The Birth of New Lyfe
Posted on 17 February 2014
"A question that sometimes drives me crazy: am I or are the others crazy?" - Albert Einstein
Einstein is a hero of mine, this quote has always resonated with me.
I can't tell you how many times I have been called crazy. For some reason, I have always had this strange way of thinking. I have been called arrogant and egotistical many times, simply because I think I can do anything. When people tell me I can't do something, it just gives me more drive to do it anyway. Honestly, it makes me sad that more people don't believe in themselves more.
So when Josh and I had the idea for New Lyfe, we applied the same type of thinking. At first glance, there was every reason to believe that New Lyfe would fail. Here we are, two guys, with no experience in the fashion industry, diving head first into a clothing line. Sometimes when we talk about it we have to laugh, because it has all been such a blur and even we are amazed by the growth and success of New Lyfe. We get asked the same question a lot - "how have you guys done it?" It has always been tough for us to answer that question, but I will give it my best shot.
New Lyfe started at Outback steak house - no rules just right biatch.
Josh has always been into fashion and I have always been into websites and more specifically internet marketing. So we had that going for us. With that being said, New Lyfe started as nothing else but an idea. We had dinner at Outback, and decided we were gonna do it. We each put a thousand bucks into our first few designs.
Josh is the funny looking one with the sunglasses. I'm the handsome one on the right.
We didn't know any designers. So my sister drew our first two designs. The Hipster Sugar Skull and the Bettie Sugar Skull were our first two designs. We found a designer who had experience with fashion design and we started our relationship with him.
From that point Josh took it upon himself to find a printer, buy lots of samples of shirts so we could get an idea about what materials we could use within our budget. We wanted to test them all out to make sure we didn't sell shitty t-shirts. I got to working on the site. Somewhere around this time we realized that we would need pictures on the website. Even looking back at it makes me smile because we had an "oh fuck" moment. Neither of us had ever been behind a camera. I can't believe we didn't realize sooner that we would need pics of our clothes. We started off using some shitty Nixon camera to take our first round of pics. We didn't have any models so we had to learn how to model, and quickly. Truth be told we still don't know any models, and we usually just drag our friends into modeling for us and pay then with free shirts. Luckily we have amazing friends and we use a better camera now.
Slowly but surely, we started making sales. We were sending out packages out in standard USPS packaging, and then we came up with the #beeteam. The idea came about very organically. I thought of the bee being our mascot for "bee free", "bee unique", "bee... whatever the fuck you want to be." Josh took it a step further with the beeteam concept. Shit took off for real.
We just kept chipping away at it. I was always real picky about putting personal touches on everything, and treating customers as people. So we ordered specialized packaging, and Cat (the mom of the group) writes quotes on every package. Every single one, just to show people we put a personal touch on everything we do.
Now... if I am coming across as if we have made all the right choices. Please, don't let me fool you. The first few months we kept a win loss column on the board. Every time we fucked up, or did something stupid, we put a notch in the loss column. Therefore every time we did something right, we put a notch in the win column. At our lowest point we had 26 losses and 3 wins. It was bad. Truth is we just had no idea what we were doing. But the only way to learn, is to try. We learn best through pain. Let me tell you, burning money that you don't have, really sucks. You learn quick.
Somehow, through all the madness, Josh had a knack for conceptualizing good designs. It can be tough trying to have someone else draw the picture you see in your head, but we stuck with it. The HEROin tank, the Original Gangster shirt, the Menace to Sobriety design. It was all Josh. I think out of everything, that has been our greatest accomplishment, is creating designs that people can relate too. It takes the pressure off, because the designs sell themselves. We really haven't had to convince people that our shit was cool. I think it's cool, but that doesn't matter. Our fan base thinks it's cool, and it's such a good fucking feeling when we get Facebook and Instagram messages from people giving us compliments and praising what it is we are doing.
Once we finally had our feet underneath us, we kept the foot on the gas pedal. Josh continues to manage the inventory, communicate with the printer and the designers. I continue to write content and do the marketing which drives sales. The personal touch we put into our work really has been a huge difference maker. We all take the credit for that, because everyone has been so supportive and helpful when it comes to providing what we need.
We have met so many people. Some of these people I have never met face to face, but I feel like I know them. I know about their lives, their families, what they are dealing with. They tell us that New Lyfe gives them hope. That's a very humbling experience. I guess I still see myself as just some guy, but New Lyfe is bigger then that. New Lyfe is an idea, and idea's are bullet proof.
If there is anything to be learned from all this, it is that you can do the same thing. YOU!!! YES I AM TALKING TO YOU, THE PERSON READING THIS!!! Become a doctor, or an airplane pilot. Shit, start your own clothing line. We will even help you out. It takes ungodly amounts of work, and it consumes a lot of your thought, but you can do it. Right this minute, I would love to be walking my dog on this beautiful south Florida night, but, New Lyfe needs me. New Lyfe needs you. New Lyfe wants you to be inspired, and to pour your energy into this world.
Without ideas, and without dedication, what is even the point of being alive?
THESE SHIRTS ARE AWESOME!! And I LOVE your story! I would wear these out! I will be checking back to see when you get some more in. I want the Original Gangster and Progress Not Perfection! I would love to talk to y’all about a design for our newly forming Faces and Voices of Recovery Advocacy group in Coastal Alabama!
Amazing to hear your story! I’m in awe of what you guys are doing. And Josh, it’s so good to see you doing so well and living your dream!