IOWA CITY — All Hawkeye, all the time.
This is the motto for former University of Iowa wrestler Mark Ironside’s clothing company, Ironside Apparel. The company is dedicated to selling mostly Iowa Hawkeye apparel hence the website name iowa247365. The company also supplies online clothing and apparel shops for local high schools.
Ironside did not always run his own company.
“In 2001 I started as a sales (representative) for a business very similar to mine,” he said. “And after about five-and-a-half years with them we parted ways. It’s ... something that I ... wanted to do on my own.”
In 2007, he made a daring jump to start his own business out of the basement of his house.
“(After a year-and-a-half) my wife kicked me out and said, ‘You need to go elsewhere,’” he said. “I ended up getting a warehouse and hired a full-time assistant and we worked together for another three years in that warehouse.”
Now, Ironside’s business has grown significantly. He has a retail store, full-time employees, a warehouse and offices.
Ironside may still be better known as an outstanding wrestler for the Hawkeyes, a four-time Big Ten champion, a three-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and two-time NCAA titlist who was inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.
Wrestling had been a big influence for why he started his own clothing company.
“(Having my own clothing company) kind of goes along with wrestling,” he said. “ ... it was more of an individual sport rather than a team sport. Where I could control my own destiny. I could still be a state champ as a wrestler even if our team doesn’t win it ... So, being with that other business for about five-and-a-half years I ... wanted to be in control of my own thing.”
Through his journey as a wrestler and a businessman, Ironside found faith.
With his wife, Ironside reimbursed himself into his faith in college. Now, a father of three girls — Grace, 15; Hannah, 14; and Maggie. 12 — he makes it a point to attend church every Sunday and bring faith into everything they do.
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“Faith, more than anything, teaches me that you have to have an open mind,” he said. “Nobody is right all the time except Jesus and that’s it. There is going to be a lot of negativity that surrounds you (but you have) to try to see someone else’s point of view of something.”
Faith also has influenced one of his favorite pastimes — hunting. He goes as far as Pagosa Springs, Colo., to hunt for a weekend.
“I believe that God created different animals and different life throughout the world for us to survive on,” he said. “I thank God for providing this opportunity for me.”
Ironside is a busy man, not only with the aforementioned passions. He still works out regularly, helps at wrestling camps, races cars at Hawkeye Downs, does radio works and often volunteers his time for charity events.
“I was always willing to do things for others,” he said when asked how he wanted to be remembered. “ ... a good father, husband; being a good employer.”