It's an entertaining turn of events full of valuable lessons and self-reflection that has led me down the path to launching an Infant/Toddler/Kid's digital clothing line. However, to achieve great things, two things are needed: a crazy plan, and not quite enough time.
One evening I was wearing a shirt decorated as my childhood dinosaur wallpaper. I had actually designed this particular piece myself for my college roommates’ internet-based apparel company that I had invested in a couple of years earlier (You can read more about that brand and its wild beginnings here at Shirtwascash). I was minding my own business and enjoying the concert when a lady approached me to vindictively inform me that I looked like a man-child. Instead of responding with a retort of my own, it was at that moment I had the quintessential "AHA!'' breakthrough and was flooded with thoughts. I'm sure she was convinced that she was triumphant in her quest to bring me down as I immediately had a thousand-yard stare and dazedly wandered off into the crowd. Rather than dwell on the negativity of one person, I looked all the positive and immediately my wheels began to spin.
Adults create and utilize various outlets to express their individualism, especially with apparel. Why are we not giving children the same? Look around at any of the conventional retailers and you will see how uninspired they are, with little emphasis on the customer experience. It was right then and there in the middle of a concert that everything came together. I decided to take all the knowledge I possessed regarding digital apparel, USA manufacturing, and E-commerce to launch a kids' clothing line that answers all of these questions. Before I could even make my way to the other side of the venue, I was researching available domain names. With some sort of cosmic intervention, Tiny Human Clothing flashed into my mind and a quick check revealed that the domain was in fact available. Convinced that someone else was going to purchase my domain and flounder my brilliant idea, I scooped it up in the middle of the concert, glued to my phone while facing the wrong direction. So thank you for the negativity, random rude lady, you have inspired more than you will ever know.
I spent many months toiling in the idea generation phase. It’s easy to get hung here, especially if you are the type who likes to dream big. It’s fun to imagine all the potential possibilities and what-ifs. I also had to sprinkle any progress in along with my other pre- existing businesses that had more demanding needs daily. This is a common trap that most people with an idea that never sees the light of day fall into. It’s easier to make concessions and continue to plan big, but when it comes down to it, you need to pull the trigger. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and if you don't get up off the couch, then an idea is just an idea.
Another mistake for entrepreneurs is being crippled by perfectionism. It wasn’t until I saw the quote “Done is better than Perfect” that made me realize this is where I was at. I had spent the better part of a year putting together a master plan and hammering out all the fine-tooth details but I was still no closer to a launch date. Upon reading this quote I pondered on its meeting for some time and came to the realization that my perfectionism was simply a symptom of not wanting to face judgment or failure. I had spent so much time putting together all these elaborate business ideas that the thought of it all being for not was a hard pill to swallow. I blocked this out be consistently using my “perfectionist” attitude as the reason for never setting an official launch date. Coming to this realization was a liberating and exciting moment for me. I completely was at peace knowing not everything has to be perfect and it will be okay to make mistakes if I am willing to learn from them. The next day I set a challenging, yet realistic launch date for an open to the public storefront.
I am sharing this story because I believe it's important to encourage other people to step outside of their comfort zone and go for broke. No one can guarantee success, but if I can make a few kids happy with some really unique clothing that they will cherish, then all the effort would have been worth it.
A little about the business. We produce 100% of everything at our vertically integrated print-on-demand production facility in Morton, IL. The finished product is commercial-grade USA made clothing that is unlike anything a majority of people have seen or felt. Years of global supply chain and manufacturing experience for a fortune 50 company have helped shape the foundations of this domestic apparel manufacturing setup, an industry that has been decimated by overseas production for the past few decades. These are all things that I am passionate about and have infused into Tiny Human Clothing. We have no brick and mortar locations other than our production facility. All of our products are print on demand, meaning we do not manufacture the order until an order is placed.
You can read more about our guiding principles HERE.