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Your First Design Might Not Be A Hit, But The Next One Could Be: Story of Manna Clothing

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Looking to start your own clothing brand or an apparel company? You’ve come to the right place!

“Someone, somewhere, will like your stuff, too. You just need to find that certain bunch of people.”

No one will ever know which design might just go viral! Read on to know more about Jake, the founder of Manna Clothing!

How or what should we call you (the founder’s name), 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 name’s Jake Devereux of Manna Clothing.

Manna means “from heaven” … even though when i started printing t-shirts I had no idea of this! It’s also some Jewish food… But let’s just go with the former! The brand name came from basically years ago i was scribbling “Mana” as graffiti on paper. Then when i started designing for t-shirts, realised that “Manna” with an extra N worked better in designs – so I stuck with it!

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?

It all started off when i was in university, I was doing a project and started printing onto different materials, then onto t-shirts. From this, I found Screen printing and made my own home made screen print kit at home on our kitchen table. This was around 2012 and i had no idea what i was doing. I printed a few t-shirts, about 4 and people wanted to buy one. So i sold them for £8 and bought some more with that money. From there i just kept putting it all back in and printing new things!

Soon enough it gathered a huge following on Tumblr and Facebook, and I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I was printing around 100 t-shirts a day, on my own and shipping them out. It was madness back then.

How would you describe your brand? What category would it be in?

To be honest, personally, I think the whole Streetwear / Skate / High street fashion thing has spiraled massively since i started the brand. A lot of whats on sale now is just garbage being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. I aim to keep Manna in the Skate scene rather than high street fashion. I’m just completely not into any of that.

What was your very first design? What was the inspiration behind it? In fact, what is your inspiration for the whole brand?

My very first t-shirt was an A4 sized landscape black box with the sketchy Manna hand written logo in it. There was a picture going around Tumblr still until our account got deleted for no reason…(cheers Tumblr..) It was a bit like this:

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 sold my first 4 t-shirts to my friends whilst we where on a camping holiday in wales. I didnt start the website up until about a month after that! …i think. At first i didn’t really think much about it, just people wanting some random tshirt i had printed haha.

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?

One thing that people loved was my tie dyes. I sold TONS of tie dyes every single day:

This one went around tumblr like mad, had nearly 100k reblogs etc, and then i sold it to the Lead Singer of The 1975, how mads that! I didnt even know who they where back then neither. This one:

But to be honest, im not all that keen on tie dye, that was a massive faze back in the day.

We’ve had tons more successful collections that blew up since then!

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?

In 2012 then i started it i only had a facebook page and tumblr blog. But back then facebook wasn’t a rip off and charged pages to do adverts etc like it does now. There was no such thing as the Facebook Algorithms that ruin it today.

TBH i’ve never tried to prove it as something different. Ive always just done things that i like. I hardly follow any of these daft trends that go around then die a couple of months later. Rather than sell out i would rather just keep low key and do what i want to do. And for some reason people like it!

Are you full-time on your brand? When did you know that you got something going on? What I mean is that from that point on, you’re going to start focusing more of your time to the brand? Or was it right from the very beginning?

I used to do it full time, for about 3 years, but then ended up (randomly) doing Graphic Design for an Motocross company. So that takes up 90% of my time now. But i still class Manna as #1.

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?

In university, doing an illustration course and working at Tesco. 😐

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?

Yeah it happens all the time. Even when a t-shirt comes and the prints wrong, it annoys you. But i just keep going and see past it. I’m not much of a “think about it – stress out – give up”  kind of person.

I can’t imagine trying to start something in the fashion world today, it would be literally impossible unless you had a massive following on Instagram and was famous in some way. Thats it. Or if you had a TON of money to chuck into it risk free like some brands these days.

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?

Purely that its still going to this day i would say! haha. A lot of brands from 2012 – 2015 vanished off the face of the earth that i could mention. For whatever reason i don’t have a clue, but i see it as a goal for keeping going this long!

A lot of shops contact me to get it into their stores, some big, some little and that’s pretty mad.

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?

Mainly just keep doing what im doing with it. For new stuff its just coming randomly through out the year, maybe in chunks or some single. We’ll have to see! I don’t really plan very far ahead of next week. (y)

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?

All I can say is if you like doing it, then carry on. Someone, some where, will like your stuff, too. you just need to find that certain bunch of people.

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?

“Get out of bed”

…..

Follow them on:

Instagram: @manna_clothing

Facebook: /mannaclothing

Twitter: @manna_clothing

Tumblr: manna-clothing

Vimeo: /mannaclothing

Website: Manna Clothing


Did the interview motivate you in any way? Which part of the interview was your favorite? Share your thoughts on the comment section below!

Do you think we missed out some questions that we could’ve asked? Let us know by sending an email at: jeffrey@themotivationarchives.com.

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