In our fifth installment of the Business Spotlight, allow me to take you inside the mind of a young entrepreneur, who's aspirations include disrupting the fashion industry and redefining style. What started out with humble beginnings, is morphing into the hopes of becoming a high end fashion and luxury industry leader. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Aaron Clark of the M.V.H. Clothing brand, let's dive in, shall we?
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How did the idea for your business come about?
When I was a teenager my uncle formed a group titled M.V.H., standing for Most Valuable Hustler. In early 2017, I lost a job working for a bank and was right at the stage of expressing my entrepreneurial interest. My uncle gave me full permission to use the phrase; I boldly stated "I’m going to now start my own business." I had a love for real fashion and many other things, such as real estate, owning gas stations, food truck franchises, etc. With careful thinking and consideration, I landed on beginning with my own brand of fashion.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How did you come up with the name of your business?
I went online to register a trademark for M.V.H. and/or Most Valuable Hustler and caught some push back. It was not until I went on to purchase a domain name which gave me the two options: M.V.H. Clothing or M.V.H. Attire. I felt attire would showcase the sporty feel, so I appropriately chose M.V.H. Clothing.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - When did you start your business?
Although I began in late April of 2017 selling my first product two months after, in my eyes that is when M.V.H. Clothing officially became a business. I figure the times I scheduled meetings with different screen-printing companies and designers to fully understand the business itself, which accounts for time started before any merchandise debuted. For me, it is all about the seed that I plant!
T-Shirt Wholesaler -Can you describe your business? Location, Size, Number of Employees, Etc?
M.V.H. Clothing is a black owned and operated clothing brand, birthed in the great city of Chicago. The company’s focus is to provide luxury unisex gear for babies, toddlers, teens, and adults; all while incorporating leather as an essential fabric to help represent the brand. Currently, I work alongside four members: Brianna, Markel, Rahien, and Anthony, individuals who are well versed in fashion. Together we create designs, select color patterns, cover financial aspects, and marketing (which is very important). We are the future of M.V.H. Clothing and every aspect of the business is essential.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What motivates you?
There are many things that motivate me, starting with me! Secondly, I would like to say my loved ones, and just knowing that what I do now sets the stage for those who will follow in my entrepreneurial footsteps. Keeping my dreams alive and knowing what I am aiming to reach and constantly adapting; has to be my biggest motivator. I just do not believe in giving up.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - Can you describe your typical customer?
Currently, it is hard to describe my typical customers. In the process of starting everything, I switched gears by changing productivity and merchandise that we offer. This allowed me to gather multiple crowds of various age groups and backgrounds. A major goal for my business is to obtain similar customers that shop at retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdales.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What kind of culture exists in your organization and how did you establish it?
Keeping in mind that I have been in the shoes of those who work a 9-5 and endure a lot from the jobs. I want to be the best partner, teammate, or boss for that matter, while providing a healthy work environment. So as the business grows, the plan is to be simple with these rules: be yourself, be respectful, be honest, always be presentable, and treat others how you want to be treated. These things are not just important in business, but in life. It will also contribute to outstanding creativity and customer service. Our goal is to become a heavy hitter in fashion retail.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What have your biggest challenges been and how have you overcome them?
I would say the biggest challenge has been learning the business from scratch and all the things that go into building a successful fashion brand, along with the legal aspects. I jumped into things not knowing anything but the basics of business I learned in college. At the time, I figured I knew a thing or two and let my intuition get ahead of me. As a result, I spent more money than needed for startup cost. I did not have anyone in my corner, because I am truly the first of my family to enter this field. It has been a true learning experience and forever will be as long as I continue.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - What sets your business apart from the competition?
Creativity and originality is what sets M.V.H. Clothing apart. We are able to look into what the other luxury brands are producing and the trends they are setting, then say “we can make something similar with a twist.” The end result comes out to be something better that is always original with that classic and sleek look that can last a lifetime. I personally like to buy clothes I think will stand out and last in my wardrobe. At some point, M.V.H. clothing will have the world wearing its collectibles, helping set the latest trends.
T-Shirt Wholesaler - How do you define business success? Is it money? Freedom? Influence? Creative expression? Something Else?
Business success can fall under the category of both freedom and influence: freedom allows you to direct your vision while influence gives you the power to set the “norm”. Adapting to the culture of the fashion industry, constantly changing will always keep you in the race to becoming the stand-up brand.
I’d like to take this moment to personally thank Aaron on the insightful journey he has taken us on. He is planning on releasing his new and updated fashion line sometime this year. If you’d like to stay up to date on his company’s happenings or their latest releases, be sure to follow them on Instagram. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, thanks again Aaron!