Instead of filling out job applications and anxiously preparing for tedious interviews, Jake Bailey is creating his own life opportunities. The sophomore marketing communication major launched his own clothing brand last month, exuding what he says is essential for any business: drive.
Rite Brothers Clothing was created as a learning experience, said Bailey, who explained that he did not have a “passion for clothing” but, rather, a desire to grow as an entrepreneur in a college setting.
“I knew, as an entrepreneur, you’re going to fail 1,000 times before you succeed,” said Bailey. “So I might as well fail now while I can and learn these lessons rather than fail when I’m 30 years old and I can’t afford to take the risks.”
Bailey said the company is meant to serve as a brand, not just a clothing line. The line is based on the iconic forefathers of flight, the Wright Brothers. Bailey explained that the brothers, inventors of the airplane, inspired his business because of their ambition to succeed despite its limited resources.
With the restricted resources of an average college student, Bailey said he chose his product based on its high profit potential, low cost, and marketability. The urban street-wear line specializes in men’s fashion, with the possibility of expansion into women’s wear in the future, he said. The two shirt styles,“Vet Tee” and “Fliter Jet,” are $27 each and feature patriotic red, white, and blue details and artistic, airplane-like graphics.
“I wanted to build this to eventually be one of the large-scale urban streetwear companies that can be more universal,” said Bailey. “I don’t want to stay just in Boston or target it to West Coast people, and I want it to be more like something that has a strong
enough brand presence that it can be all across the U.S. and internationally.”
The brand is already on its way to success, according to Bailey. Since the launch, he said Internet traffic has gone up 1,000 percent, and Rite Brothers Clothing gained 135 followers on Twitter and 103 likes on Facebook by Wednesday night. The clothing line is sold in the Green Street Vault and online. Bailey said that sales have been exceptional.
“The best part was when people who weren’t my friends or family started hitting up our Twitter and saying that they loved our brand and wanted to buy our shirts,” Bailey said. “That was a cool feeling to know that people who don’t know me or know that I’m a college student are so devoted and invested [in] this brand.”
Since he registered his business in mid-September 2011, Bailey struggled to build the nine-person team he has now. He said that he “hired” a couple of Emerson students who were selfish and “in it for themselves,” which jeopardized his trust.
“I learned that you have to be careful about who you bring on,” he said. “The day that I realized that I couldn’t do this on my own was the day that we started to become successful.”
Among Bailey’s team members is Boston-based freelance artist, Kyle Mosher, who serves as the creative director and graphic designer. Mosher said he joined Bailey’s team, designing the logos and apparel graphics, because of Bailey’s work ethic and brand message. He said he sees the line achieving huge success in the future.
“The current line is almost sold out, which is a success in itself,” said Mosher. “I see Rite Brothers heading in a different direction, branching out from traditional street wear and becoming high-end lifestyle wear, embracing the ideals of passion, hard work, and dedication.”
Mosher also explained that Rite Brothers Clothing was a huge challenge because of the limited assets and time constraints. He said the biggest triumph has been launching a successful brand with those limitations.
Although building the team wasn’t easy, Bailey said he had support and inspiration from many sources. Derrick Cheung, CEO and co-founder of the Green Street Vault, said he was there for Bailey since Rite Brothers’ inception, offering advice and connections. Cheung also explained that as a retailer, he was thrilled to promote Bailey’s brand because of its positive message and unique look.
“Jake had approached us asking for advice on how to start a clothing brand, so we hooked him up with some artists and some advice, and he did it,” said the marketing communication senior. “The designs are sharp and diversifies the product mix.”
Nearing the end of the semester, Bailey said he is looking forward to his future business endeavors. He hopes Rite Brothers Clothing can expand into complete manufacturing, with denim, button down shirts, and women’s options. He is currently planning two additional businesses and hopes to run a consulting agency one day.
For those who dream of having their own company, Bailey shared some valuable advice.
“Nothing is holding you back,” he said. “No one owes you anything — you have to go out there and make it happen. No one is going to come and hand something to you, so why not? You have nothing to lose.”