As a serial entrepreneur, Ronald "RJ" Messenger has been involved with multiple projects of his own as well as being a facilitator of events and concepts around the Ohio Valley area.
Iron Empire Clothing
We are the tough-minded. The strong-willed, and the relentless souls determined to live on their own terms and create their empire at all costs. Clothing for those who are hungry to have more in life.”
Iron Empire was never intended to become the “Empire” that is known as today. When RJ decided back in early 2015 that he wanted to have a hobby aside from his 9-5 career, he came up with a name, a logo, and $300 to get some shirts printed. $300 quickly turned into $700, $700 turned into $1,600, and so on, by the end of 2015 Iron Empire already had its own brick and mortar in Erie, PA.
In April of 2016, just a year later from starting his “hobby”, he turned that hobby into his new career as he decided to retire from the City of Erie early and pull his pension, and throw away the benefits, insurance, and secure salary, and jumped feet first into this new world of entrepreneurship.
Its now been a little over 6 years, and Iron Empire has 3 retail locations, as well as its own Screen Printing business that produces apparel for businesses, sports teams, schools, and more around the entire country.
Underdog BBQ was founded by a billionaire and a group of local underdog entrepreneurs who wanted to do more than offer delicious BBQ and locally-crafted beer. They wanted to build a brand and tell the story about the Underdogs of Erie, Pa.
As part of Discovery's hit reality television show, Undercover Billionaire, founder and billionaire Glenn Stearns came to Erie to build a million-dollar company from scratch in just 90 days with only $100 in his pocket. After surrounding himself with a team of locals, (spoiler alert!) Glenn successfully opened a business and created a brand that is Underdog BBQ.
Now, Underdog BBQ is a favorite stop for vacationers visiting Presque Isle, fans of the show, "Undercover Billionaire" and bbq enthusiasts across the country.
“Explore Without Purpose”
Timberwood Clothing, alongside Conquest, was an idea that began pre-pandemic in 2020 but never had the time to come to fruition due to the unforeseen future of the shutdown and where business would ultimately head. The idea was to take what RJ learned over the last 6 years with Iron Empire; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and do it all over again with a new face/new name/new audience.
Timberwood gives the “adventurer” in all of us an opportunity to wear some fresh colors/new branding to take on the road and travel in style. The ultimate goal is to get Timberwood Clothing on the backs of as many adventurists as possible as they travel and collect photos from all areas of the world!
Conquest would ultimately be the fitness brand that Iron Empire would occasionally venture to. It would be geared to the new age demographic in an ever growing fitness industry. The items would be of a much higher quality, unique garments specifically designed with fitness in mind. The very basic branding of Conquest gives it a distinguishable and recognizable look to separate itself from other fitness brands in the industry.