Explaining Our creative process: Q&A

A little back-story for all of those who don’t know who I am before I get to answering all of the questions that you asked. I had a blast answering these & I hope you can take away some ideas!

I started this clothing line, WeArePR Clothing, back a few years ago with not knowing much about clothing lines or business. I enjoyed screen-printing & my girlfriend at the time; wife now, was amazing at photography. So I was really looking for a cool way for us to blend our hobbies together.

From there this little monster of a brand was born as we stumbled along the way to figure everything out. We started from ground zero & now run a profitable clothing line that is picking up traction more & more every day in the powerlifting industry.

Recently I posted on all of our social channels asking what questions our fans & supporters had about starting their own line, tactical advice, or more personal questions. Truly happy with how this came out & I truly believe this is worth the read if you own or are thinking about starting a clothing line.


WHAT’S YOUR DAY TO DAY SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
It’s different now than it used to be, say six months ago. I mean I’m spending the majority of my time working a 9-5 job as a quality engineer while both Laura & I run this on the side. The brand however is doing quite a bit especially with always having new items every month. I’m also spending a lot more time on the things I neglected this past year like my faith & time with friends/ family. I’m also working on trying to expand the WeArePR family with what we will call an A-Team for now, as well as start accepting more custom orders for our shop, so I do keep pretty busy.
 

WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT MOVIE YOU SAW?
I recently just watched “John Q” & was a huge fan of this movie. We try to watch a movie & spend time together every Friday night. I just think Denzel is a very talented actor & did an amazing job playing a very emotional role.

IF YOU WERE NOT DOING A CLOTHING LINE WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Honestly… I have no idea. I’m not quite sure why. I think I would need some sort of creative outlet as well as some area to push myself. If I had to pick something, I think I would definitely put much more focus on my powerlifting side as well as something along the lines of freelance design for a super niche market.

HOW DO YOU BALANCE FAMILY, WORK, & OWNING A BUSINESS?
I don’t. I am definitely giving this more focus now than what I did last year when I was doing the business full time. The way I try to balance the three is at a very high level. When I am in business mode, I am 100% on & I don’t beat myself up like I used to. However on the opposite side of that, when it’s family time or movie night, that’s where 100% of my energy goes. Day to day I would say that I am not very balanced between the three however on the macro level, I feel much better about where I am now.

IF YOU COULD OUTSOURCE ONE PART OF YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE & WHY?
I mean I’m someone who has traditionally had a problem was letting go of projects. As I go on & get more into this I realize I need to start letting other people on the team take charge of some items. I think if I had to pinpoint something that I would outsource it would have to be something that would move the brand forward. Something along the lines of accounting or a project manager. There’s still a lot about the actual “business” side that I feel like I don’t know enough about. I think actually having someone dedicated to moving the brand forward through business developing or handling all of the paperwork quickly/ efficiently would benefit us the most right now.

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF THE YOUTUBE AT THE MOMENT?
YouTube is super interesting. I used to put quite a bit into YouTube from a storytelling standpoint & I still think there is a lot of land to grab here. The reason I do not push as hard with the daily videos right now is because I don’t have a good strategy. I don’t think we are done on this platform; it’s just not where I think we can afford to deploy energy right now. I think it’s very obvious that Instagram is where the most traction, branding & sales come from right now so that’s getting 80% of my attention.

WHAT DOES YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LOOK LIKE, HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHAT STAYS/ GOES?
Our process is very shoot from the hip. I mean we pump out new designs every month & it’s hard to say objectively what ones are the best. What we did to keep up with this crazy volume is make a design vault. Any idea, from rough sketches to actual shirt mockups, gets tossed in this vault. Each month we take a step back, evaluate our emotions, & pick a handful of designs that really express where we are and then our team helps us narrow this down to two designs.

A LOT OF YOUTUBERS HAVE DIFFICULTY FINDING OTHER WAYS TO MONETIZE OFF THEIR AUDIENCE— WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO THOSE PEOPLE THAT ARE STRUGGLING?
I mean let’s be honest here, most people on YouTube who think they are going to be a millionaire just aren’t going to. It’s extremely hard. So what can you do if you are looking to monetize off YouTube? If you already have a huge audience you can collect ad money but your real revenue stream will come from offering products or services outside YouTube. Sell shirts, sell cups, sell a mentor service. Ultimately you’re going to have to sell something. The challenge is most talented people on YouTube are artistic & not business oriented, that’s perfectly okay, but you might have to realize it’s a win-win if you partner up with someone who is really good at business.

HOW DO I BUILD THAT LARGE AUDIENCE ON YOUTUBE TO MONITIZE?
Put out consistent content that is engaging & brings value to people. I mean I feel like we all know this answer, we all know the difference between a good video & a bad one, it’s just going to take time.

WHERE DO YOU SEE MORE SALE CONVERSIONS, FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM?
I’m going to dig into this question a little deeper. The quick & dirty answer is Instagram. First thing is our product & demographic lends itself to more Instagram related than Facebook. I don’t ignore Facebook, but the numbers are way skewed in the Gram direction. So let’s dig into what works on the Gram. We run both paid ads as well as just organic posts on our page. Of those two, we have more conversions off of the organic posting we do. But if you go look at our Instagram page you won’t see tagged products or hard sales. I think it’s really important to tell our story & show the day to day struggles we face more than hard sells, it’s just how people connect to the brand & that in turn leads to more conversions than any super hard right hook.

WHAT ARE TWO-THREE POINTS OR SUGGESTIONS YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO START A PHYSICAL PRODUCT BUSINESS?
That’s a great question. So I think the first one is get ready to be punched in the mouth. I thought I was ready for this, but I found out very quickly that it’s super hard. I think your mental state needs to be on point before you try to change the world. One of the things I really try to challenge people with is “How are you going to help someone else if you can’t help yourself?” Of course you are going to have down days but your mindset is critical. It’s an aspect that I didn’t even have on my radar. I, like many others I see, was only focused on the tactical “How do I get more sales” aspect. So there’s your high level tip, how about something more practical? In the beginning I didn’t do much interacting with people because I didn’t have a product yet. Start this ASAP, start commenting, reaching out, actually caring about the people who might be willing to support your dream.

WHAT BOOKS HAVE SHAPED YOUR BUSINESS?
So I don’t read a whole lot about business. The biggest thing that has shaped my business has been this crazy thing called Google. It’s amazing the stuff you can find on there! Type in the exact problem you are having, read some articles, watch a video, & you’ve got an answer. Another thing I’ve started recently is listening to more Podcasts but these have been more of a mental advancement in general business than anything. However, Gary Vee has written all the business books that I have read.

HOW DO YOU STAY DISCIPLINED DURING SLOW TIMES?
I try not to have slow times, like at all. Yes there are times where sales are lower but I switch gears & focus on a different aspect of the business. For example, Q1 has always been slower for us sales wise so during those first few months I work on business developing with other brands. Or I focus on growing the line & just expanding our reach to the powerlifting community by giving back more & more just building the brand.

FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME?
I don’t, I can’t personally but this really comes down to what makes you work. I have to have some level of chaos in my life, stress is a huge factor that helps me push harder & prioritize what needs to be done.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BRAND IN TWO YEARS?
No idea. I used to be very focused on setting these kinds of goals but what I realized is they don’t actually help me. I tend to overthink these really not important goals & feel down on myself if I haven’t made progress within a day. But that’s just me. I know what works for me but it might not work for someone else. So here are some broad points that are getting attention over the next couple years: I want to focus on a mobile POS system that allows us to take credit cards & actually set up booths at powerlifting events as we build out our “A-Team” project. Another thing I want to do is keep expanding our print shop to bring more & more unique prints as well as custom orders for local businesses as well as other powerlifting clothing lines.

WHAT IS THIS SPECIAL A-TEAM PROJECT I’VE HEARD ABOUT?
Kudos for paying attention to the Instagram stories! Since you paid so much attention I placed your question at the very end ;). I’ll give some high level bullet points since even I don’t have all of the details nailed down. So we have our top-level athletes, right? These people have direct responsibilities & expectations for the brand. However one thing that makes us special is how much we involve the community, this idea is just another way to expand that. I want to give back to the people who really believe in our brand through a tier system, similar to other ambassador programs, but much much more valuable for the ones we decide to bring on.

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