Author: Rachel Hoffman, BSU student
While many people use Facebook as a way to kill time, Carver native Aidan Ryan used the popular social media platform as a tool to build his thriving business, Lace Life Society. An avid sneaker-collector since high school, Aidan started a Facebook group called Lace Life that quickly grew to nearly 5,000 members. Upon realizing how many fans he had accumulated, Aidan began designing his own street wear line in 2018, appropriately named Lace Life Society. Aidan and I sat down to talk sneakers, online communities, and the importance of self-expression through fashion.
Q: Can you tell me about how Lace Life Society came to be? I understand that it began as a Facebook group, but how did you decide to start creating your own designs?
A: Well, I’ve always been into fashion. I realized that I had a real passion for sneakers around 2013. I wanted to do something that would be my own, and I always used the hashtag #LaceLifeSociety on my posts in the Facebook group, so I decided to name my company that. I’ve been working on Lace Life Society since 2017.
Q: Who would you say the typical Lace Life Society customer is?
A: If you wear LLC, you got to be a sneakerhead. LLC customers have a sense of streetwear style, and they know how to finesse simplistic pieces into a bunch of different outfits. Lace Life Society is for people who wants to feel good about themselves and express themselves through clothing.
Q: What was your first release like?
A: When I first started out, I made 3 different types of t-shirts that all sold out. Then I made hats, and those sold out too.
Q: Wow, it sounds like you had a lot of success when you first started out. I know that your first customers were originally from the Facebook group, but how do you find customers now?
A: Social media is everything! Without social media platforms, no one would know what my brand is about. I find people who I think would like my apparel and I direct message them. Other than that, word of mouth is huge. I hand out my business cards to people that I see whose style I like.
Q: I think it’s interesting that you reach out to fashionable people online AND in person, you’re a great salesperson for Lace Life Society. Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the right tools?
A: Yes. Facebook and Instagram let you target your content super specifically. But that takes capital, so I can’t do it all at once.
Q: If you could start over from day 1, what would you do differently?
A: If I could start over from day 1, I wouldn’t have bitten off more than I can chew. I invested a lot of money up front thinking that the momentum would be consistent. I was sitting on product for longer than I expected. If I could go back, I would follow trend. For example, I would offer tanks tops in the summer and hats in the winter. I didn’t really have a plan when I started and having a mapped-out game plan would have been easier.
Q: Lace Life Society has been growing in popularity for years now, what is your end goal for the company?
A: I would love to be the brand ambassador for Lace Life Society. Fully dressed in LLS, setting up pop up shops in different sneaker boutiques.