Wow time flies! A year ago we launched Love & Vandalizm and we were very excited to see what kind of journey it would take us on. Today I want to share some the learning experiences we encountered while building the brand, and also get some things off of my chest about the clothing brand business.
1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Yeah, nothing happens overnight. We already knew this fact and were fully prepared to be in it for the long run, but in the back of our minds we had dreams of making a big splash on the scene and blowing up. However, history tells us that never happens. The “overnight success” story is a myth. Yes, it seems like some products or people come up on the scene out of nowhere, but that is only because the hard work, patience, and time put in is down played in the fanfare of being the next big thing. Truly all things happen in their own time and that time will come. Until then keep moving forward one step at a time.
2. Love Your Work.
The saying goes if you love what you do you never work a day in your life, and we’ve found this to be the truest statement. Even if you are totally committed financially and mentally if you are not in love with what you do you will not succeed. You have to put your heart and passion into your work to truly build something successfully. If you don't love what you are doing, then why are you doing it?
3. Tell Your Story
It is human nature to be inspired by stories of people who follow their dreams. One of the reasons we started Love & Vandalizm is that the people and the stories of graffiti and street art inspired us. We too have a story to tell, one of art, love, and dreams, and we believe it can also inspire others. Even at times when it seems no one is listening we continue to spread the message, and try to connect with other people all over the world.
4. Word of Mouth
Speaking of connecting with others, Lets talk about this term “ word of mouth”. People always talk about trying to get things started through “word of mouth “ or “going viral” through social networking. However, no one talks about how difficult it actually is to do it. Your group of friends and family may do their part getting it to their friends, but that next group is little more unreliable and cracking the next level of social networking is harder than it looks. There is a fine line to navigate between marketing and being annoying.
5. You get what you Pay for.
We have encountered some deals that seemed too good to be true, turned out they were and we got burned for it. As a business you have to balance out expenses and profits to be successful. But to build something bigger and create something meaningful sometimes you just cant cut corners. As we once were told, “It takes money to make money, and scared money don’t make none."
6. Everyone wants something for free
Lets face it we all like free stuff. On occasion to promote the Love & Vandalizm brand, we have offered out free stickers, postcards, posters and some t-shirts. We are cool with that because it’s all part of the game, right? However, we cannot count how many times we have been asked for free stuff from people who have no interest in promoting or representing Love & Vandalizm. Oh, they say they are ”Big Fans” and will promote the brand, but their only mission is to get free stuff. For our true fans that follow us on twitter and instagram and liked on us on Facebook, we will be offering promos and giveaways to show our appreciation. People that hit us up looking for freebies however can kick rocks.
7. Do not be labeled
This is a lesson we picked up from one of our inspirations Marc Ecko. He said to never let others, no matter how important they seem, label your personal brand and put you in a category. We have always had a bigger picture for Love & Vandalizm and what, the brand can achieve. But we always come across those that want to label us as an
”independent” or a “novelty t-shirt “ or “graffiti” brand, without knowing what the brand is really about. So we refused these labels and you should too. Don’t let anyone ever label you- black, white, gay, straight, jock, nerd, thug, hipster , liberal, conservative- those labels just hold you back. Just be yourself let your light shine. The only label that matters is your own. Now this might come strange coming from a brand that wants people to wear there clothing. But that is why Love & Vandalizm uses minimal branding. We want to represent the creative people who inspire us, and not just have them represent us.
8. Stay Original
A lot of people try so hard to be original, but only end up copying what others do. That is because they are not being true themselves. Truth is, you don’t have to try to be original, you were born that way. Every human being on this planet is original, a one of one, but we tend to forget that. We have followed and studied the fashion industry to see what is trending and hot and it became apparent very quickly that even though other brands claim originality, they all follow the same formulas and in the end none of them really stand out. Love & Vandalizm will always strive to stay true to its roots. Artwork will always come first. The trends will come and go, but true creativity will always shine through and remain timeless.
I hope what we learned gives you a deeper understanding on the Love & Vandalizm brand and its future. And ask that you continue to support our growth in the years to come. Carry out the message "Spread Love with Art" and watch for new and exciting things to come from Love & Vandalizm. This only the beginning…