of a not-so-proud polo player falling off a horse. And as could be expected, the shirts are priced at a more humble level.

And humble seems to be the name of the game with High Horse; the beginning of the company was certainly unpretentious. The Lemmons left college four years ago for the laid-back beach life in California. There, they rented an apartment, surfed, partied and sold hospital surgical “scrubs” to make ends meet. They also formed a small painting company (aptly named “Four Guys Painting”) with two friends and took odd jobs in their spare time.

The brothers soon realized that the hospital scrub craze would pass as quickly as it had peaked, but they also knew that the polo garb was traditional enough to stay in style for a while. Thus was born the High Horse concept. With no capital to support their brainstorm, they hired a California artist to design the logo. They paid him with what they had received for their last painting job: 30 sirloin steaks.

But High Horse apparel wasn’t an overnight success. After persuading some friends to become silent partners, the Lemmons set up a marketing scheme similar to that of the Amway Corp.

The corporation’s headquarters are in Dallas, and the High Horse name has now spread across the country-and its fame is still spreading. Eighty-seven distributors are located in almost every state in the country, and each distributor has as many as 20 employees.

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