I had the opportunity to ask Mark Capicotto of Glamour Kills a few questions about starting a clothing company and this is what he had to say.
How much money did you start your clothing line with?
Glamour Kills: I started off with $300.00-$400.00. I really didn’t have alot of capitol to start off with. I was working as pizza delivery boy while living at my parents house. Late at night, I worked on the company. I invested all the money that I made while delivering pizzas into Glamour Kills Clothing.
What were the biggest set backs when you were starting out?
Glamour Kills: The biggest set back I faced was the lack of capitol. In a way, having a lack of capitol helped me. It forced me to learn inexpensive-new forms of marketing and advertising. Still, until this day I use many of the same techniques to market and advertise.
What are some of the things that you wish you knew when you started?
Glamour Kills: Everything… haha. I literally went into this with only knowing how to design. I didn’t know how to run a business, print a shirt, or even make an invoice…let alone, know anyone in the fashion and music industry to help me out. I still learn something new everyday.
My friend Ryan Miller from Carraway clothing wrote an article about Sponsoring Bands, is there anything you want to add?
Glamour Kills: He hit the nail on the head with that article! I love Ryan Miller :).
How important has sponsoring bands been for the growth of your company?
Glamour Kills: Very importantant. The exposure gained through sponsoring a band is astronomical. When fans of a certain band can associate your company with the band, they then in return, become fans of your company. If it wasn’t for the bands that we sponsor, Glamour Kills Clothing wouldn’t be where it is today. Overtime, we have grown extremely close with All Time Low, Boys Like Girls and The Maine. Not only do we work with these bands on a professional level, but we have also built lasting friendships.
What do you wish you were better at when you started?
Glamour Kills: I would have to say talking like a businessman, even now I have trouble. Sometimes, you have to do the occasional “Big” meeting and for some reason, I have trouble with using the word “dude” or any word along that lines. Oh yeah, and not to mention… negotiating. When I first started Glamour Kills I learned quickly that you have to haggle(so to speak) to get stuff done. I wasn’t very good at that.
How important is doing something unique in the clothing market?
Glamour Kills: When I first started Glamour Kills Clothing, companies such as Atticus and Famous Stars and Straps printed on dark/muted color tees with 1-2 color print for their designs. Atticus and Famous were worn everywhere. I even grew up wearing Atticus and Famous myself. When I decided to start my company I wanted to do something new and different other than design something that catered to the stigma of “emo” kids, who wore all black (for the lack of a better term). I started doing big prints with bright colors to break the norm. Now this trend has become very popular. I will always try to do my best and push the envelope. If you notice, Glamour Kills is trying to go for a different feel from previous lines with a more serious approach. It is EXTREMELY important to develop your designs as your brand grows because everyone isn’t going to want to wear bright pink forever.
How effective have the MTV ads been?
Glamour Kills: Haha. I wouldn’t really say they were effective, but they weren’t a waste. We were offered the opportunity to run a bunch of ad spots nationally for the holidays. We wanted to do something fun and humourous for our fans and customers to see and say “Oh sh*t Glamour Kills is on TV”!
What is the most effective marketing you have done?
Glamour Kills: Using social networking sites. They’re free and help you reach your target demographic directly. On a side note, Tumblr and Twitter are going to be huge. Get on it :)!
What is the best way to go about getting your brand into a retail store?
Glamour Kills: You have to first work hard at getting your name out there. Once you develop your own customer base, you will start being noticed by larger retail companies. You can attend fashion trade shows until the cows come home, but if your sell factor isn’t there, then your product won’t sell.
When did you have your first taste of success and felt like you made it?
Glamour Kills: Well, there are a few moments.
When Zumiez picked up Glamour Kills and started distributing our goods nationally. It made me take a step back and really say “Wow, I did this”.
When I saw Cartel wearing Glamour Kills on MTV. A band that I grew up loving. Seeing my designs being worn by them on national TV really knocked my socks off!
I sold shirts at a local show a few years back and one of my personal idols, Mike Kinsella was performing his solo project, Owen. He walked over to my table and said “This is some of the best looking band merch that I have ever seen”. Haha, well it wasn’t band merch, but it was still awesome.
Are there any words of wisdom you want to give to any entrepreneurs trying to start a clothing line?
Glamour Kills: You have to play the game to change the game.