Written By: Samantha CEE
This week we sat down with the innovate clothing ling taking the internet by storm . Vaughn Clothing is a company that bridges the gap between luxury and urban. We have designs that showcase the life story of its designer Vaughn and allows its consumers to all join his story and life through their interest in his clothing. We discover and mold young entrepreneurs while being able to release their inner creativity while maintaining our own. We want to take the throne and make an impact on the fashion and retail industry. We turn basic and simplicity and make it extravagant. Take a look at our exclusive interview with the rising brand .
Social Media Accounts: Instagram: @VaughnClothing Facebook: @VaughnClothing
" Your character and dedication to me comes when you have nothing to offer and everything to lose"
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How did the idea for your business come about?
Vaughn Clothing: I got tired of asking and wanting to be a part of something. To be honest I thought I could reach out and receive mentorship from celebrities and people in the industry. However, I never got a response and I guess you can say it fueled me and I got a bit angry. I decided that I would no longer ask for opportunities and I would create my own. I was lucky enough to have the best of both worlds knowing business while learning fashion since high-school. On a small scale I started sketching when I was 14 and I physically started designing once I got to college. I remember in high school I attempted to start a brand that failed because I had no idea what I was doing. It was called money hungry and I still have no idea why I chose that name. But essentially all my life I been losing things and been continuously doubted while not being taken seriously. Even by my own family at times however, after my niece and brother was killed something in me snapped. If no one else wanted to help me or guide me I was going to find a way without them so I used my business sense and combined it with my fashion knowledge to come up with Vaughn Clothing. Attending fashion shows, talking to fashion major students networking with designers and being in that environment I got a lot of information and soaked in whatever I could. No one had any idea of what I was doing I always just kept saying I am going to have my own brand and people would laugh. I understood that alone I can go far but with a team around me we could be unstoppable. So I decided to build and recruit people from fashion shows my brand was in or a networking events and specifically college students. I realized that people have the talent but no one is paying them any attention so I take all the diamonds in the rough and I give them a platform to show the world what they have to offer. I teach them the business acumen they need to be successful while allowing their creativity to flourish. My goal is to net profit a million plus within our company where these students and overlooked entrepreneurs will no longer be passed by.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the organization the way you do?
Vaughn Clothing: We really want entrepreneurs who are dedicated to their craft and the possibility of expanding their business. We work with people who are as hungry as us and ready to work because we have a long road ahead of us. I focus on their story and their work ethic through the simple things. I’m taking the guy who has to work 2-3 jobs and is looking to release his inner creativity. I’m taking the women or model who travels state to state and saves his or her money to do these fashion shows. Their dedication surpasses any professional model who wants to be paid and be signed to a major fashion agency. Your character and dedication to me comes when you have nothing to offer and everything to lose. Or when you don’t know the potential that you have in yourself and you hit that wall of doubt. We build our team up as if we are family meaning you can always talk to anyone on our team. We allow mistakes because we want to grow together. Even though I am the CEO as a young 22 year old entrepreneur from New York City we have management who is owned by a 26 year old entrepreneur from Philadelphia. With his experience he teaches me things sometimes that I don’t even realize. We have brands under us owned by people in high-school where these 17 and 18 year olds are looking up to us to guide them and mentor them. We look for ambition, your story and the passion for what you do. If you lack authenticity and you aren’t motivated for more than just average then it will be difficult for you to fit in with the Vaughn Clothing family.
Fashion Gxd Magazine : What three pieces of advice would you give to other children who want to become entrepreneurs?
Vaughn Clothing: I would say dedication to what you do is major. A lot of people get tired because they may be doing something for years and never have the opportunity to capture that one big break. My advice is to follow in my trend us as the youth and young people are no longer looking for that one big break. We are that one big break. No more being scared to do something because of what people may think or I may make a mistake and lose money. You have to be motivated to do something and not be afraid to fail. No more, I want to be just like him or them, I want you to be like who you are and love the person you are. While loving yourself and being dedicated to your craft allow room for growth professionally and personally. I remember watching a show called the Rap Game where street bud walked into an interview with Teyana Taylor and was so focused that he didn’t even know who she was. It reminded me of a radio interview I had where someone asked me so you want to be like Sean John and Fubu that’s your angle? I laughed and said we're not here to be like Sean Jean and Fubu, even though it would be great to have a conversation with them and hear their journey and get the gems that helped them along the way we are all on different paths. I want to be better than those brands I want to be better than Diddy and Damon John I want to expand further and be bigger. Growing up kids would be like man I want to have all that they have and they would treat celebrities and influences as royalty where I was like I want to be better than that. Three things for young entrepreneurs you can look up to whoever you please but never put anyone above you. You are the best and never devalue yourself any lower and that will help you maintain the confidence you need to be successful. Secondly work on perfecting your craft. Without knowing the in's and out of your passion it may as well be a temporary hobby. Lastly, make mistakes until you stop making mistakes because that’s the only way you can learn.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Vaughn Clothing: I would have started a lot sooner because it was so much time I spent doing other things that I could have spent on myself and building my own brand. Secondly, I wouldn't be scared to actually do things and take those chances. I use to not take certain chances or ask specific questions because I was afraid of what someone would say.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Vaughn Clothing: First Intensity and passion for your craft is necessary to develop the work ethic necessary to become a master in whatever you do. Secondly you need to be patient. A lot of people quit before the finish line because in their eyes it is taking too long. Everyone has their moment, whether its 20 years in or 6 months from now. Before my brother was killed and we were supposed to start the brand together he always told me be patient. It will happen for you just keep working and be patient. Third, human skills are necessary because you need to know how to network and communicate with all types of people. That phrase sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know remains a true statement.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Vaughn Clothing: When I started my old brand in high school called Money Hungry it failed immediately. I remember spending the entire day designing things online using templates. You can imagine I thought I was about to be rich because I had so many different designs. I put the apparel out there and I got orders back to back. Then I realized I had no idea where to get this stuff from or how to get it printed or how it would even look. I didn’t even have any tools, materials or a variety of colors I just made one of everything. That’s when I realized fashion and designing is deeper than just the creativity. I've also come across a multitude of people and sometimes people aren’t as motivated as you so I've learned to gauge a multitude of personalities and see through those who are serious and who aren't.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Vaughn Clothing: I can’t even gauge it. I never stop working. In my sleep I’m working and you can ask anyone close to me. I am a night owl and if I am sleeping it’s during the day where it would be a nap. I can sleep when I get to where I need to be and I know my grandchildren’s grandchildren are taken care of. Or when I am dead. I don't think I’m alive and on this planet to sleep and let someone else get one up on me. While I’m sleeping they are working. I'll get enough sleep for everybody when my time is up on earth.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: Describe/outline your typical day?
Vaughn Clothing: : Wake up get breakfast in when I can but if I can’t that means I am in a rush for a meeting or to a tech lab to go through emails. Once I am done going through emails and contacting my team it is then time to start designing and overlooking designs for the seasons. In addition, I start planning photo-shoots and make sure my calendar is updated. I have a social media and PR person who handles my social media and marketing team while I have the management company who works with us go over numbers and future events from a business perspective. Then I have to contact all 15+ models from NYC and Philly apart of my brand as a brand model to ensure they are okay and are updated with everything on the calendar. Then I ensure the custom design clients deadlines I have is adhered by and I can finish what I said I would. Lastly there is communication with my umbrella brands who are owned by two high-school students who we have put under our wing.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Vaughn Clothing: Answer: Being an entrepreneur is a full time job and whatever you are doing has inadvertently become your new family. Time becomes that much more important and anytime wasted feels like a punch to the gut because you could have been doing something for your business. A single loss of time whether it is with your family or business becomes extremely valuable. But if you don't know how to balance your family within you may need to work on your time management.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: What motivates you?
Vaughn Clothing: My family and to be honest a bit of my anger. I already touched on it a bit but in my email and phonebook I reached out to so many people for a helping hand. Some responded and others literally ignored me. My success is my revenge to you guys and ladies who didn’t reach out or ignored me and the people I work with. I went from three T-shirts to NYC Fashion Week in less than a year. For some reason people want to somehow magically reach out, lend a helping hand and praise people for their success once they get there but don’t want to say anything while people are putting in the work. What I despise is people having what you need to get to the next level and they will sit there and clap saying I see you working but I refuse to give you that advice or help. That’s like watching me struggle with carrying a television and saying I know it’s hard but I’m going sit here and watch you fall or have a hard time. I want to be the best in my field and I want to exceed in anything I do.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: How do you generate new ideas?
Vaughn Clothing: The brand and my designs come from my life story. Everything I design represents me or things that I have gone through because I found a way to tell my life story to anyone who wants to hear. I really used designing as a creative outlet when my brother and niece were killed and had no idea how good at it I really could be. It started as me just releasing some of the anger I had because of my life situations having to leave school because I used my school money for their funerals and I just lost literally two key components to my family. To someone noticing my talent and me deciding to start something bigger based off of the conversation I had with my brother. As I keep this brand alive I feel as if a part of my brother is with me.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Vaughn Clothing: Something you have to sacrifice immediately is money. You really have to spend money to make money. Time is one of the largest sacrifices every entrepreneur has to give up. I’ve lost friends along the way because we were on two different paths. The life of an entrepreneur forces you to level up and take things a bit more seriously because everything you worked for is on the line. You have to remove certain people from your surroundings and life in order to continuously keep progressing.
Fashion Gxd Magazine: Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
Vaughn Clothing: I see the business expanding state to state. We will be in at least 5-10 states with at least 2 stores in each state. I also see us obtain a net worth of a million plus and taking the younger generation and molding them into successful entrepreneurs. What I do now with my umbrella brands being in high-school I want to get students in each state and give them our resources. I want our youth to learn how to make and maintain their own businesses. No more having to work for someone else and sacrifice your money for someone else’s dream and business. Within 10 years we definitely be in at least 2 other countries with a store in each country while being in a variety of states in the U.S. If I can, I would want to target youth and young people in impoverished neighborhoods but we will be targeting all serious and passionate entrepreneurs’ young or old and offer them what they need to start their grind and become successful