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14

Know Your Audience

Lesson 1: Introduction

TrendSetting Before I Even Knew I Would..

TrendSetters Elite Clothing Co. was created from a concept that I lived with since a kid. Traveling back and forth each year from Brooklyn New York, My birthplace where my parents lived, to Michigan where I now lived with my grandmother who had adopted me, I would constantly going down to the wholesale district and spending my hard earned money on new gear that NO ONE in my city would have.

From the age of 8 I did this consistently, bringing the hottest jogging suits, jerseys, sneakers, and more. Each time I'd get back to Michigan Id have students asking me where I got my gear and would I be able to get them some. I was just being myself, being different. I didn't know until later on that I was utilizing whats called "Lag Time" to bring over a product that is hot in one area, but not yet known in another. I built from there using this idea in other parts of my money making endeavors.

Being a barber, I brought the taper over to my city and it become the new thing. Everyone was getting a military fade and for a young african american kid from NY a "High and Tight" wasn't a good look. Being an artist I would study other artist from the past an utilize their line depth, or dot shading. I just kept it up. Nothing worked as well as what I enjoyed the most, and what challenged me the most. Which was an ACTUAL BRAND. That consisted of more than just creating and selling. It contained a challenge of learning what was authentic to me and sticking with it, it consisted of studying others, finding mentors, understanding many aspects of the business, marketing, inventory, and more. So I created TrendSetters Elite which has been a great process of self evaluation, as a whole, not just me but the members of the brand. We just try to stay providing products that are have a twist (not reinventing the wheel, just improving it), pushing ourselves to develop products that are created out of NEED/Demand, and working to create a whole new category of garments which we plan to unveil spring of 2014. 

"You Can Only Lose Something That You Have, You Cannot Lose Something That You Are"

I’ve noticed as we grow older it takes much focus and persistence to become who you truly are. Many people, especially in today’s day and age, tend to want to become someone or something that is totally foreign to there experiences and existence. Whether it be from television, society or whatever conveying that its better to be another image or character other than yourself. 

Many of us have tried it. They say “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” but it just may be “Imitation is the highest form of humility”. You are destroying what is in all essence "You" by imitating. People also tend to think that something outside of them is going to make them feel whole. Which is totally not the case. Who you are is what is inside of you, its up to you to capitalize on it and show it to the world.

Many of us are held back by a fear (I know you are probably saying “I’m not afraid of nothing”) a fear of failing, a fear of succeeding, a fear of being hurt, alone, etc. Once you decide to take action on that fear and face it that is when all those worries will leave and you will start to feel pressure lift and a abundance of happiness enter your life. Now is the time for you to express yourself to the world without the fear of acceptance, because in the end the people that have known you already understand you and have known your true self from experiences they have shared with you, so it won’t have to be explained.You can’t wait, because its not a process, it IS YOU, and waiting is just stalling and suppressing your being.  The ones who don’t understand are just limiting themselves,  they will eventually embrace you being you and work on being their true self or fade away.

Spending time with others who can express themselves, and conversations with different view points/ perspectives can lead to even more growth and learning in your life. Its just up to you to do it now and embrace yourself and others with an open mind. Be open minded with every decision you face and those situations will be looked at as neutral, your true self can make the outcome a positive one.

Lesson 2: Find Your Commandment Inspiration

Like many people I tend to draw inspiration from plenty of different areas, and again like many people music being one of them. My team tends to focus on many artist that have gathered an underground following, and have a "Do For Self" mentality, understanding that there are no hand outs. People will come once they believe you have created something they need, want or is worthy. 

The Artist I have chosen and the Commandment is from one artist who has totally CHANGED THE GAME with his following, starting off strong, stumbling, 360 deals that didn't work out and now completely killing the game and doing it independently, almost single handedly (releasing mixtape after mixtape which built a crazy buzz amongst blogs and magazines). 

Curren$y


He throws at you a barrage of lyrics that give you the feeling that you can do it just as he did, while also giving clues on what to watch for in ANY industry.

The song I chose is from one of his early mixtapes Fear And Loathing In New Orleans. The song is 1-800 raphustlers a play on Roca Fellas 1-900 hustlers.

In the song he states:

"Update your myspace page on the regular, read what people think and reply to the messeges. Reach out to the DJ's maintain relationships, thats the M*fuckas that'll play ya sh*t"


I personally feel from firsthand this applies to ALL endeavors that you create that are BIGGER than just you. Keeping up with your audience is KEY to knowing what is working and what isn't. The market will tell you if you have a good product or service or if its back to the drawing board you go! Stay in contact with your audience, while also build relationships with tastemakers and the ones who will help project you to the next level. 

In our day and age, social media outlets like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc can help you to talk to your consumers, find what makes them tick, what they like, what is working. Now in the field of clothing reaching out to not DJ's but blogs and magazines is BIG. They are the ones who will get your product or service in front of your audience, they will be the ones that help your exposure. Build a relationship, a partnership if you will that is beneficial to both parties.

Lesson 3: Create Your Business Commandment (Mnemonic Device)

"Know Your Audience"


Who is the end user, who are you building the product for, what motivates them to choose you over all the others out there?

You have to know your audience! Everyday this is what motivates me, it pushes me to learn more, to provide more service, a better product, a more enticing story that can help them understand what we stand for how we started and thus help them to know if they feel we are worthy of having them be one of our loyal supporters.

--Here is a Special Presentation (Mnemonic Device click on the link) to help you feel where we are coming from and what we represent.--

(SLIDESHOW LINK ALONG W/ DESCRIPTION OF EACH SLIDE BELOW)

http://prezi.com/chsn08u2onsw/trendsetters-elite/

SLIDE 1: I would hear music, see fashion and bring it back to Michigan from NY and started to notice a pattern. Things would be popular in NY 2-3 months earlier than they would in MI.

SLIDE 2: Wiz Khalifa (just an example) was hot on the eastcoast 3 months before anyone in my area even heard of him.

SLIDE 3 -Hitting tradeshows young with my grandmother to collect pencils id later sell at school at test time

-Selling burnt CD's before ANYONE had a cd burner or downloaded

***I didn't even own the CD burner, I approached the kid with one and made a deal I would market them to students for $5 in which he'd receive $3 and I'd receive $2 each sale. When 50 cent get rich or die trying or a new Eminem album came out we'd leave school with $50-100 a day...Not too shabby for a freshman in high school just looking for pocket money, and the partnership worked out great***

-Being a barber since 14 taught me very valuable lesson about being FIRST in business. As well as how to make a sale, how to improve your product, and how to market it as something NEEDED. 

SLIDE 4: I knew business, but didn't know how to take a design I created and make it so it could actually be printed on a garment. Back to the drawing board, time to find a mentor and learn adobe illustrator, photoshop, color seperation, inks, burning screens and so fourth!

SLIDE 5: Finding small successes and pushing! People started supporting and respecting our work!

SLIDE 6: What others can take from this...

SLIDE 7: Come up with ways your different from the rest if you can't be first in a category

SLIDE 8: Own a word! I feel all great brands own a word that is synonymous with their business. What is YOURS!

SLIDE 9: Always Fill A Need! Don't just create what you think is cool, cute or hot now. Does it have a purpose!

SLIDE 10: Finally Teamwork Makes The Dream Work. Its impossible to do everything on your own, let others help, let others share the risk and also the reward! Take care of the hometeam!

-------------------------------------------------------------IN CLOSING------------------------------------------------------------ 

I would like to thank the Skillshare team for allowing this opportunity for us be exposed to people we look up to as forerunners, mentors and leaders who helped pave the way for us to start our journey, the classes you provide are what I consider the future of education, no more curriculum that is outdated and taught by charlatans whom suffer from a Paradox of Practice (teach but never actually DID what they teach). We have the opportunity to be taught by people who are doing and are leaders in their filled and that is priceless. 

I'd also like to thank Marc Ecko and his team for this opportunity, Im truly thankful for even having the priviledge of learning from what you have taught here and in your book. The journey, the mistakes, the triumphs and what to look for have given me more confidence in my journey. 

If I have ANY chance to give my presentation I've attached to you or your team to help you hear firsthand exactly what we stand for I would be there in a heartbeat, online, in person, whatever! I believe it would be an inspiring experience for both parties!

Thanks again for this opportunity and everyone else I look forward to reading your projects!

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