26-year-old Aren Pe sounds like a pro when he talks about how he started his streetwear label, S/S Supply Goods. Is it just the air of a management graduate of the Ateneo (no shade here) or is it the confidence that comes from years of learning the industry ropes?
Aren’s growth in the brand business is pretty much comparable to that of a kid transitioning into adulthood. He first took baby steps with his thesis, a children’s wear label called Tucked. By the end of his collegiate days in 2010, Sole Service, an online shoe retailer whose products ranged from plimsolls to boat shoes, came to life. Then after taking further studies in China in 2013, he joined Ben Sherman as its brand manager and also joined the team of fellow start-up CEO with Pau Martinez. And by the end of the year, S/S Supply Goods finally took off.
Here he shares his own tried and tested tips that helped him get his many business ventures off the ground. Bring out those pens and start taking notes.
Ludvig short sleeve button-down (P2450)
Did you really want to run your own business?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial even as a kid. I guess I always saw myself running my own business.
How did you know that you were ready?
Planning and research is necessary in determining if you’re ready or not. Assembling the right team is also vital to starting any company – making sure that you have the necessary skills to run it smoothly and properly. We really wanted to create something of our own with our own vision.
How did you find the necessary skills, contacts, and funding to get things off the ground?
The backbone of the company rests on five things. First you need to master the skill of making clothes. Second is to find a manufacturer that is willing to make your products for you – considering that your quantity might be minimal because you’re a start-up. Third is sourcing the materials needed to manufacture your products. Fourth is to study how to effectively run a brand – from financials, marketing to logistics. Fifth is funding – either be a loan from a bank or a loan from your parents.
Clemens button-down (P2950)
What were some of the struggles you encountered in the beginning?
The struggles mainly came from manufacturing and scheduling. Finding the right manufacturer can be an ordeal, especially when you are producing locally – since most of the time factories don’t have the necessary technology to make your design tangible. Achieving the desired quality might be also tedious at times – make sure to achieve the desired sample before proceeding to production. Also, you would likely encounter delays when it comes to production so always give an ample lead-time that has leeway.
What’s your selling point?
Basically making something that you believe in. We’ve worked long hours on branding so that we have a strong sense of identity. We also make sure that we give our customers the best products with the best quality.
Any last tips for those planning to start up their own labels?
Never be afraid to take risks. Never release something half-baked. Always prepare and schedule in advance. Learn from your failures and don’t let it hold you back.
Magnus button-down (P2950)
Photos from SSGoods.com