Renowned Clothing, is a streetwear luxury brand founded by John Dean from Akron, Ohio in 2011. Within a year, Renowned Clothing gained a large fan base and expanded their product line. John Dean tells us about the brands background, shares with us valuable lessons when expanding your line, the importance of brand loyalty and more.
TM: When did you start Renowned Clothing and where did the idea of the name originate from?
John Dean: The idea for Renowned came about during my senior year in high school when I would walk down the hall telling everybody I was a celebrity or that I was famous. With my passion for fashion, I combined the name of Renowned with my ideas and Renowned Clothing was born.
TM: What inspired you create a luxury line of streetwear tees in a time where outrageous, wild themes are trending in the streetwear clothing industry?
JD: I decided to go with luxurious tees because I felt the fashion industry was missing a brand that successfully combined both luxury and streetwear. We want to combine THE best materials in the world with graphics and cut and sew pieces. The wild themes are a trend right now, but Renowned doesn’t focus on trends, we just try to be as original as possible.
TM: How important do you think it is to stay loyal to your brand and not compromise to “trends”?
JD: I think it’s one of the main aspect of a brand, how loyal you are to yourself and what your brand stands for. If you’re not loyal to yourself then how can you expect a fan base to be loyal to your product? We don’t follow trends because trends come and go. We want to perfect our brand, to be a brand that is timeless and last the test of time.
TM: What are your thoughts on brands that change their image to conform to mainstream fashion to make fast sells, as oppose to taking risks and possibly creating the next greatest design?
JD: Fast money in our opinion is, most of the time, not good money! I’ve learned in this fashion business that you have to be patient and perfect your craft! Focus on your brand and its values and not the “Quick Customer”. I believe that if you stay focused on building your brand for the long run, your sells will be beyond what you can imagine.
TM: Your first collection gives a clear representation of the essence of Renowned Clothing, which is key for a successful brand. Explain the inspiration behind your current collection and your design process.
JD: Our current summer 2012 collection encompasses what our brand represents! The Mascot Tiger is a symbol of beauty, royalty and power, which all are characteristics of Renowned! The SuperRND tee shows off the superman graphic, in which superman is the crème of the crop when it comes to superheroes! He is a household name and has great brand value. Our most popular design, Modeles De Chaines, is our way of presenting our luxurious side! It illustrates who we are as a brand and whom we aim to serve.
TM: What steps did you take to market your brand?
JD: You may find this funny, but we started off Renowned by making clay chains from clay that we bought from a craft store. We started handing the chains out and suddenly everybody at school wanted em! From that point on, Renowned has always been something that people like to own! Other ways we market are word of mouth and social media. We have gained a lot of fans through the online market and we will continue to focus our marketing efforts on that specific market.
TM: What were some of the challenges that you faced and how did you overcome them?
JD: Some challenges I’ve run into were balancing my school life with Renowned. Me being a student, I sometimes find it challenging to promote and build my brand while trying to be a full time student. I overcome this obstacle by just realizing were my priorities are and cutting a lot of free time from my schedule.
TM: Something unique about your brand is that along with selling t-shirts, you also sell fashionable snake skin iPhone cases. What inspired you to dive into selling iPhone accessories as oppose to hats or jackets?
JD: We choose to dive into the iPhone accessories world because we saw an advantage in that market! There weren’t many brands diving into the smart phone market and we seized the opportunity. We also had a very unique idea of combining a luxury material such as snakeskin with an everyday device, making it convenient and easy to put on and replace.
TM: When do you think is the right time for a t-shirt line to expand and venture into selling other products?
JD: I think the time is appropriate when your shirts are selling off the charts and you have built up a loyal fan base that loves your product. Once you see a large following for the tees, experiment with other products that are similar to your target market.
TM: What do you think are the biggest mistakes that people make when starting a t-shirt brand?
JD: A LOT of people think this is an easy business to get into! You have to be very patient and very focused for your shirt line to become a household name. Also a lot of people opt to use the cheaper products to keep cost low! I think the sacrifice lowers people’s perception of the brand, which overall is a bad move in our opinion.
TM: In the few years that you have been running Renowned Clothing, what are the top five important lessons that you learned?
JD: 1.Stay motivated and focused. 2.Know who your selling to (Target Market). 3.Always keep the consumer in mind. 4.Quick Dollars aren’t the best Dollars, Patients is key. 5.Have fun with what you’re doing. This is a very fun business and can be very lucrative.
TM: Those are some great tips! What can we expect from you in the future? Any collaborations or upcoming projects in the works?
JD: We are working on some MAJOR collaborations with some pretty big companies. We hope all goes well with them as well as introducing a women’s line in the spring, thanks to one of our lovely designers. We are also finishing up a new subdivision of Renowned, which will be called RND by John Dean, which will focus on more cut and sew pieces and simplified graphics. Renowned Clothing has some big projects ahead so STAY TUNED and STAY RENOWNED.