The Creative Entrepreneur's Toolbox: Interviews that Inspire | Jeff Staple | Skillshare

The Creative Entrepreneur's Toolbox: Interviews that Inspire

Jeff Staple, Founder, Staple Design

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7 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:47
    • 2. Crafting Your Business Plan with Sharmadean Reid

      8:53
    • 3. Brand Positioning with Scott Sasso

      4:46
    • 4. Socially Conscious Business with Runa Tea

      7:36
    • 5. Social Media Tips with Fat Jew

      10:17
    • 6. Brand Imagery with Rachel Wang

      8:56
    • 7. Product Storytelling with Jeff Staple

      8:48
28 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this non-traditional class, you'll gain access to a series of interviews that cover essential topics for the creative entrepreneur like marketing, design, and branding. These interviews were originally part of an initiative called The Board,  which is a group of 100 creators that are working together to redefine the K-Swiss brand. 

Blogger Natalie Suarez sits down with some top creative entrepreneurs to go through their experience building their businesses. You'll learn from:

  • Sharmadean Reid, founder of WAH Nails over in London, will provide some pointers on developing your business plan.
  • Scott Sasso, founder of 10Deep here in New York, will speak on brand positioning, which will allow your consumers to distinguish your brand/business from everybody else.
  • Tyler Gage and Dan Mccombie - founders of Runa Tea, a tea company supporting indigenous farmers in the Amazon. They'll give some tips on building community and conscience into your business.
  • The Fat Jewish, everyone's favorite instagrammer, who gives some insight on social media strategy and how you can leverage today's platforms to build your brand.
  • Rachel Wang, fashion director of Allure Magazine, speaks on the importance of your lookbook and Brand Imagery as a product company.
  • Jeff Staple provides tips on telling a story through your products.

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K-Swiss is committed to outfitting and inspiring this generation of entrepreneurs. For additional creative inspiration and product updates, make sure to follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Transcripts

1. Introduction: What's up? My name is Jeff Staple. I'm the founder and creative director of Staple Design and Reid Space. Welcome to the creative entrepreneurs toolbox. So, a couple of months ago, K Swiss asked me to be part of the board and what the board was, was a panel of industry experts in different fields of design, and we guided a group of 100 hand selected experts to really redefine what the case was brand man. But then we got to thinking, hey this is bigger and better than just sneaker design, this could help anybody in any industry, any profession, any entrepreneur. So, then we thought why not release this through skill share so that everyone can share the benefits of this class. We got a star blogger, Natalie Suarez, to sit down in a series of interviews with key entrepreneurs, to talk about how they created their successful brands. Covering some of the important topics such as branding, marketing, design, entrepreneurship. These cornerstone important elements that really make a business successful. You'll learn from Sharmadean Reid, founder of WAH Nails over in London where she'll give you some pointers on how to form a business plan. You'll also learn from Scott Sasso, founder of 10.DEEP in New York City who will talk about brand positioning, which will allow your customers to differentiate your brand from the competition. We'll also hear from Tyler Gage and Dan McCarthy of Runa Tea. They work with indigenous farmers in the Amazon for their business and they're going to teach you about community and ethics in entrepreneurship. Then there's the Fatou everyone's favorite Instagramer. He's going to talk about how you can use social media and today's ever-changing platforms to help build your brand, and we've got Rachael Wang of Allure Magazine. She's going to talk about shooting a look book and brand imagery and how that's important to the building of your business. Then there's my interview which talks about sneaker design but really what it does is it teaches you how to tell your story through the design of your products. So welcome to the creative entrepreneurs toolbox. 2. Crafting Your Business Plan with Sharmadean Reid: We're here today with Sharmadean Reid, the founder and owner of WAH Nails. She's here all the way from London. How are you? I'm good, thank you for having me. So, tell us a little bit about WAH Nails, and how you started your business. So, I actually started WAH as a fun scene. So, I was obsessed with girls and street culture, and I just interviewed lots of girls, sneakers we were buying, and nails we were getting, just cool stuff that we were doing. What's WAH mean? It actually sounds for We Ain't Hoes. I love that. It was about making a fancy of saying we're just not all girls booty shaking in a 50 Cent video like- Yeah. -we ain't hoes. Yeah. But now I just tell people WAH is a statement of attitude. It's like ambiguous, but it's sexy, and it's like an active word, rather than a passive word. So, I get my nails done, which is like low culture, but I really wanted them done in a high fashion style. So, I remember one day around Christmas 2008, this is now. I remember getting so angry about my nail experience. My boyfriend picked me up from the salon and I got into the car and I slammed the door, and I just went "Do you know what? I'm going to open my own nail salon." That was just so stressful. I was thinking like my brain just started whirring. So, within the 10-minute drive home, I had a business idea. Like in my head I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to do this." Six years later I try to maintain that original statement which was "I want to have the coolest nail salon." I think that's the cool premise of everything that I do is that I should be cool and appeal to all the kind of girls all over the world. So, how is it funding your business? I was confident that my idea was good, and I really like believed in myself. So, I just lend the money from friends. I use my savings and I lived hand-to-mouth for like the longest time. But I do remember that I just didn't go out a lot because I didn't have the time or money, I was so exhausted. But, I'd often see friends walking past the store going to the club and I've just being there like cleaning or whatever. But I always had the idea that I was chasing a bigger dream and a bigger goal, and I'm really okay with making sacrifices to get what I want. I think as an entrepreneur, you have to accept that you're going to definitely make sacrifices. So what were your goals in the first year of business? Just to stay alive? Yeah. Just a feel. The first year of business was really to create brand awareness, and to be honest, that is what your first year of business should always be about. You tread this line of like shifting a consumer product and making your business profitable, but I always think that you have to earn the right to have someone's money. Like you have to- Exactly, yeah. -you have to earn the right for someone to decide to spend that $20 on you rather than on- and you're not just competing with other things within your product base, but that $20 could easily be spent on the movie theater or on hair treatment. You know what I mean? Exactly. Outside of your category. That they're buying into the brand and the whole experience. Yeah. I think if you build a brand, that's the strongest thing you can do. You build the brand fast, and then you think about how it's going to be a viable business because you want to sell like a dreamlike and identity. Keeping the core essence of what your business is about in those early years and nurturing it and figuring out exactly what is the best path for your business, the best path for yourself as an entrepreneur, because as an entrepreneur, you are your business. So, you're like, actually, do I really enjoy this aspect of business or do I really enjoyed this aspect of business, and how can I marry what I enjoy with what's financially successful I'm not going to lose all my money. Can you give me like a brief rundown of a business plan? So, when you're writing your business plan, you start with that one sentence like my one sentence was, "I want to create the coolest nail salon ever." So, you start with your mission statement, and then you expand on that with a kind of executive summary, which is I want to build the coolest nail salon ever because this thing doesn't exist. You list all the reasons why you're filling the gap, who you think is going to be into it. It's almost like the storytelling behind all the pages that make sense. So, what you want to create is a front page, where anyone who receives your business plan can look at and have a feel for the business because business is emotional, initially. Especially when you're asking for money or something, you have to have an emotional connection before you have like, okay, is this a viable business? Yeah. So, the first pages of your storytelling, you'll get in the emotion, you're reeling people in, you'll be like, isn't this going to be the best thing ever, and they either think yes or no. If they think yes, they'll look to the rest of the pages for the details and how it's going to be a successful business. You have to tell them what makes you special, like what your unique selling point. Why is anybody going to choose your business, or your brand, or your product over anybody else's because, in almost everything, the marketplaces so crowded, and even if you're innovative in the world that we live in now, it doesn't take long for competitors to follow. So, you have to think what is it that makes you special? Even if you weren't first, that could be a reason why you're different? I personally think it's quite important to be first, but that doesn't mean that there aren't businesses out there who have been second but done it better because they've had almost the learning of the first person [inaudible] So, there's a path for everyone, but ultimately, you're thinking why you're different. Everyone wants to be different, no one wants to be the same. Absolutely. Then you would go through your market really. Like you would do an analysis of all of the types of people that you imagine subscribing to your product, buying into it, believing in your brand, and then essentially, making the purchasing decision to part with their money. So, for me as a nail salon, I learned quite early on that I was like excluding 50 percent of the population by having a girly nail place. But I was like okay with that as I want to focus on it. But it doesn't mean that we don't do services for men, we have a lot boys coming and get like nails. It is really funny. But I thought this is the type of girl I want to sell to, this is who I want to aim for. What's quite a good exercise is building three to five customer profiles. So, I think go one, is this age, she works here, she's into these other brands which can be quite helpful thinking about the other types of brands you want to be aligned with. So, I would like, okay, customer one is this girl, and this is the part of our company that appeals to her. Then you're like customer two is this girl, customer three is this girl. Because why that's important, and I think about it to this day, is was any decision I may commit, okay, is that goal. If I do this Instagram post, is it going to appeal to girl three or girl five? Because if you're not appealing to anyone, I'm not doing it. Yeah. So, yeah, you do really in-depth market analysis that you refer back to. Everyone control, control, control but the difference between those who are successful and those who aren't are, there are people who do things and there are people who talk about them. So, I think just have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, always think of this plan is like your Bible to refer to, and just have inner confidence and self-belief that you can achieve anything you want. Thanks to Sharmadean Reid, you're all set to get out there and start your own business. A couple of key points. To be able to describe your mission in one sentence. Tell everyone you meet so you're accountable. Research heavily and know your target market is. Choose where you want to spend your energy for the highest reward. 3. Brand Positioning with Scott Sasso: We're here today with the owner, founder and Creative Director of 10 Deep, Scott Sasso. 10 Deep is a leading streetwear brand for the past 20 years. So, tell us a little bit about your brand. I started my brand in 1995 out of boredom when I was in college. I just needed something to do. I thought I'd try printing some T-shirts, and that's how it started. I kept on doing it because I realized that the kind of stuff that I wanted didn't exist in the market. So, what were you gearing towards? Who is your customer? My customer was me and my friends. There was like there's nothing that reflected our interests, our outlook that was available on the market at that time. There was all just huge brands. Then, there were these tiny T-shirt brands that were popping up that we're starting to give a little bit of character to the style that we wanted. I want to have my own voice. What is brand positioning? Brand positioning is how a brand presents itself in contrast to the other brands that are in its marketplace. It's how the consumer is going to distinguish you from whatever else they're making choices about buying. How can someone position their brands in their own field in their own marketplace? They just have to look to what their intentions are with their product. They have to look at the field and see what they're going to offer that other brands aren't offering. You have to create either a different product, or have a different message, or have, you know, something has to be significantly different from the competition. Otherwise, they'll just go to the competition because I already know what that is. What about your tagline? The tagline started to pop up like a few years into the brand. They were always inspired by what was going on in the moment over the course of 20 years of the brand, I was just thinking about this the other night. I've utilized probably five different taglines have gotten my focus over time. So, it's been about the culture of the moment, but also my take on the culture of the moment, and also the needs of the brand. What were some of your lines? Some of my favorites were Cult of Individuals. Then, we had Larger Living and Better Since '95 and Even When Alone. I like that, Better Since '95. Yeah. That's the one we use a bunch these days which has a little bit of the streetwear arrogance, but also speaks to the fact that we're heritage streetwear brand of sorts, I guess. In the company's goal isn't so straightforward, say as fashion, and their message is a lot more complex. How can they make a more straightforward simple tagline? The point I think of a tagline is to communicate what a brand does or what it's ethos is really quickly. So, is it important to stick to one tagline over the course, because K-Swiss was Court Style since 1966. Yeah. Now they are gearing towards the younger, cooler crowd. You change with the times. If you want to be relevant, you have also have to change as the time change. As the culture changes, the market change. It's all the stuff. So, it's okay to change? I think it's okay to change. Yeah. I think that's human, you know. That's true. Building a business is just really tough, in the way that you get through it. The way you're able to succeed, I think, is if you're doing something that you really enjoy. The only reason why I'm able to still be here doing this is because I love the process. Sure, there are people out there that have done it without that love for what they're doing, but I think ultimately for success, and that can be financial or personal, you have to do the thing that you love. I hope you've learned everything you've ever wanted to know about brand positioning. We're so happy to have had Scott Sasso, one of the leading entrepreneurs in streetwear show us the way. Now, a quick recap. Study the market and cultural relevance. Find what makes your brand unique and then figure out a way to communicate that in a simple way. Tagline should be simple, timeless, globally understandable, and different. 4. Socially Conscious Business with Runa Tea: So, we're here today with Tyler Gage and Dan McCombie of Runa Tea, young entrepreneurs that started their socially conscious tea line straight from the Amazon. So, tell me a little bit about how you guys got started. So, we got started in the Amazon of all places and we encountered difficult reality in the Amazon. We saw that for the native communities, the rainforest, it's their pharmacy and their supermarket and they have incredible knowledge of the plants and how to use them. At the same time, they really struggle to make money. That hit us in a difficult way and we went back to college, our senior year, and decided to write a business plan to create products that can help these communities. It really affected us. So, we wanted to build a brand that both brought people together as well as connected them to these traditions of the Amazon. One of the things that was most important to us, as we didn't want to just be another brand that was about charity and really just talking about what we do there, but we wanted to make sure we had a product that really reflected that tradition of wonderful, amazing plants from the rainforest. Because Guayusa, got a great boost of energy, a wonderful flavor and a ton of nutrients, we knew we had a chance to not just build a partnership with farmers but also create a product that people could enjoy every day up here. What challenges do you guys have building a ethical business? What challenges don't we have? Yeah. That's probably the better question. It is the same, or what's this? I mean, we started with a very ambitious goal. I studied literary arts, Dan studied marine biology, so we didn't have a perfect resume, if you will, as college kids to attempt to build a supply chain in the Amazon and launch a beverage company to compete with the big beverage conglomerates of the world. Some of the odds were heavily, heavily stacked against us. Another unique feature is this plant had never been commercially produced. So, we went back to Ecuador to start and we tried to tell farmers that we wanted to pay cash for these random leaves they'd never sold and sell them in bottles in New York City, they would just laugh hysterically. They thought it was a huge joke, didn't take it seriously. So, we had to do everything from absolute scratch. So, I think a big challenge early was just operating in a world where we didn't really know what to do. So, our primary strategy when we got going in Ecuador was to be students, that's pretty much all we knew how to do at the time. So, we talked to as many people as we could, we read anything we can get our hands on and we tried to balance perspectives and just learn from the native communities and from other organizations working in Ecuador. So what impact have you guys had? So, today we built the Runa value chain. We talk about value chains and not supply chains to support 3,000 Quichua farming families in the Amazon. The Quichua is the indigenous group that we work with. We've generated over $500,000 of direct income, that the farmers have earned by producing Guayusa, planted over 1.2 million trees. We have the biggest reforestation program in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We employ over 70 people between the US and Ecuador and are paying living wages across the board. Our big vision in the future is, we see Runa as trying to change the game and change the conversation around how we even look at the Amazon. We want to prove to people that there are sustainable ways to value what the Amazon is. So, it's not just extractive industries or cutting down trees, but there's actually profitable businesses and amazing products that come from the resources and the cultural heritage of this place. So, we want to help thousands and thousands and thousands of farmers but also just chang the conversation. We want people to recognize that the Amazon is not a place to be destroyed or to be taken advantage of but the people there have tremendous knowledge of the rainforest and they have a lot to offer. How do you guys run your business that's differently from say a normal corporate operation? For us, our values are part of what we do every day. We think a lot about the communities and ecosystems in the forest but our goal is to support those by selling an amazing product and driving incomes and livelihoods back. So, our social business model is baked directly into our business model overall. Having this sustainable model, is there a compromise to revenue and to making a profit? We see that our business sits right on top of our way that we create impact. So, when we talk to consumers, we can guarantee that every single leaf of tea that went in to a bottle of Runa was grown by a family farm that grow sustainably in the rainforest. So, us doing business and buying tea from farmers is what's created the impact, it's not selling tea and then having some charity as a separate offshoot of that. The more that we grow, the more trees we can plant in the Amazon, which is great, and the more farmers we can support. So, it's a very integrated harmonized business model. So, do you think we should have the responsibility to give back? I think looking at it's responsibility can be a little bit misleading, sitting looking at it as an obligation of any sort, just takes out the passion, it takes out the engagement, it takes out the fun. I think when people really tap into what they care about, what they're passionate about, whether that's the environment, whether that's about music and finding some source of inspiration that they want to share to make the world a better place. I think when you're following that you can do a lot of good and probably more than you even think you can. So, do you have any business tip? Should have an overt benefit; something that really makes a difference in people's lives. Should have a dramatic difference; so something that distinguishes it from the other stuff out there. It's fine if your products is an amazing product but there's 20 like it. Difference. Yeah. The third and especially relevant to us; an authentic story, a real reason to believe, something that makes you understand that the people behind this product in the product itself is something that you can trust and want to really have a part of your life. I think the biggest thing that helped us getting going was building a community around Runa. I think for a lot of entrepreneurs who are young, you don't really know what you're getting into, you don't really know the technical aspects of the industry, of the type of business. So, we took the strategy of recognizing we didn't really know anything about what we're doing and building a community and a team around us. So, we built advisers who were in the beverage industry who would coach us on the nitty gritty of distribution and margins and everything we had no clue about. We built great advisors in Ecuador who had dealt with exports and management of the business in Ecuador. That strategy of knowing what you don't know and then asking for help was really key. Can you give some examples of how the cases board members can give back? Totally. I think first right now, just think about what you're thinking about, what you're trying to create that's unique and different and really can help you stand out. By doing so, like listen to the ground and see what's going on and think about how you can expand your field and you swing that and pushes it forward, rather than just copying what's already going on. Once you get that intel, you really doing your homework and really listen, find what you're most passionate about. Everything worthwhile in my view happens from some fire. Some deep, some deep fire. Something that you want to sink your teeth into that. So, whatever resonates most with you, that's going to be your source of inspiration. It's going to get tough, it's not always going to be easy and there's that thing you really care about, whether it's the creativity, your own passion, whatever you want to see manifested, that'll carry you through. But once you have that, think about how they can go beyond you. It's not just about you being on an island and doing something that's cool but joy is best when shared. So, how is what you're going to create going to be spread beyond you? How are you going to collaborate with people? How are we going to look at what's on the ground and in your community that you can support others around you, and work together to build that community? Then lastly, just go for it. Just try things, don't hold back. Very little's ever created in a vacuum or in an isolated island. Do stuff, talk to people, make stuff happen, make a prototype, launch it, talk to people. That perseverance, that energy, that experimentation always leads to good stuff. It might be different from what you originally thought but you'll learn something and it'll pan out. Perfect. So, just get yourself out there and you dare. Get off the couch. Get off the couch. I hope you're inspired. Runa is not only a great business but they also make a difference in the world. This is what they taught us today. Think about what inspires you, do your research, think locally and go out there and do it. 5. Social Media Tips with Fat Jew: Hey Josh. Hi. Hi. Good to be together. How are you? Good. How are you? Great. It's so great. Cool. We're talking about your social media, Instagram. Yeah. So tell me a little bit how you got started, how did The Fat Jewish become so fat and so Jewish? How did we get here? There were like two that kind of really slick set it off which were, one was sort of a meme. There was a picture of these kind of fat, these kind of bigger Persian ladies, with kind of bodies more like mine. Big is beautiful, and they were like very sort of Persian-looking or whatever and it said, The Carbdashians, which was funny, yeah. I love that. Totally. So that one was super. The Carbdashians was great, and then some woman emailed me from, I don't even know where, somewhere weird like Tampa Bay or something. I was like, "How can I get on your Instagram?", like "I want to get on." So I was like, "Okay for Halloween which was coming up," this was last year, "You should dress your children like Breaking Bad. If you do that, I will straight up put you on my Instagram." Then she went like full out with it. She did it. They look so good. They have this little Heisenberg hat. God, they're so, so cute. They're like smoking rock candy. It's super cute. How many likes do they get? I don't even know. At that time, probably like 25,000 which was huge. Yeah, those big. Now, it was like millions of likes or 100,000? 100,000 but now the stuff people send me it's like not okay. I can't imagine, yeah. Yeah, my DMs are not good. Yeah, naked photos. Yeah. I'm sure. But of like, not people you want naked photos. Yeah, no. What about all the other different platforms? What about Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook? Right. Do you care about those anymore as everyone on Instagram? Well, they're all so different like Facebook is cool because I can like talk to my aunt or like a girl who I made out with a Jewish summer camp, like it's a great way to connect with very specific types of people, like my more respectable people that I know. Exactly like close friends. On Facebook. Snapchat is just like straight up children. It's like, it's all just teens, that you kind of have to be on Snapchat if you're trying to keep relevant. You keep it real. You just got to be in the hearts and the minds of teens. Because I'm very intellect what the kids are up to like, I'll put on a backpack and walk her in a school school and be like, "What's up, bae? I'm Fleek." They're like, "Are you 30?" Yeah. So they know that I'm not one of them but I run like team, like focus groups. Okay. Yes. So you're an inspiration to young teens. Sort of. It's more like I go to Bar Mitzvah, and I'm just like, "I'll give you cigarettes if you tell me what's hot." You're right though, and actually you know what? I am an inspiration to the youth. You are. Yeah, you're my inspiration. I'm like the fat mediocre Gandhi, yeah. Yeah. How many times a day do you have to post? Do you ever annoy people? They're like, you post way too many pictures. I don't really care. I'm basically, I'm down for whatever. Spare of the moment. Totally. I'll go warn like, if I start day drinking Rosé early, I can post 10. It can get crazy. It's just like, I'm just feeling it. That's good. I like that. It's like how, when, whoever painted the ceiling of that church, whatever, Da Vinci, whatever. Yeah. I don't know. Whoever. You know what I'm saying? You just got to feel it. You just do it. It's my craft. I know. This is just my craft. I have like a Beautiful Mind. You know how Russell Crowe can see all the stuff in that movie? That's like around, kind of like that's how it is with me, with Instagram. But now you've made your Instagram your whole name, your brand, your image as a business. So how do you manage that? I basically, now, I have an army of interns who get college credit to do this. They find a lot of photos like, show me the psychotic. They're just all up in my DM's, like finding the best stuff, and then now, I actually have professionals who handled, you know, I do like branded stuff. That's become the best because I did stuff like that before Instagram. But as my followers grew, the thing that I started getting out of it was more and more creative control. Yeah. So, it used to be like, the brand's love being like, let's do Yolo swag, fetch you, like let's do something crazy. That's nuts! You're like, that's not even funny. No, no. Then I'm like, yes and then the minute, I do something, they're like too crazy, that's so crazy. We actually can't do anything crazy. Yeah. So tons of brand is to reach out to you now. So it used to be like, they wanted to be crazy, and then it was too crazy. But now that the followers have reached a certain level, they really are actually letting me do whatever I want, and I'm really doing whatever I want. So, The Fat Jewish is your own voice, and you have these people working for you in your office, interns, how do you make sure that they're on brand with what they're posting on, what they're helping you with? I mean, at least for Instagram in particular, there's like a voice. They know at this point what I think is funny and what's not. If not, I will throw an iced coffee at them. It's be like, "Your fired." Right, you're fired, you're rehired. But that picture suck. Yeah, totally. Got no likes. Exactly. It's like, don't get low likes. So as an entrepreneur, what do you want to do next to grow your social media? I mean, you already have millions of followers but where do you think it's headed and what do you want to do? As much like URL is happening, I'm trying to go very IRL. Okay. So I have real life stuff I'm doing, I'm writing a book called Money Pizza Respect, and I'm basically leveraging the visibility that I have through social media. I can do stuff for brands and I can sit in bowls of chili and be ridiculous but at the end of the day, I would rather use it to promote a product that is mine. You know what I mean? Yes. Properties that actually belong to me. So I would encourage anyone with the big following to do that. I know a lot of people have big social media followings which just like, "Oh, it's cool. I can just hold this conditioner and the conditioner company will pay me", and then I'm doing this sick, chill shit in my life because I just got paid to hold the conditioner but you really can go so much further with it. What's the next step really? The best thing you could do is to grow your social media but not just let it exist as its own thing. Really used this as a platform to promote stuff that you're actually doing. Yeah. Okay, so how did your dog go viral. A little toast, right? His name Toast. Toast The Dog. 2015 is the weirdest. The dog Instagram game is so popping. Toast have huge Instagram. Toast has a publicist. Are you serious? Totally. No way. Yes, Toast is like an actual, Toast watch red carpets. I don't even know what Toast is up to. I'll be in my house all day, where's Toast? She's got like a junkyard for Furious Seven. Yeah. I'm like the dog is at the junker for new Furious, doing what? Kind of becoming a diva. Yeah, diva dog. As a dog on Instagram, you need a fake. Like if you have a cute dog, you're like, "My dog is so cute." It's not enough. The dog needs to be cute and have a thing like sort of a Cindy Crawford mole or a J LO butt, like Morgan Freeman's dots or whatever. So, Toast has no teeth, saw her tongue hangs on all the time, so she looks sort of special needs. But that's her thing. Yeah. Like that's what takes her to-. That's cheek. Just being cute it's not enough. No. No, you need like a sheet, dry, weird tongue that hangs out all the time. Yeah, totally. So she also models. Oh for sure. Toast makes more money than a public school teacher. I know that the polar ice caps are melting and the world is pretty much on fire. This is probably the scariest. I need to get a dog. The world is insane. Bottom line, get a dog and take out all it's teeth. There's stuff that just works on the internet, like they should probably incorporate, like some puppies, some boobs, you know, like maybe. Puppies, boobs. Yeah, some like a girl in an American flag bikini holding a basket of kittens. Wearing K-Swiss sneakers. It's probably going to get a whole bunch of likes. That's true. You know what I'm saying? Funny thing. That's what I'm saying or just sort of really kind of taking it though. Obviously, there could be stuff that's a little more basic. You can't just be like, "aaaah" all the time. But when he got to mix in some shear where you're just kind of rising above the noise. There's a lot of people on social media doing a lot of similar things. You kind of need to think outside the box, that they should build a giant K-Swiss sneaker and fill it with water like a Jacuzzi. And then you take a photo of it. Sweet ass K-Swiss sneaker Jacuzzi. That's awesome. I would go in there. That's what I'm saying. #sneakercuzi just hire me. Perfect. I'm sure mixing it with tasteful stuff and showing the product but it can't just be promotional all the time and also enough of, you don't need like a 100 hashtags. Oh yeah, hashtags, that doesn't even work anymore. They're just annoying. That's what I'm saying. Yeah. You do not need 100 hashtags. Less hashtags is better. Perfect. Oh, for sure. Let's recap. What are the three main social media tips? For Instagram, I'd say one, be consistent. Just find a voice, stay with it. Two, never use Kelvin because it makes everything look weird in orange and just don't use Kelvin, and number three, make bad decisions. At the end of the day, if you do something really awesome, put it up. But it doesn't need to be every day like, here's the great things that I did. Don't be afraid to make bad decisions. Yeah, you don't have to be a perfectionist. Look, buy your friend a tattoo gun, who's never done a tattoo and let him give you poorly like jailhouse tattoo of two slices of pizza made it to a Jewish star because bad decisions are good decisions, and people want to see you just doing whatever. It is okay to fuck up. It doesn't need to be like, "At this photo shoot, like a killer synergy today," it doesn't need to great all the time. Make bad decisions, make mistakes, make out with horrendous people. People want to see you doing awesome horrendous stuff. That's basically, I nailed it. Yeah. It was macho. This start hurting my hand. You slap- I'm strong. Yeah, seriously. Let's go over what we just learned about social media. Be consistent, be authentic, take risks to breakthrough. Avoid cliches such as pictures of avocado toast and sunsets, and last but not least, don't use the Kelvin filter. 6. Brand Imagery with Rachel Wang: So, hey Rachel. How are you? Great. How are you doing? Good. So, tell us a little bit about how you got started. So, I think that I was always obsessed with fashion from when I was really young, and a lot of the skills that I use today are actually instinctive and things that I didn't learn in school. That's what I started out as an intern, like many people in the industry, and just worked really, really hard. So, how did you get to Style.com? So, I cut my teeth assisting Edward on [email protected], and so got to do really great shoots there. One of the highlights was going to go in India and photographing the Holi festival, which is where colored chalk pigment are thrown into the air, and there's children dancing, and our beautiful model, Lakshmi and elephants. That was really amazing and really captured my creativity, and I think that was the moment that I really just dove in and really wanted to be a part of the industry, and was really obsessed with the concept of creating images in that fantasy. Then from there, I went to Nylon magazine, which was all about fine and creativity and the sky is the limit, youthful, energetic, and that was really fun. Change and getting to just have these really great creative ideas and do these really fun shoots. Yes. So, how did you move it more branded lookbook shoots? So, I think the difference between editorial and working with a brand is really just focusing on the brand identity, and sometimes quelling your personal aspirations for what you think is the coolest and best thing to shoot right now, and really focusing in on what the brand needs and what the target demographic is, and being able to focus on that rather than bringing in all of your creative ideas, really have to hone in. I'm excited to hear more about your creative process from, say pulling accessories, finding models, photographer, so what goes into that? All of those things. All of those things. So, usually, there's a primary meeting or a phone call with the brand to just discuss the target demographic, what the mood is that the brand is going for for that season, and to just for me, to get a sense of really what the goals are with these images. From there, I will generally do a ton of research looking for images that helped me to express what my creative vision is, that I can contribute to the brand, and so just pulling, whether it's internet research or going to the library and pulling old magazines, et cetera, et cetera, and creating a mood board. That is a really good way to express what the creativity is in your mind, and being able to show someone without having to explain it in words, because I feel like pictures are always better. You got a very definitive specific point of view. So, photographer is really, really important just to make sure that the aesthetics line up from what their portfolio is. What about location? Sure. So, location is super important, so I think that it all goes back to the overall mood that the brand is trying to express. So, is it a quiet portrait in a studio, is it a really amazing house interior with lots of rugs and color, or is it out in a field and it's a sunny day. So, what type of mood and location is going to lend itself to the energy and the mood that you're trying to convey. So, do you also have input on the castings and finding the model to go with your vision? Yes. So, casting I think is one of the most important things. I mean, all aspects of the shoot are really important, and I care a lot about every aspect, but casting is super important to me. Things like age, ethnicity, height, skin tone. If we're shooting shoes for example, you want to make sure the model has great legs and ankles because you're focusing on it. It seems funny, but it is actually really important. If you're shooting jewelry, you have to make sure the model has great hands. So, all of these things are really important, and also contribute to setting the mood and the tone, and getting the right energy. Also, model's personality really has a great effect on the photo shoot. So, if you want the shoot to be energetic, you have to choose a model that is naturally bubbly and vivacious, and wants to sort of dance around. Yeah. It will show through in the pictures. Exactly, because it does matter. It does that all matters. So, say if you're just starting out, you don't have a huge budget for a photographer, big models, and finding a really cool location. What are your tips? I think that shoots don't have to be a huge budget to be really successful, and I think so much of it is just about having a very clear vision of what you're trying to express. You can really do a something very simple, just making sure that you grab your cutest friends, and you choose a photographer that you really believe in their vision, and you think that the way that they shoot is really great, and just making sure that all of the pieces align. So, you choose your great looking friends, you have this photographer that you love working with and wants to work with you, and pulling clothes that you feel like really expresses the vision. I think the most important thing is to have a strong viewpoint, and that really comes across in the pictures. As the person who's putting the shoot together, don't be afraid to have an opinion, and don't be afraid to say, ''Hey, look, this is just business. This has nothing to do with personal, but this is what I really think it should look like." I think that it's great to have a strong opinion because it's easy to get sidetracked with too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. So, I think the most important thing is to really come up with your idea and hone in on that and don't get sidetracked. Yes. Do you have any styling tips for us? Sure, of course. It really depends on what the shoot is specifically because I don't think that there's hard fast rules for every single thing. It really is about what you're trying to express. For example, if you are going to style the case with white sneaker, which is very diverse and versatile, and this really can go on so many different directions. This could be styled with a suit for a woman, like a colored suit, and it really brings it down and makes a casual and cute. That's how I wear white sneakers. You can also turn this into something really high fashion and put it with great volume, or all black, and make it this very dramatic contrast between something very sporty and something very high fashion. Also for dudes, there's so many different ways. It can be worn with jeans. They're great with shorts, like what I love is the classic heritage of the K-Swiss tennis branding, and I love making reference to classic brand history, so incorporating that as always really interesting. So, do you consider yourself as an entrepreneur because it is your own business? I approach every project with an entrepreneurial spirit. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I'm not above any job. Just because I'm a stylist, doesn't mean that I'm not going to unpack the catering when it arrives on site, or tie someone's shoe, or fix someone's hair if the hairstyles went to the bathroom. Yeah. I think it's really about taking pride in your work, every project that you do, and not being above anything, and really not being afraid to get your hands dirty and just dig in, and sort of taking that, like how can I make this better? How can I make this the best version of what it can be, and just sort of infusing everything you do with that spirit. I mean, I think that's what's gotten me to where I am, and I think that it's the thing that stands out to me most when I meet young people now. If you met a younger version of yourself, what would be a few things you would do differently? It took me a really long time to get to a place where I felt really confident, and I think there's something about confidence and how that sells itself. I would say to my younger self like, "Be confident in your ideas. You have great ideas that can go places," so that's something really important. Also, to just try to really appreciate where you are at every phase of the game, and it's easy to get caught up and focused on work in what you're doing and not appreciate and enjoy. Draw the big picture. Exactly, and taking creative experience from what you're doing, so that you can fuel that "creative me." Yeah, just with positivity and great energy. We're so lucky to have someone as experienced as Rachel Wang come give us advice on how to create a lookbook. Let's do a quick recap. First, pick a creative direction of mood or a theme, do your research and put together a mood board, pick a location, photographer, and props, recruit your cute friends, style them to bring the whole look together, and most importantly, have a strong vision and be confident in your vision. 7. Product Storytelling with Jeff Staple: So, tell me a little bit about how you got into the retail business and sneaker business. Well, I've been a sneaker-head all my life actually. Since sixth grade, I've been collecting and hoarding shoes. It was really the basis for why I even got jobs in the beginning, because all my paychecks just went into buying sneakers. So, how do you refresh an old classic sneaker? Well, there's a couple of ways to do it. One way, I think, is you should take the heritage shoe and not change the exterior at all. Change the insides, update the performance and the technology of it so that it's made for modern day wear. But, again, the outside of the shoe is respectful of the classic heritage as it is. Then, of course, I think there's a blending of the two, where you take the original and you update it a little bit so that it's made for modern times. The exterior looks like it's been inspired by the past but made for today's wear. So, break down what goes into designing a sneaker? Some of the major parts that you can play with are, obviously, the upper. Basically, you've got the outsole which is this. You've got the midsole which is here, and then everything above the midsole is called the upper. If you think of it that way, the outsole is rarely seen because your foot is on the ground. So you only see the outer outsole when you're taking a step up. So, I personally think it's a good place for hidden surprises and gems because it's mostly covered for the most part. So, if you pop a color here, it's going to only pop when you take a step up. Exactly. That's cool. Yeah. Midsole, you can have some fun with but generally speaking, I like to play it safe around the midsole. It's also the place that gets the dirtiest, so that's why you see a lot of shoes that do a speckle on the midsole because it looks like crap. It's already. Yeah, it already looks dirty. It already looks dirty so it's perfect. Yeah. Right. So, on the upper is where you have a lot of places to play and obviously you've got the stripes here. Don't forget that you've got the stitching that holds down the stripes so you could play around with stripe color versus stitch color. You've got the eyelets where the laces go through. You've got the laces themselves. So, laces don't have to be single-colored, they could be multicolored, they could be heathered, they could be threaded, they could be printed as well, actually. The tongue is a really iconic place to put a logo. It's also a different piecing altogether. So you could actually play with the shoe's tongue all the way down. Do the full color. Yeah, exactly. Let's see. You've got the back heel tab which is what you want people to see when you're walking away from them, so that's always key. Then you've got details such as these ventilation points, they have a metal ring inside of them. You can play with those colors and different metals. Exactly. You can play with metals, nickel, shiny, matte, you could do all sorts of things with that. Then this stitch that holds the upper to the mid sole that's pretty much holding the entire shoe together can also be changed as well. So you coulf have a color here, a color here, and then maybe you can have a third color in there as well. A little contrasting stitch. K-Swiss is going to give the board members a selection of three of the classic styles to choose from. Yeah. They're going to be able to design it and come up with an idea. So, walk us through how you would design it. The first one is the classic. This is just a beautiful blank canvas. I think it's so clean and simple you could do anything you want with this. This is great for patterning or texturing or anything. It's great for leather, suede, nubuck, different materials you could have on it. This is the most classic historic shoe that they have. So I think, for me, I would love to see something where you respect the story and the original idea of K-Swiss. But if you want to update it and do something very interesting you've got plenty of room to do it on this silhouette as well. This one, the Si, again, the one that I played tennis in as an aspiring pro back in the day. This is to me the most "sneaker-head" one because it's super functional, performance-based, technical, it's the most tricked-out, if you will. Because of that you've got plenty of places to have different color pops, color blocking, fabrication plays, you've got these straps. You've got a detail that are behind the straps. Yeah, those are the details in the front. Yeah, you've got these eyelets with a double clasp here. You've got the ventilation holes here. You've got the flags on the back. You've got the shield, another logo. Even on the midsole you've got a lot of places to play with color. So this one's got a limitless amount of options that you could deal with. I would personally have the most fun doing this shoe because it's got so many different options and it's gravy on top that it happens to be a historically dope shoe. It's a really great performance shoe. Love it. Then the high top. This is the volley high. So the volley high is what I was talking about where it's like a transition model, where it's inspired by the classic, but it's been updated for today's trends and styles. So, it's a high top. High tops are great because you've got additional real estate to play with. Then the thing that I would be cognizant of when you're designing this is definitely how it interplays with your bottoms. So are you? What kind of pants you wear. Exactly, yeah. Okay. So, are you wearing it where the jeans are covering it and you want to have a surprise up here? Yeah. Or you wearing joggers where you're planning on exposing the whole thing and then how do you play with the tongue and the high part if you want it to be showing. So, you've got all these different design options. Then the cool thing about this is they've added this paneling detail that the classic didn't have. So this allows you to play with, imagine two different colors. That would be awesome. Yeah, or same color, different fabrics, or different color, different fabric, or pattern here, clean here, or pattern all over the whole thing. You could see how once you start getting into it the opportunities are limitless. Yeah, they're limitless. Yeah. So you'll be able to download these cads, and they're are going to look like this. If you're good on the computer, you could go in and start really doing renderings on your own. Coloring, painting. I know, it depends on your technical skill. But if you're not so good at Illustrator, I don't care if you print these out and use Crayola and start drawing into them. Yeah, that's fun. I know guys that are really good with the paintbrush, and you could just go out and get one of these and just start painting directly on the shoe. Yeah, that's really dope too. One of the biggest questions that I get is, what is the first thing I should do when I start my business. I think one of the first things that a lot of young people forget is to ask themselves what it is that they're passionate about. So, that's really the initial thing. You got to know what it is that you want to be doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because the act of starting your own brand or company is so labor-intensive that if you don't absolutely love every second of it, you're going to burn out and it's going to fail. So, tell us your final thoughts on design. Really think about it and don't feel like you got to go ham and throw every color, fabric, texture, camo, polka dot, every single thing on the shoe because this is your one chance to do it. Don't think that way. Really think about, again, going back to what it is that you'd want to rock day-in and day-out, every single day and think of it that way and try to make the most interesting concept and design with that lens versus this is my one shot to give it all- Do something crazy. - and throw everything on there. Yeah, because oftentimes what you're going to find is that when you get and hold that shoe in real life, you're going to be like, "I can't even wear this." I don't even want to wear that. I know, exactly. I see that happening with a lot of young people when they get to play around with a shoe. It's like they go too far. So, keep it classic but still interesting. Right. Don't blow your load, just chill. Cool. Chill back. Yeah. I didn't realize there were so many different parts to designing a sneaker. I hope you guys learned as much as I did thanks to Jeff Staple. His tips in a nutshell. Before you even start designing, have a clear concept and story. Think about the kind of sneaker you would actually want to wear and don't go over the top. Sometimes, less is more. Then get creative from the outsole to the tongue to the hardware, you can design every little detail. Details matter.