Archive for Apparel/Accessories

BANGS

bangsDid you know there’s a hip shoe on the market that is all about supporting entrepreneurs!?

After graduating from Clemson with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Mandarin, Hannah Davis flew to China to teach English to schoolchildren. During her time there, she was inspired by a fellow teacher whose zesty fashion sense often featured an overlooked fashion staple; she loved sporting simple canvas Chinese work shoes.

Hannah knew she’d like to introduce a similar sneaker to the US market. The name BANGS, which is the Mandarin word for help, embodies the mission of this unique social enterprise which aspires to empower and pour into the entrepreneurs- the world changers of tomorrow.

Today, BANGS turns out several colors and styles of shoes, each of which give 20% of profits in the form of loans to entrepreneurs. New entrepreneurs are being selected every month and to date, BANGS has funded 226 entrepreneurs in 49 countries.

Wear good. Support today’s dreamers, and tomorrow’s business-people. Shop BANGS. bangs-cover

Actress Turned Entrepreneur

lauren-conrad-1Lauren Conrad is a well-known actress and reality-TV show star however most people do not know that she has become a successful young entrepreneur, owning two clothing lines as well as a book franchise and two websites. She used her fame and publicity to help launch her first clothing line and demonstrate that she wasn’t just the next star to create a business on a whim, instead she was committed and passionate about where she wanted her business to go. In 2007, she launched her first clothing line, The Lauren Conrad Collection. Although it ended up being a dismal failure, she learned and grew through her mistakes and launched a second, successful clothing line in 2009, LC by Lauren Conrad, in conjunction with the retailer Kohls. Since then, she has launched another clothing company, Paper Crown, written eight books, and started two websites.

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In 2013, Lauren and her friend Hannah Skvarla were inspired to start a non-profit named the Little Market. It is a company that empowers women artisans and provides a market for their products to be sold in order to provide for their families. Today, The Little Market partners with 26 artisans in 16 countries to carry their products and they hope to grow that number even more.

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Lauren has found much success with her products and websites, however she is not stopping there. She said stated that she no interest in returning to television, instead she wants to continue on with her businesses and keep doing what she loves. Lauren Conrad is a millennial entrepreneur who gives a wonderful example of using fame and success to get where she wanted to be, entrepreneurial, and then taking her success from there and giving back to others with dreams just like hers.

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Her personal website: https://laurenconrad.com/

The Little Market website: https://www.thelittlemarket.com/

 

Kiel James Patrick

Kiel James Patrick did not grow up in a wealthy family, nor did he go to college. He decided to use his passion for design and American-made products to create his own bracelet brand with his wife. They began making preppy bracelets with a nautical theme, and now their business has expanded to hats and clothing. However, they only make a few clothing products to maintain the quality of their product.

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KJP has used social media to turn his life into a brand. They only advertise on social media, and they do a great job of getting their brand seen. Mr. Patrick’s wife, Sarah, also promotes their brand through her blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls. Their brand embodies a classic lifestyle, and their good quality products meet expectations set by their social media.

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These entrepreneurs also appreciate creativity, which is one reason why their brand is so successful. Their factory–located in New England–is decorated with vintage furniture, oriental rugs, and classic artwork. The factory also has a hammock where workers can nap throughout the day. These details all add to the integrity of their brand.

Inside voices? No, Outside Voices

Usually a great idea starts small. When you think of  the word “small” one of the things that comes to mind is childhood. Millennial Entrepreneur Tyler Haney reminds us all of our mother’s words to use “inside voices” in her clever, hip, and trendy line Outdoor Voices. Her clever company is based off the idea that fitness should be freed from the competitive world and thus make exercise a lifestyle. With that key idea in mind she has come up with a spunky and trendy line of great athleisure and athletic wear. All of her designs are simplistic and sleep thus giving the consumer the freedom to mix and match from any of her selections. What’s so incredible about Haney and her business though is how she brought Outdoor Voices into the highly competitive market of athletic wear. She started the idea at the Parsons School of Design, continued on to the Silicon Valley, and after pitching some 70 times landed a $7 million deal to start the business. However, it wasn’t the money that made Outdoor Voices successful, it was Haney’s ambition and smart marketing tactics that truly made her sight stand out. She implemented the idea of using celebrity fans and icons such as Lenah Dunham and Gwyneth Paltrow to help expand the knowledge and desire of her specific brand. Haney’s business is now a big and booming enterprise with a future as bright as the sun.

Something Fishy

When Madison Robinson was 8 years old, she was an avid drawer of aquatic characters. She brought a picture to her father of the outline of a flip-flop with her sea animals inside of it, announcing “Look Dad, Fish-Flops!” Seeing potential in his daughter’s idea, Madison’s father went out and bought the fishflops.com domain that very day.

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Now 17 in high school, Madison maintains the delicate balance of a normal high school girl, and working as a fashion designer most famously known for Fish Flops. In 2012, she wrote a letter to a top Nordstrom buyer suggesting they sell her Fish Flops in-store, and they accepted with 64 stores offering Fish Flops by July 2012. The next year her product was featured in a front page article on Yahoo, and the flood of buyers began – starting with every Fish Flop in Nordstrom selling out.

Madison has been featured on shows such as The Willis Report, Fox and Friends, and Inside Edition, as well as multiple publications including Forbes. With her huge success, Image result for FISH FLOPSMadison has become a philanthropist as well as an entreprenur. A portion of every sale goes to the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s campaign, SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction). She has also donated over 20,000 Fish Flops to several charities that help people around the world who have little access to footwear.

Madison has expanded her Fish Flops line to include shoes and slippers, as well as regular T-shirts advocating for the SAFE campaign. Despite already being a millionaire, instead of kicking back and relaxing Madison constantly seeks to improve herself and help others. She frequently speaks at Jr. Achievement events, and spreads the positive message of pursuing your dreams with a “never quit attitude.” Madison is making her mark on the fashion world, with a driven and determined attitude presented with a smile.

Life is Good

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The Life is Good Company was founded in 1994 by Bert and John Jacobs. They started by designing and selling t-shirts out of their van in the streets of Boston.

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Jake, the iconic stick figure, was created in the same year the company started. Jake was the beginning of Life is Good. The two brothers printed shirts of Jake and found that they were selling like a wildfire.

Their mission is to “spread the power of optimism”

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Their story: https://www.lifeisgood.com/our-story.html

Feeling just Fine

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In 2012, as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Daniel Fine started selling foldable sunglasses out of his dorm room. After gaining interested investors, “Glass-U” grew into a remarkable product that launched at the 2013 Rose Bowl and was the official sunglasses provider for the FIFA World Cup. The design of fully foldable sunglasses attracted huge interest, and Daniel Fine’s company rebranded as “NEU” with their expansion.

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NEU is only one of Daniel Fine’s success stories. Daniel Fine has started four companies – Team Brotherly Love, which funds research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes; Match Tutors, which matches tutors with students in Boston; Dosed, a new way to accurately track insulin; and Glass-U, now NEU.

Daniel Fine has been named one of the top 5 young entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs Organization, was on Forbes’ 2016 30 under 30 list, and was one of TIME Magazine’s Top 25 International Leaders of Tomorrow. He has received numerous awards from both the Bush administration and the Obama administration, and in 2014 was nominated as one of the top 30 student entrepreneurs in the world.

He has a heart for diabetes research because of his diabetic brother, and is very philanthropic in that area, including the creation of a research foundation. Daniel Fine graduated just last year, but shows no signs of stopping his innovation. Read more about him here.

Roma. Giving Poverty the Boot

At the age of 8, Samuel Bistrian, along with his 11 brothers and sisters and parents, packed their bags and said goodbye to a communistic and impoverished Romania for the land of opportunity…America. The Bistrians taught their children to be thankful in all things and to be ever-mindful of looking for a way to give back to others.

 Over a decade later, Samuel graduated from Dallas Baptist University. He traveled with various missions groups to reach out to impoverished people and eventually returned to Romania for the first time since his childhood. The country is no longer under communistic oppression, but the country is still  stricken with poverty.

What Samuel saw wrecked him. Orphans—streetchildren—everywhere tramping through snow, mud, and slush completely barefoot. This was the normal in Romania. This was the excepted, the accepted, and the heartbreaking-commonplace. He knew he had to do something. And he tucked that memory carefully away.

Back in America, Samuel’s drive for fashion and sales had led him to a prominent job at Neiman Marcus. It was here that Samuel met the infamous Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS. Samuel instantly loved the vision of tomes and was incredibly inspired by Mycoskie’s mentorship. He decided to blend his love for fashion and his compulsion to aid the impoverished by founding a rain-boot company with a similar one-for-one vision: Roma.

Roma spells out amor backwards. What’s more, Roma is also the slang name of one of the most impoverished Romanian gypsy people groups. Roma’s vision is to spread love and eradicate poverty. So, why rain boots? This shoe is the most practical answer to the mud, snow, and slush many kids tromp through on a daily basis. The shoes last longer than TOMS and provide more coverage.

Today Roma offers a wide range of rain boots and is growing in popularity, largely due to their latest genius marketing move to have the Duck Dynasty star, Sadie Robertson, represent their brand.

Pause for a moment. What do you observe?Samuel's respect and the inspiration he received from TOMS is evident by the fact he sports a pair of classic cordones. What a guy.

 Pause for a moment. What do you observe? Samuel’s respect and the inspiration he received from TOMS is evident by the fact he sports a pair of classic cordones. What a guy.

 

Photo from Roma.com

 

Solar Schoolbags

When Thato Kgatlhanye was 18 and fresh out of high school, she knew she wanted to do something for the underprivileged communities in South Africa where she grew up. She and her friend Rea Ngwane immediately founded the social enterprise ‘Rethaka’ without a single clue what they were going to do. 2 years later, they found the idea that would impact thousands of children across South Africa.

At age 21 in 2014, Thato Kgatlhanye founded the social enterprise Repurpose Schoolbags which takes plastic bags, upcycles them into durable schoolbags, and installs solar-powered lighting on the outside. The bag charges in the sun during the day, and turns into a portable light for the children to study with at night. It is also made with reflective material so the children are easily visible to traffic on their way to and from school.

The idea was inspired by Thato’s mother and the local impoverished communities of South Africa. Thato’s mother studied by candlelight when she was a child, and usually the candle would only last until Wednesday of the school week, meaning she couldn’t study on Thursday or Friday. Currently, many children in South Africa use plastic bags as schoolbags, and don’t have adequate lighting to study after school. Thato wanted to provide a sustainable solution, and so Repurpose Schoolbags was born.

Thato plans to light up 24 African nations, and has won over $40,000 in business competitions to sustain the enterprise. Her business’s impact is growing, and she was featured on the front of Forbes in February 2016. In the future she plans to expand the concept of solar lighting to raincoats for children, but for now her organization’s focus is on getting the solar schoolbags to as many children as possible. Her work has inspired many others, and I hope to see her company featured more as her influence expands across Africa.

Photo courtesy of repurposeschoolbags.com

Good Clothes for a Good Cause

Ivory Ella started when five college students and a high school business teacher came together and wanted to create “good clothes for a good cause.” Ryan Duranso, Jacob Castaldi, Richard Henne, Matthew Fiano, John Allen, and Esma Ilyas founded the company on April 18, 2015 and has grown rapidly ever since.

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The company is driven by the elephants getting poached in Africa. In the last decade Africa’s elephant population has declined by 64%. The founders of Ivory Ella saw a need to build awareness and help the cause. Ivory Ella is partnered with an organization called Save the Elephants. This organization is operating out of Kenya, where it researches elephants and calls attention to the problem of the declining elephant population. Save the Elephants has started to see a growth in the elephant population since they have been raising awareness.

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Ivory Ella has already been so successful in the short time they have been open. With 10% of their proceeds going to Save the Elephant, many people buy the shirts just for the social aspect. Not only is their company driven to save the elephants, but their designs are really cute as well! The have a variety of different designs targeted to girls from middle school to college age. Along with t-shirts, they also sell outerwear, hats, jewelry, and drinkware.

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The company prides themselves for connecting with their target market and really listening to the customers. This is very evident when you look at their customers and see how satisfied they are. These young entrepreneurs have created a great brand with great meaning.