Today, The Gleaner continues its series on individuals, aged 20-29, who have successfully started business ventures and are experiencing steady growth. If you know someone who should be featured, email [email protected].
“Pressure makes diamonds” is the age-old saying, but in the modern era, two 23-year-old friends of a similar stylish mind have created a jewel of equal standing.
Touissaint James and France-Roy Brown co-founded Club Diamonds Clothing in 2013 to the start-up tune of US$180.
“We are both fashion enthusiasts, and as such, we aimed to stand out when attending parties, fetes, and so on. To accomplish this, we began designing and making our own clothing. Within a few months, our designs became very popular with friends and people outside of our social circles. It was at this point that one of our friends suggested we take it a bit more seriously and develop it into a business. The rest is as you see it now,” James told The Gleaner.
Club Diamonds Clothing specialises in providing bespoke male apparel and trendy ready-to-wear male clothing, as well as corporate clothing.
Having been acquainted since their early teens, both are past Ardennites and are currently enrolled at the University of Technology, where Brown is studying structural engineering and James undertaking architecture.
Although able to help themselves with needle and thread, both focus on the administrative aspect of the business and have a staff complement of five tailors, up from the initial two, to bring their ideas to fruition.
Brown stated: “It was not easy at first. We would use whatever savings we had to make what we could, whether salaries from jobs, or savings, or just hustling. Eventually, the business began to pay for itself, and we were able to move up to the next goal. We’d have to save again and invest more money until we got to our next goal, and have just continued using that process to get to where we are today.”
All Club Diamonds’ transactions are currently done online via their website, app, or social media, and subsequent deliveries are made.
Music mogul Kanye West and Karl Lagerfeld, creative director and head designer for fashion houses Chanel and Fendi, both serve as sources of inspiration for the pair of creative minds.
“They’re both very unique in their expression of fashion and I admire their belief in their own vision,” stated James.
A BRAND FOR ALL AGES
With regards to market, Brown and James said majority support have been coming from the 18-to-28-year-old bracket, but admitted that persons of all ages were now gravitating to their brand.
When asked about the feeling derived from pursuing a path they have always admired from a business perspective, Brown stated that “It’s a feeling of satisfaction and pride. It’s always a joy to see how excited people get about our items. However, this type of business can also be very stressful and demanding, but you do what you must for the dream and the team. I’m very passionate about entrepreneurship and design and this particular company incorporates both.”
In imparting words of wisdom to business aspirants in the field, James advised: “Believe in your vision and always remain consistent. Consistency is key in any business, but more so in this one.”
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– Being able to work with talented, renowned musical personalities such as Protoje and Dunwell.
– Being able to work alongside talented people like friend Chris Gayle in developing and launching their website and mobile app.
– Being able to start a business with a good friend and have people all over the world placing orders. Shipping to international clients is always a joy.
MUST-DO LIST FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
– Always be on time with your commitments.
– Customer service is extremely important.
– Always ensure you have emergency funds to fall back on in the event of a transaction going bad, or a client, such as a corporate company, not paying right away.
NO-NOS FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
– Don’t leave anything for the last minute.
– Don’t just dive head first into business. Do your research and test the market.
– Don’t ever sell something that isn’t good quality. Reputation is everything. It takes years to establish and seconds to tarnish.