Posted on August 25 2017
Before we dive into introductions, there is something we must discuss. You may have noticed that the selection of clothing on Inverse Culture has decreased.
Over the past 3 months we have been performing a purge of the highest order. All suppliers that once took over 3 weeks delivery - gone.
And from over a stock of 800 of the slickest streetwear items we have reduced it to 12.
Yep. 12 products from 4 brands.
It's quality over quantity from here on out folks, and Rude Vogue is first up on the roster. This Canadian brand has had quite a fascinating story and how Matt, the brainchild found his clothing into the hands of OVO artists, NBA players and even the biggest NFL player in the world. Read the story straight from the horse's mouth right here:
So I started Rude Vogue here in Saskatoon, SK Canada close to 5 years ago. The word Rude in the brand name Rude Vogue is short for Rudimentary, which explains my like and use of simple & clean design and colorways.
My first few years were pretty slow, as is every start up company. Sales were only online and locally through friends and family, and friends of friends. Also I was new to creating and producing pieces, as well as designing using graphic programs. I knew I wanted to build a brand, so I took the time to just work at it, study, practice, learn as much as I could. Try and fail, learn from my failed effort and do it again, but do it right. My first and early work seemed great at the time, but as I learned more and created more pieces I would notice things like the cresting size was too large, or some colors just didn't look great together. I was happy that this started happening though, I was learning what looked good and what didn't, and sales started increasing with producing better pieces.
I'm the lone owner and operator for the brand, and I'm fine with that. I feel it's more of a personal connection, more of a 'From me to you' sort of thing. I've very reachable through email and DM, and love interacting with anyone who's supporting or has purchased any items. I do the designing myself, as well as the production. I have a full time job that I work Monday to Friday to help fund the brand, and before my day shift starts I'm in the shop from 5am-9am working on the brand and again when I'm home in the evening usually from 7pm- 12/1am (depending on the day and how much I have to do). I love the work though. It does get tough, but I find those hours I'm in the shop designing, printing, or producing items and orders... I feel at peace.
Odell Beckham Jr wearing the Vibes cap - get it right here
About 2 years ago I happened to get in touch with a few players in the NBA and NFL, which all happened to be from Miami (my favourite team is the Miami Heat, so that may have had something to do with it haha). Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat, as well as Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins happened to wear some items I had sent them. I then developed a pretty good relationship with Jarvis where I would send out product quite often, which he then passed a hat on to Odell Beckham Jr, which then blew up and instantly became my best selling hat. I thanked Jarvis for that, and have been forever grateful for his advice and support. One of the most down to earth guys I've met and couldn't be happier for him and his family with the success he's having.
Drake wearing the PND x Rude Vogue collab for Houston Appreciation Weekend
Around this time is when I had designed a t shirt for Houston Appreciation Weekend, along with PartyNextDoor and his crew. The shirts were initially for PND and his fans, but the story I was told was the Drake said 'Na were keepin these', and he ended up wearing the tee on stage to perform the next night, along with passing a few to some people in his OVO crew. That whole event also helped gain my brand some credibility.
Last year was a big year for online sales, and I was always nervous if I would be able to keep that momentum rolling into 2017, or would it just fall off. It's actually been an even bigger year than last year, and I'm forever grateful for it. It gets tough to keep up with the online orders, along with working a full time job and trying to squeeze life somewhere in there, but I love the grind. I love it, and wouldn't trade it for the world. I get total satisfaction seeing a repost of someone wearing one of their purchases, or hearing in a message or email how much they love their purchase. That's the most satisfying part for me, the finances come second.
This year I was lucky to have had the most reputable streetwear shop in Saskatoon approach me to start stocking Rude Vogue. It's about 4 months in and we're on our 5th large restock and also have my first large shelf display in their store as well.
Now to the pros and cons about Online sales vs Retailers. Like I had mentioned, this year alone has been very busy online for sales. So between that, and the full time job I've been kept very busy, but now throw in retail orders consisting of 40-60 items per order, things can get hectic. Also on top of all that hard work, you're actually making less per item based on the fact you've sold the items to them at a lower wholesale cost. But the upside is you're not having to sell the item, the store does. And it also could be seen by a lot more walk thru traffic. It's really hard to say if one is better than the other because sure, online you would be making more profit per item and wouldn't be nearly as much work, but with wholesale, you're getting a good some of money up front if it is a large order, without the worry and work of trying to sell it, but you lose some profit because of the wholesale pricing you've provided them.
And there you have it! What a phenomenal story indeed.
See the Rude Vogue collection on Inverse Culture.