Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - 18

[ PERSPECTIVE ]

DARING

TO

SUCCEED

Matthew Dickerson took a chance on shade sails and succeeded-
by welcoming failure and hard work while chasing goals.

A
Matthew Dickerson
PRESIDENT AND CEO

Tenshon

Mesa, Ariz.
www.tenshon.com

IFAI member since 2018
Most valued benefit
Networking
Written by
Holly Eamon
Photography by
Erica + Jon Photography, LLC

6-by-4-inch yellow paint chip sits in a shadow box on the office
wall of Matthew Dickerson, president and CEO of Tenshon, a shade
sail manufacturer in Mesa, Ariz. More than a conversation starter, it
symbolizes one of the most profound moments-and failures-of Dickerson's career.
Low on funds and barely two years into getting the company off the ground,
Dickerson took on a project that required him to deliver a truckload of steel
components from Phoenix to Las Vegas. A quarter of a mile from his destination
(and a desperately needed paycheck), Dickerson was cut off in traffic. He veered
into a light pole, shearing the truck's tie-down straps and dumping 18,000 pounds
of steel into rush-hour traffic across a busy intersection. The client helped
transport the products the rest of the way and followed through on payment,
but Dickerson will never forget feeling like that was the end.
Later on, his business partner at the time presented him with a paint chip from
the pole he hit. " I look at it every time something goes wrong and remember I got
through that challenge and will get through the next one, " Dickerson says. " I've
learned to accept that you are going to fail-sometimes marvelously-but you
have to keep pushing forward. "

Open to opportunity
The possibility of failure has long been embraced by Dickerson. In line with
family tradition, he attended law school and even worked for a federal judge after
graduating, but business was always his passion. He owned an internet company
as an undergrad, followed by an import/export business after law school, but it
was eventually halted by the Great Recession. The search for his next endeavor
led to lunch with a friend, who introduced him to an opportunity in the shade
sail industry. With nothing to lose, Dickerson was all in.
" After spending a couple of months helping my friend in his then-current
business, I bought a sewing machine on Craigslist and spent several months in a
garage learning everything I could about the industry, " Dickerson recalls. Despite
concern from family members, he co-founded Tenshon in 2008. " It's so cliché to say,
but I believe deeply in what can be achieved through hard work, " he says. " You can
do amazing things if you put your mind to something and you're not afraid to fail. "
Four years ago, Dickerson bought out his partner and became the sole
owner. Using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), Tenshon creates standard and
customized shade sails for residential and commercial clients across the globe.
Efficiency has been key to the company's success and top of mind for Dickerson

18 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / January 2021

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12/18/20 12:15 PM


http://www.tenshon.com

Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021

Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - Cover 1
Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - Cover2
Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - 1
Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - 2
Specialty Fabrics Review January 2021 - 3
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