So this awesome idea about the ultimate boxer brief for men had been rolling around in my head for several years, but quite unfortunately un-acted upon. It was around lat 2018 while listening to some business podcasts, most notably Ryan Danial Moran over at Capitalism.com, that I said to myself "What am I waiting for?"
So I decided to get started on my idea. The first step I took was reaching out to a clothing designer. I happened to have a friend, Philip Sawyer who was a custom designer and pattern maker in the Boston area. So I reached out to him, pitched my idea, and we got started.
This was totally new territory for me. I remember arriving at his swanky artist's loft studio in Boston that had been carved out of the cadaver of an old industrial mill to emerge as a mecca for artists and designers. I could feel the energy of creativity wafting through the air.
When it comes to your entrepreneurial journey, the key thing is getting started. Most people never get started because they cannot see all the steps in the journey. This is just a futile attempt to keep it safe. There is no such thing as "safe" in any journey worth trekking. If you were to walk the Appalachian trail, you can only handle every bend and bank when you come to it. Its precisely all of life works. Recently I watched a video interview of Elon Musk where the interviewer asking him about his business plan. Elon, currently the wealthiest man in the world, retorted, "I never have a plan..." to which the crowd erupted in laughter. Action is 100X superior to a plan.
Find a Guide
Many think you need to be an expert in a field to start a company. This is a myth. What you will need is guides and supporting expertise. There is a Proverb in the Bible that says "there is wisdom in a multitude of council." The key to your journey is finding the right people and the right information to get you going, and get you to the next phase.
I found a friend, partner, and guide in Philip Sawyer. One of the first steps in creating your product is the prototyping phase. Now if you are not going to go with a "white label" product (and I suggest you do not) I then warn you that you need to be patient. You will need to go through several iterations before you get it right and effective. Don't drag your feet, but do be patient.
Oh you might be asking, "Todd what is 'white label'?" That is when a manufacturer has a ready made product that is ready for your name and logo to be stamped on it. There are advantages to this, but if you are going to build a brand, you need a USP — a "unique selling point." That is hard to establish if you are just repackaging what everyone else is selling.
Now there is nothing wrong with starting with a manufacturer who white labels for your product, but you want to "tweak it" a bit so your product stands out. Here is a great article on Capitalism.com on Travis Killian who simply tweaked something as mundane as the umbrella.
Phil worked with me for a couple months until we had arrived at a working model. This was a fun process. I will tell you more of what we did next in some coming posts.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know—And that is OK!
It is really important for you to find expertise and guides about what you do not know. This saves you time and money. It is also critical because people in an industry can show you how to navigate it much better.
Phil was able to also point me to other key resources. For instance, when we arrived at a prototype and pattern, you need that pattern digitized in formats that can be sent to manufacturers. Phil helped me navigate this and many other lakes and streams in the process.
Most important, it is OK if you don't know what you are doing. Nobody does when they start. That is OK, and don't tolerate anyone who wants to belittle you for that. that is proof positive that you do not want them on your team!
If you are interested in garment design, I really encourage you to reach out to Phil. You can visit his site here. His designs run from, Men's and Women's apparel, to bridal, and even urban bike wear. And you cannot forget the ultimate men's boxer brief! (wink, wink!).
You can check out his collections here.
If you are thinking about designing a garment or a line on clothing, I cannot more highly recommend Philip Sawyer. I encourage you to reach out to him. Take the step to reach out to someone. If they are not the right person for the job, they will know someone who is, and off you go on your entrepreneurial journey.
Please Share and Happy Journey!