We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin McBath and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process behind starting 3Bridges Apparel was that I wanted to serve my community in a way that is not only beneficial but empowering. During the pandemic I noticed that local artists and businesses were hit especially hard because a lot of their opportunities to make money depends on social gatherings. As a local bassist I experienced that firsthand, but I recognize my privilege in that music is more my hobby than my livelihood.
So, I asked myself how can I provide a means for local artists and business owners to reach a broader audience, gain additional income and, in some cases, give hope, without imposing any additional burden? From that question 3Bridges was born.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Professionally I am a project manager for a local utility company. I like to tell people that I help keep their lights on :-).
I started my career as a mechanical/nuclear engineer. I have had the privilege of participating in several large construction projects over the last 13 years which have afforded me the opportunities I have today. Those projects required intense focus and sometimes extreme dedication and hard work with all the long hours, long commutes and challenging work conditions.
I think those experiences along with the compassion I learned from my dad are what truly drive me to have no fear and take risks to meet the needs of others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When my friends come to visit me here in Chattanooga, TN, as a foodie, have to take them to all my favorite eateries. We’d do brunch at State of Confusion, then possibly do a tour of the Chatt. Whisky distillery. If we haven’t passed out yet we would chill out down by the riverfront then hit Agave & Rye. From there we’d head back in and get changed up to get dinner at Proof Bar with Chef Kenyatta. Then head over to Unknown Caller for some good vibes and cocktails. Also, I would be remised If I didn’t mention the bomb Catfish & Grits at our new spot, Six 18 Restaurant. That’s just day 1 :-).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my Dad. My dad instilled in me an intense entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age when he used to have me clean the floors and move dirty clothes around at the Dry Cleaners he owned and operated in east Knoxville, TN. His shop was a pillar in the community and a common place for people to gather and fellowship. He always welcomed people with open arms and would give you the shirt off his back if he saw you needed it.
In hindsight, seeing him running his own business and his interactions with his community gave me the confidence that you can do anything you want with hard work and dedication but also have compassion for my community and those in need.
Unfortunately, my dad passed away when I was 11. Losing him was devasting to me but I’ve always tried to dedicate all that I do to his legacy of hard work and service to his community. Thanks dad for all that you did and still do for me.
Models: Benita Rudd, Tejha Ross-Mitchell, Chanise Powell, Brie Stevens, Brittany Heights, Jeigh Billingy. Artwork: Jody Harris, Andrew Travis, Latesia Poole. Photography: Myron Douglas, Rasohn Perry. Styling: Clarissa Noble