If I told you this is what I was destined to do, I’d be lying to you. If I told you FOR Apparel came to me in a dream, I’d be lying to you too. If I told you this has been one of the greatest, stressful, most exhilarating, and daunting things I’ve ever done, I’d be telling you the truth. What do the words ‘creating a brand’ mean to you? 2 years ago, I would have said something completely different than I would if I was asked that question now. Most people tell you there’s only one way to go from point A to point B; in a straight line. Well it’s a load of shit. A to B tends to look more like your heart set up to a defibrillator. Up and down, up and down, and so on and so forth. FOR Apparel wasn’t built in a day. This journey has been has been packed with numerous mistakes, but from those mistakes I’ve learned, and created a brand true to its name.
The idea of FOR Apparel first came to me 2 years ago. Once I knew that this was something I wanted to do, I figured within 2 months I would have a clear business plan to position myself nicely in the lifestyle/casual apparel industry. I thought 6-8 months later I would be up and running. Just like many young entrepreneurs, man I was wrong. I never considered all of the boundaries and obstacles I would have to overcome, and the time it takes to develop a start-up company. This process began in the summer of 2015. Originally, I had my vision set on a Fall 2016 launch day. I had planned to come out with a full line of t-shirts, shorts, pants, dress shirts, you name it, for my first Fall collection. What could possibly stop me?
The summer of 2015 went by fast and I only had 8-10 pencil drawings done… not much to work with. I soon realized things were not going to get easier moving forward. I wasn’t sure how to go about bringing my ideas to reality. I had to take a step back. Juggling work, prepping for the next semester of classes, and trying to start a brand wasn’t possible. I made the decision to take a break from college. After withdrawing from school, I gave myself until the end of 2016 (5 months) to not only prove to my friends and family this wasn’t a joke, but to prove to myself that even without a certificate from college, those that work hard, are dedicated to their craft, and strive to be better will be successful in the end. 5 months went by fast once again. I wanted to accomplish so much more during that time but my knowledge in this business was still on a steep learning curve. I learned that some steps required to achieve my goals would take longer to reach than anticipated. This process has been filled with trial and error and through these experiences I have developed a final product that I can truly be proud of.
As I write this editorial to you on August 18th, 2017, 2 weeks following the official launch date of FOR Apparel (more than 8 months past my original launch date), I can honestly tell you, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Learning how to allocate investors, loans, grants, mentors, contractors, and all the support required to run a business has been a blessing in disguise. In no way has it been easy, but the challenge has made it so much more rewarding.
FOR Apparel originated from one good idea. Through hard work, determination, and the support from family and friends, I am excited to have launched a brand that I truly believe will be successful. From hard times we forge beautiful things. Difficult times, no matter how challenging, can always present opportunities.
Where is your most productive space?
If I have a deadline, my kitchen table is my most productive space. I can spread out all the papers I need. For creative times, I prefer the couch with my vinyls playing in the background.
What is your current training routine/philosophy?
“We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. Number two is think. You should spend sometime in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. That’s a heck of a day.” Jimmy Valvano
What is your favourite restaurant in Vancouver?
Chewies in Kitsilano. The best place to have a drink and relax after a long day.
What is your most memorable experience in Vancouver?
The first time I came back to Vancouver since I was little was during the Vancouver Olympics. I remembered walking around the city after a hockey game wearing my dad’s old Canucks jersey. I could remember the appreciation & loyalty they had towards my dad and the Canucks. I felt like I was home. I knew I would be back someday.
What book would you recommend for a young man to read?
If I am reading, 90% of the time it’s an autobiography. Mike Tyson, Bob Dylan, Nelson Mandela, Andrea Agassi, Phil Knight and, Frank Sinatra are all great books on the ups and downs of life and how they succeeded
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