Looking to start your own clothing brand or an apparel company? You’ve come to the right place!
“It doesn’t matter what you know, what you don’t know or if you’re broke. Keep trying and don’t give up.”
It’s not always the first year that’s the hardest for a company. It could be the years ahead; are you ready for that? Read on to know more about the story of Veritas Apparel!
How or what should we call you, and what is the name of your brand? What is the meaning behind the name of the brand? And how did you know that you were sure about the name?
The founders are Ross Heffner and Eric Fontenelle. The brand is Veritas Apparel and Veritas means Truth in Latin. We wanted something relatable and meaningful something deep that had a good message for the world. The truth is ugly and a lot of people don’t like to hear the truth. With so many lies in media and government around the world there are so many things about our existence and about the world we live in that are lies to keep us from our full potential.
The message is to do your own research in life, break free from the norms of society and seek the truth about life. Don’t just accept the lies they feed us. Everyone has the right to chase their dreams. I knew i was sure about the name the first time i saw it just clicked i knew it was perfect.
When did you launch? When was the moment that you knew that you’re going to start your own brand? What was that “thing” that triggered you to start it? Did you see something online or did you see a gap in the market and thought to yourself that you are the one to fill that gap?
Launched the brand name idea and website late 2012. I was in college working a 9-5 and decided i wanted to start a clothing brand i quit my job and found an investor. I was introduced to streetwear and immediately thought it was the perfect art form for me. I had been doing different mediums of art since i was a young child.
How would you describe your brand? What category would it be in?
Our brand is different than anything out there. It has the quality and look of a high end brand with very reasonable pricing. We wanted to give the regular not just super rich people a chance to purchase a product of that same caliber and we are constantly changing and evolving. The brand looks completely different as far as the designs from season to season. We wanted to make clothing that people would say “Oh, that’s a cool shirt what brand is that or who makes that?” instead of “ That’s a cool Veritas shirt” because its just a regular shirt with a big logo on it.
What was your very first design? What was the inspiration behind it? In fact, what is your inspiration for the whole brand?
I can’t remember the first design I ever made but it was one of a collection of graphic tees with references to smoking marijuana or just getting high. The inspiration was just making a cool design from scratch first things to come to mind when you’re really high. Inspiration at that particular time was just seeing what some of these other big brands were doing in the streetwear industry. Just wanted to make some art and wear it.
Do you remember your first sale? When was the first time that you sold one of your products? Was it your very first design? How many days, weeks or months after officially opening your online store to the public? Was it sold to a friend or a person you didn’t know? How did you feel about this first sale?
I’m sure the very first sale went to a friend or a friend of a friend in person at my friends apartment. Our first actual sale to a store was a headshop and they bought everything we had at the time which wasn’t very much. It was a great feeling knowing that everything we made sold out. The first year of beginning the brand was mostly just getting the basic things done like making tags and our first products as well as building a functionable website.
Was there a collection or design that you didn’t think would pop as much as it did? Why did you think that it wouldn’t create that much impact? And after the response from your customers, did you get to a conclusion as to why it did sell more than what you thought?
This is something that still occurs today. What we think will sell the best usually doesn’t and what we think is our weakest designs sell the most. There never really is a specific reason to why one design sells the most other than it just being different and not having any other product out there like it.
How did you get the brand out there? There are a lot of brands that come out almost every single day. What did you do to get recognized and show that your brand is different? Did you use social medias to get in touch with your customers? Was there a specific medium (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) that you believe that got you to connect with them more? And, why is that?
Yeah, Instagram definitely helps a lot and just making things that no one has ever made before separating yourself is a must. We have made a lot of designs that have been copied by bigger brands like the “Hidden Secrets” hat with a lock and key.
Before releasing your very first collection or design, or before launching your brand, what were you doing? What was your occupation? Were you in a similar industry?
I was in college working a 9-5 at a physical therapist office.
For any business, they say that the first year is the hardest. Did you go through anything that got you demotivated? Was there ever a time that you thought that it wouldn’t work? Did anything happen that got you to this state? Then, how did you overcome this?
Yes and no. The first year was hard but at the same time we didn’t have anything to lose so we were fearless and didn’t have much stress it was all new and learning. I think the 2nd and 3rd year was harder because at this point you start wanting to see some returns and you now know some of the things you need to do to get your brand on top but figuring out a way to get these things accomplished could be frustrating. These 2nd and 3rd year is where we had to learn some tough lessons and lose money in the process. Where there is a will, there is a way, if you want it bad enough. Just don’t give up and you can pull through.
What is the biggest achievement that you or the brand had so far? Was there a specific event that was so significant that it felt very fulfilling for you and the brand?
Yes, our first major trade-show in Las Vegas called “Magic”; we picked up almost 30 accounts in multiple countries that is when we first achieved some level of success.
So, what’s next for the brand? Do you have some ideas already for the next collection or design? When will it be out? Or is there anything else that we should be on the lookout for? Something that might surprise us?
Well there is always the next collection and it is never ending. I have already designed spring and summer 17 and now we are working on designing Fall and Holiday 17. Nothing planned to look out for but there always seems to be some athlete or celebrity that pops up wearing the brand so that’s something to look out for.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring brand owners? Do you have anything to say that could help them whenever they’re about to get to the point of giving up?
Yeah, the one thing to know is that where there’s a will there’s a way. It doesn’t matter what you know, what you don’t know or if you’re broke. Keep trying and don’t give up. Keep learning, and the biggest part is not giving up.
Finally, do you have one motivational quote that you always remember and say to yourself whenever you’re not feeling 100%? What would that be?
Keep Pushing. Your biggest enemy is yourself, just always remember that.
How much (or an estimation) was the investment in the beginning to start your brand?
Started it with 15k, but over time put more and more in. There was a time where the brand was about to crumble i needed 30k in a months time and somehow out of nowhere God sent me an investor and he came up with the 30K.
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Website: Veritas Apparel
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