By: Kaylin King
Knowing the people behind the product with an inside look at local brands: State Forty Eight & For The Culture
Starting up a brand isn’t exactly a piece of cake, yet there are so many labels that get to such a point of stardom, they can sell anything, even a brick (cough, cough, Supreme), just by adding a logo. So how do brands get there? Lets take it back to the roots: Its all about your community.
Getting to talk to owners of young brands validated the observation of local companies gratefulness. “Our community is everything to us. We are passionate about Arizona and started our brand in hopes to show our love for Arizona through products. As a small company, we are constantly giving back to our community through collaborations, charitable donations, consulting, and giveaways.” Michael Spangenberg (Founder and Co-Owner of State Forty Eight) replied when I asked what his community means to him.
Photo Courtesy of State Forty Eight
The personal interactions between designers, manufacturers and customers is a great forum for creativity. Since the fashion industry is influenced so strongly by media, trends are dictated via magazines, companies, blogs, etc. resulting in a lot of local character being lost in the mass assimilation of style. Independent designers can create the exclusive and strange, bringing forth a sense of community and uniqueness exclusive to the local-business setting supported by a close population.
Forming an audience beyond your friends can be difficult to do, “My goal was to be a universal creative. I want to keep up with the following…basically selling creativity online. The support of the community is important to any artist in any creative field. [It’s] your foundation, and your inspiration, and emotional draw. Some artists can create just to create…I create for the culture.” Drew Rodriguez (@multiplexes), founder of For The Culture (Gilbert, AZ), tells us a bit about pushing his thoughts to a design, and eventually to the people. “I gained a following through marketing and reaching out to other people, I’ll do local deliveries to people I know personally.”
Photo Courtesy of For The Culture
Another huge advantage is how customer service is more personalized, hands-on and noteworthy from smaller businesses. “We take pride in offering memorable customer service. We answer emails, phone calls, social media questions at all hours of the day. We ensure every customer is 100% satisfied or we offer full refunds or free products. In conclusion, we genuinely encourage and appreciate all customer feedback in hopes to always improve our business.” Spangenberg explained. Something a lot of time, big businesses lack.
Small business is big business. Business success is crucial to American society. Most of us know that shopping locally is good for the economy by keeping money within the community, and by supporting local manufacturing, jobs are created and sustained. It is impressive to think about the amount of time, commitment and work independent designers contribute to jumpstart their businesses and stay prominent. Yet, many Americans still frequent chain stores without considering their local fashion. I encourage you to explore your local brands, get out and rep your community, you never know who will be the next big name!
You can check out your local brands mentioned in this article here: