SRP Business Resource Center

Free tools, tips, advice, events and other resources to help your business thrive.

Success Story: State Forty Eight

Home / Success stories / Success Story: State Forty Eight


“Don’t wait for the perfect moment to launch your business or idea. Release it and find out if there is demand. Listen to your customers and continue to improve along the way.”

State Forty Eight Founders
Nicholas Polando, Stephen Polando and Michael Spangenberg
Founders, State Forty Eight

State Forty Eight is a lifestyle brand featuring Arizona-themed shirts and apparel. Founded in 2013, we are dedicated to expressing our passion for Arizona, the 48th state admitted to the Union.

What has been your biggest challenge and what did you learn from it?

Nicholas: Simply staying calm when being pulled in different directions. It is very easy to get too emotional for something that you have passion about, but you need to always be able to remind yourself to stay calm and think with a clear head.

Stephen: Never allow yourself to get complacent. We don’t have bosses to come down on us and make sure things get done. We have to hold ourselves accountable and not let each other down.

Michael: Growing the business as fast as possible with a limited payroll. Expenses and labor add up quickly so it is very tough at times to balance cash flow. What I have learned is to prioritize and chip away at the to-do list to utilize time effectively.

To what do you attribute your success?

Nicholas: The right timing and realizing there was an open market in Arizona to give people the ability to show how proud they are of their state. Also, the hard work and perseverance that the three of us possess.

Stephen: I think a lot of it comes from the combo of work ethic and customer service. People remember the way you make them feel, and we don’t want to let each other down.

Michael: I strongly feel that good customer service, giving back and collaborations separate us from the competition.

What was the greatest lesson learned from being an entrepreneur?

Nicholas: It’s not going to be easy. I’ve come to the point now where I realize that I am in it. Our company is so far from just an idea anymore, and I need to keep doing everything I can to keep it all going.

Stephen: Probably just finding a way to keep yourself grounded through good times and bad times. It’s almost poisonous to have people tell you how great you’re doing. I’m very thankful they do, but it could easily go to your head. Staying humble and keeping life simple is important if you want to keep building and keep reaching new heights.

Michael: How expensive attorney fees are.

What is your motto?

Nicholas: It’s all relative — the good and the bad.

Stephen: I am inspired by this quote from Muhammad Ali: “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
Michael: Work smarter, not harder.

If you had one piece of advice to give to other business owners, what would it be?

Nicholas: Think things through fully. Look beyond the present situation to see how the decision will affect you or the company down the road.

Stephen: Believe in yourself. You’re going to sink or swim, and I think you will find yourself swimming more often than sinking. Work hard and be nice. It’s pretty simple.

Michael: Go for it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to launch your business or idea. Release it and find out if there is demand. Listen to your customers and continue to improve along the way.

State Forty Eight shop