“ I always try and make sure everyone who buys a shirt knows that it’s greatly appreciated and personally thank them”
Since launching earlier this year, Knock’s owner Justin Steuer has put a serious emphasis on social media and good ol’ relationship building to push his brand forward and is proving that being a nice guy can take you a long way. Knock Clothing is a brand that has managed to build a loyal following on their social sites and now as they gear up to drop their next line, is starting to make a serious name for itself.
What made you decide to start your own t-shirt label?
Something happened in my life that made me realize that my family won’t be around forever and that time is truly precious. I realized that if I didn’t start something now…I never would.
How long were you in the planning process before you officially launched?
I have always had ideas in the works, probably for years. But in terms of the Knock brand, it’s taken me only a few months.
There’s a huge learning curve involved in starting your own brand, how did you learn the in’s and out’s?
I’m lucky enough to have a few good friends who own a respectable clothing company who were able to help me out with a lot of the beginning issues and questions I had. I still go to them every now and then with questions and opinions. So I would say that having some sort of mentor is key.
What was the biggest obstacle in your way of launching your label? And how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle with launching Knock was actually… just starting. It’s really easy to plan and make designs and say you are going to do it. But to actually throw the money down and take that dive is a huge obstacle to overcome and it was for me.
Marketing for t-shirt labels is hugely important, what was your marketing plan when you launched your brand?
My marketing plan was based around social networking and sponsoring bands and such. It seems to be doing well so far, although I’m always constantly thinking of ways to keep the marketing fresh.
There are so many t-shirt labels out there, with new ones coming out every day…what do you think makes a label stand out and make a name for itself?
I think it comes down to the personal and professional relationships they have with the people who support them. Without those people you wouldn’t be anything. I always try and make sure everyone who buys a shirt knows that it’s greatly appreciated and personally thank them with a handwritten note or something of the sort. Also…a legit design on a fresh tee wouldn’t hurt either.
Is there one label out there you look at for inspiration and admire?
There are literally so many I look at for inspiration and and admire. So it’s really hard to pick just one. But since I have to I would have to say T.I.T.S. They have really expanded their brand and are always having promos and contests going on to keep people interesting and their brand growing.
Now that you’ve launched, is there anything you would have done differently?
To be honest…not really. I like how it’s been so far and wouldn’t change it for anything.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer for those out there who are wanting to/have recently launched their own label?
Make that dive into it and stick with it. There is a huge business aspect of running and establishing a brand a lot of people don’t really think about that will catch you by surprise if you aren’t ready, so make sure you read up. Also you are definitely not going to get rich overnight. You really just have to have fun and enjoy the relationships you create a long the way. There is nothing like it…So just enjoy it.
Where do you see your brand going in the next 3 years?
I’d still like to be grinding constantly and promoting, throwing contests, and helping people out. Maybe even start printing things myself. Who knows…maybe even some sort of brick and mortar shop if things go my way!