Murray will receive his statewide award from Terri Denison, SBA Georgia District Director, at an Atlanta luncheon on May 22 that is hosted by the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle. He was nominated for his award by the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Athens.
Murray and co-owner Corey Bramblett, chief financial officer, started their company in June 2002 in a bedroom with only a computer and telephone. "At that time Cody would make 100 sales calls a day and continues to work tirelessly to achieve his goals," said Carol McDonell, Area Director of the SBDC in her nomination letter. "He is a self-made entrepreneur who already has a proven, successful business track record at the young age of 25!"
Raw Talent Inc. has grown to 35 full-time employees at its plant in Bethlehem, Ga., and is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the apparel design and printing industry. The company operates one of the largest screen printing operations in Georgia and recently added 7,400 square feet of factory space to meet increased production requirements. Some of its larger customers for specialty t-shirts and other apparel include Anheuser-Busch, Yamaha, Planet Hollywood and Warner Brothers Records. Many of the company's clients are in the music industry.
In 2006 the company obtained a $145,000 SBA 7(a) Loan from Community Bank & Trust in Gainesville. The loan, guaranteed by the SBA, was used to purchase an eight-color, automatic printing machine along with other packaging equipment for special order t-shirts and other apparel. With the new equipment from its SBA loan, the company is producing 95 percent of all pieces in-house, with revenues reaching more than $2.8 million in 2007.
With its recent success, Raw Talent Inc. is set to receive a "Pacesetter" Award in April from the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the fastest growing companies in metro Atlanta.
A native of nearby Athens, Ga., Murray spent a short period of his early life living in New York City, but his primary upbringing was in Winder, Ga. Murray was an only child who remembers his childhood with fondness. However, a series of unfortunate events forced his family to lose everything and he was later orphaned as a teenager.
Entrepreneurship seems to run in his family. Murray is the son of the late Steve Murray who, at one time, was a successful executive in the apparel industry in Winder. Murray confirms that much of his character traits come from his father.
Murray got his start in the apparel industry while still a teenager. "Sales and marketing is my natural forte and I was very successful," Murray said. "After I finished high school at 17, I carried five different sales lines of apparel, from girls' pajamas to young men's wear