In 2018, my brother and I came together to create our first brand, 9fifty7. We chose the name because our parents were born in 1957 and had nine children, so the name held significant meaning for us. As we discussed ideas for our brand, I reached out to a friend who owned his own factory in LA to see if he could manufacture our products. He agreed, so I quickly booked a ticket to meet with him the following day. I shared my design concepts and target price, and he said he needed three weeks to produce samples.
After anxiously waiting for three weeks, I tried to contact him but he never answered. Eventually, I found him at a trade show in NYC, where he made excuses and apologized for not being able to meet our target price. I was disappointed not only in his unprofessionalism but also because he copied our designs for his own brand.
From this experience, I learned the importance of never relying on others for help when building a brand. We should always invest our own time and effort into our work because that's what makes it truly valuable. Despite this setback, we found another factory in LA to manufacture our products, but it turned out to be a disaster. The factory gave us false delivery dates, stole over $7k from us, and the cost of the jeans was too high for our intended retail price.
However, I believe that failure is an essential part of the journey to success. It's easy to see successful people in their prime, but we often overlook the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their work to get there. Failure is a chance to learn and grow, and I believe that turning failures into success is the ultimate achievement. In the end, we must realize that the only person who can hold us back from achieving our dreams is ourselves.