Author: Manie Navarro, BSU student
An interview with DeJorCo CEO Deshannah Temple on how her dream became a reality:
Are you from this local area?
I am originally from Boston, but I currently reside in Brockton, MA.
Tell me about your business. Why did you choose this line of business?
When I became a mom working the normal 9-5 was challenging with a newborn. One parent worked mornings and the other parent worked nights. I found myself missing my son terribly. There were moments I wanted to be a part of, moments I wanted to capture. Then one day, while working for a thrift store I thought about how everyone including myself throws away clothes and how those clothes could be sold. Realizing how much money we throw away constantly.
I decided to start taking donations off of Facebook from my friends and I began to receive beyond the amount of traffic I expected. At first this was amazing, the random sales, and being able to help another family who liked nice brands but could not afford to purchase at retail price. In my eyes it was definitely a win-win. Eventually, it started to slow down and I realized the market for used clothes just like anything else can come and go. So, I decided to start an online boutique for Men & Women, which is called DeJorCo. DeJorCo is the next FashionNova or BooHoo. I imagine DeJorCo being the place everyone goes to even just for socks or glasses if they need them. I want moms to know that it’s okay to take a risk, it’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and push yourself beyond your limits.
When did it start? What Year?
My release date was August 5th, 2020.
What was the toughest thing you went through when opening? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
The toughest thing I went through when opening was inventory. I was very hard on myself on getting more product and it was definitely hard for me to accept not making as much I as I expected I would. Every day I look at my son and I remember exactly why I started all of this to begin with. When it gets stressful and when I’m exhausted, I remember telling him I’m going to give him a big back yard to play in and ultimately my goal is to fulfill that promise.
If you had to start over from day 1 what would you have done differently? Or what was your most difficult challenge?
If I could restart and go back to day one, I would have definitely done more research. The importance of research and knowing the ins and outs of marketing is very important in the online world.
What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
The toughest part about having an online business in 2020 is that everyone is starting a business online. The challenge is making your product stand out. In 2020 there are a million people doing the same thing and as a result, promoting and marketing play a very huge part in it all.
If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it why would you suggest they at least give you a try ﬁrst? What makes you stand out?
In all honesty my brand stands out because I have amazing quality items at a very affordable and reasonable price. One of the challenges that comes with motherhood is looking at the price tag twice before you pick it up. When you go to DeJorCo, there is no thinking twice.
What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
The current way I bring in customers is by handing out a free item, handing out business cards, and constantly posting on different social media channels.
Has internet technology (website, online ads, social media, etc) played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
Personally I would say no, I can’t wait to get a physical location because promotion would not be needed as much. Sometimes all it takes is a car driving by. On social media, your image has to be very appealing before someone clicks. You also pay a lot of money in ads for that same purpose.
Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the
If I had the right tools and knew exactly what to do and how to do it, I would be way more successful in having an online boutique.
If you had to look 6 months to a year into the future where would you like to see your business be?
Six months to a year from now I’d like to see my business having consistent traffic. I’d like to make a minimum of $150 per day. I want DeJorCo to become everyone’s go to clothing store.
Author: Kyle Francis, BSU student
Are you in need of a local haircut? Do you like having the feeling of being comfortable and safe with your time inside a salon? Copper Rose Studio has all that and even more to make your experience an unforgettable one. I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with business owner and lead stylist Elaine Dalton, a local creator who shared with me her biggest challenges and inspirations while turning her dream job into reality. Elaine was born, raised, and currently resides in Dedham, she started working with her passion for hair almost seven years ago which taught her the flexibility of her skills. Not only has she built her clientele through previous salons but has also done a variety of home appointments and weddings as well! In July of this year, faced in the midst of a pandemic, Elaine decided to open the doors to Copper Rose Studio located in Canton, MA offering her clients coloring and hair styling services.
As the owner and sole stylist, she has found herself in the unique situation she worked so hard for. Not only does she have control of how well the shop is run, she also makes sure each haircut is everything desired as her customer consultations are specific and clear. Her desire to be her own boss is everything she wanted and now she gets to accomplish that! Crafting her dream shop in a pandemic created unique challenges that she learned to solve, with the delays in shipping faced country wide, stocking her shop with products became more and more difficult. Not only was stocking her shop with products challenging but also finding cleansing items as the pandemic drove many to be scarce in inventory. When I asked what got her through such unique challenges she responded, “constant positive feedback and support from family, friends, and clients pushed me through each and every roadblock”. I believe Elaine has everything needed to run her business by combining her optimism and welcoming personality, I was eager to learn of her aspirations as the future approaches.
Elaine is very excited with how things are turning out for Copper Rose; I was interested in any changes she’d make giving the chance to go back to day one. She was quick to announce that she wished she made the jump sooner! Giving her more time to prepare herself and the shop was on the top of her mind as opening day quickly approached. Not only has she helped myself and other South Shore resident to look their best, she also is advocate for the safety of animals. All of the products found in her shop are organic and never tested upon animals! The uniqueness of her shop doesn’t stop there as it only allows one client at a time which is perfect while social distancing is in effect. Her studio offers excellent parking and encourages hands free payment for each client to continue being safe and comfortable!
I was curious to see how social media played a role in her business’s success. Elaine uses both Instagram and Facebook to promote her services and she couldn’t be happier with how simple and accessible both platforms work for her. She is able to link her booking page in the bio which allows customers to locate her and pick which time works best for them. She has taken business seminars which further strengthened her social media presence and she is always finding new ways to draw an audience!
Upon reaching the end of my time with Elaine, I wanted to know her vision for the future even if was only six months to a year in advance. Her main priority going ahead is getting to know more clients and sooner rather than later receiving her master colorist certification. Her passion is always going to be supporting her clients and getting them the best results imaginable. Elaine is always excited to meet her clients and craft the style of your dreams. You deserve to be relaxed and cared for, let Elaine cater your style today!
Author: Brian Carreiro, BSU student
I had the pleasure to interview the owner and sole proprietor of “Resurrected Detailing”, Douglas Mendes. He is a very passionate business owner and he loves what he does. Many people overlook the idea of detailing their cars, but what Douglas says is, “detailing and maintaining your cars paint is just as important maintenance as a regular oil change.” Resurrected Detailing is a mobile automotive detailer. He travels all around Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and has done many jobs in the South Shore area before. He caters to the customer by coming to their door to detail their cars, which makes the service more convenient for the customer. This method of “mobile detailing” also benefits his business because it helps reach a larger consumer basis, rather than just his local area.
Douglas Mendes also has a large amount of experience and certifications for detailing cars. His enjoyment for detailing began when he was a kid and has been a part of his life ever since. Not only does he detail cars, but he will detail anything with paint, such as boats, motorcycles, and expensive Snap-On toolboxes. He has detailed a wide variety of cars, from cheaper cars and even up to a $150,000 BMW. He has detailed a truck a part of the Bristol 4th of July parade, and the truck ended up winning “Most Beautiful”. He has transformed so many cars from a nightmare to basically brand new again. He can restore your paintwork and interior. Most of his experience was done at a dealership that he used to work at, and he has had vast amounts of practice to get to the level of expertise he is at today.
Many customers also do not realize how much time and effort Douglas puts into detailing his cars. Some cars will take him up to 10 hours to complete, and that’s because he will treat the car as his own. And just the amount of products that he brings with him for detailing his cars is extremely immense. He has thousands of dollars in equipment and most customers do not realize how much time and money is needed. He has certain products for each certain car part. He’s so precise with his work that he even cleans the door jams and your engine bay. You also need to understand the different types of cars you're working on because not all cars have the same type of paint. He said “There are different paint thicknesses and you cannot just compound every car. You need to have years of experience to detailing a car, and it is not just as simple as washing your car with soap and water.”
What makes Douglas stand out from the competition is his work will always be quality. Most mobile businesses will brush over your car in 3 hours, but he will do his job more effectively and take up to 10 hours. His prices are a flat rate, regardless of what it is, so customers are not charged hourly. He always guarantees his customers satisfaction. He says “if you’re not happy with his work, then you don’t have to pay the full amount.” He also gives a warranty for some of his jobs. An example is if he restores your headlights and they get faded a year later, then he will come by and redo them free of charge.
A way he brings in new customers is through his work itself. Doug said, “yesterday I finished doing one car, and from me doing that car, 3 other customers contacted me to do theirs too.” Doug explains that that’s the major benefit of being a mobile detailing business because you can reach a larger audience. Resurrected Detailing has been an official business for about three years now, but he has been detailing for much longer than that. And he has worked in different areas of automotive detailing, such as, boat yards and dealerships.
The hardest part for Douglas starting his business was he didn’t have a trailer to carry around all of his products and supplies, but now he does have one which makes it much easier to carry his supplies around. The biggest challenge for him in 2020 was losing out on some customers because they obviously lost income, but not all of his customers lost their jobs. But the pandemic boosted his business in a way because he completely cleans your car inside and out, and that will make customers feel safer.
Doug does not have any social media, but he is on “Linked In.” He uses this to promote his business, along with word-of-mouth, plus his work speaks for itself to do the promoting.
For the future, Doug would like to eventually pick up a shop, but still keep the mobile aspect of his business. The shop would certainly help him in the winter because the chemicals in the products that he uses needs to be used in a certain temperature. He would also like to eventually hire employees, but Doug would like to still do most of the work because he is proud of his work and he does it a certain way.
Resurrected Detailing is a mobile car-detailing
business. To contact the owner, Douglas Mendes:
Author: Katherine Norton, BSU student
I had the pleasure of interviewing an old boss, as well as a family friend, Lucinda Banks. Lucinda owns I Design Hair Co in Weymouth, MA. Lucinda was born in New Hampshire but has lived in the South Shore since the sixth grade. My parents have been friends with Lucinda and her husband for as long as I can remember. She has been cutting my hair and my sister’s hair since we were little. So, last year when I had the chance to work for her I jumped on it.
Before Lucinda owned the salon, she had been a hair stylist at I Design for thirty years. She first knew she wanted to be a hairstylist in high school, so when she graduated, she went right to hairdressing school. After hairdressing school, she ended up at I Design. Fast forward thirty years, she had the opportunity to buy the salon and the entire building it was in. She decided she wanted to own the salon in 2014 because she loved working there and had lots of experience hairdressing, but also because it was a good investment with both of her sons going to college.
I Design is like a family. All of the employees have worked together forever and have a really strong bond. Since the stylists were, and are still, so close, this made it a little harder for Lucinda to find the balance of being a boss while not losing the dynamic she and the other stylists already had. The hardest thing for Lucinda when she bought I Design, was learning the business aspect of what goes into a hair salon. She had to learn more about taxes, new types of insurance, and financial statements when she finally took over.
As all small businesses are having to deal with the new rules and regulations regarding COVID-19, Lucinda is adjusting to these as well. The toughest part for Lucinda and the I Design family was having to shut down for about three months. All of the stylists missed seeing each other, and their clients while also not being able to make any money during that time. With some rules and regulations being lifted they are finally open again, but it is not the same as it was before. Lucinda is also adjusting to the fact that the salon cannot be at full capacity which means the stylists can’t see as many clients as they used to.
From January of 2019 to June of 2019, I worked at I Design as the receptionist. Working at I Design was one of the most fun and educational jobs I’ve ever had. I started working at I Design to help out while the other receptionist was having a baby and was on maternity leave. Lucinda was one of the best bosses I’ve ever worked for. She taught me so much about the business side of the salon while still keeping a friendly and fun environment for me to learn in. This job was where I first learned about balancing the books. I also learned a lot about customer service and making sure the customers and stylists were comfortable while they spent their time at I Design. Lucinda and I still keep in touch to this day, and I would recommend anyone to see for yourself how great I Design Hair Company is.
I Design Hair Company is located at 825 Broad St. in Weymouth, MA.
Contact them via:
Facebook: I Design Hair Company
Author: Derick DaCosta, BSU student
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of interviewing and speaking to a very intelligent, strong, and persistent owner. Her name is Elizabeth Leitao, and her business is event decor and design. Ms. Leitao and her team sets up and decorate events ranging from weddings, baby showers, bar mitzvah, sweet 16’s, and more. Since she has always lived in Massachusetts, she can also help clients find venues and halls near them, if they needed.
Liz, as she prefers to be called, chose this business of design and décor based on her love for designing and turning nothing into something spectacular. She always loved designing parties, but what was holding her back was concerns about the profitability of such a business. She thanks her friends and family for plating the seed in her head that she can pursue this career and make money from it. Once she had her children she decided to leave her corporate job as a network engineer for an investment firm and take a chance on herself. Her first event was for her own child on April 3rd, 2010. At that event she received high praise from people attending and through that first event she was able to gain clients who would be interested. From that initial party she was able book a party for the next month. And from that point on Liz never looked back.
These times weren’t always easy for Liz though. She did not realize at first that she needed a good amount cash to start with so she could purchase the equipment for the events. She relied heavily on her late husband Tiki Leitao for financial support, along with financial support from her mother and cousin. Her persistence showed true during these times because she took steps to ask for help when she needed. She says before opening up a business it is mandatory to have some capital. Now, her inventory is huge and she does not have to worry about any big events. The business she works in works on “Net 30’s” which mean she does not get paid for an event until 30 days after, which can be tough and inconvenient for payroll purposes. She admits to struggling in the beginning with this, but she has learned new ways to budget and adjust so that her employees are always paid and she has always has cash in cash something comes up.
A client would choose Simplistic Charm over a competitor for many reasons. One reason is because it is a business, as opposed to people just doing it for a hobby, with all the requirements of having a business. Secondly, her business not only sets the event up, but once the event is over her team comes back and takes it all down and cleans up. Most other businesses like this will only set it up and leave the cleaning to the person throwing the party. She likes to describe it as a full-service company. Her best method of bringing up new clients is word of mouth. She thanks all her previous clients because they help her bring in new clients by spreading the word. She also thanks free advertising such as Instgram, Facebook, Linked in, Twitter for being an easy way to bring in new clients.
She currently employs 28 and takes pride in trusting all her employees to get the job done flawlessly when she cannot supervise. She believes that this method is a lot more effective than micromanaging, but at the same time still being responsible and organized when something isn’t perfect. She talks about building up her team’s confidence and gives all the props to her team. Liz is also prideful and being able to employ people and provide extra income if needed. She currently employs an entire family, and could not be happier to help them out. In my eyes, not a lot of employers care about their employees and for her to say that is honestly incredible. Liz Leiato is an incredibly strong and ambitious woman, whose business will only continue to grow.
Simplistic Charm is located at 247 Washington St., Suite 21 in Stoughton, MA. Office consultations are by appointment only.
Contact them via:
Phone (office): 781-341-3600
Phone (direct): 508-967-5755
Author: LeShauna DeJesus, BSU student
In 2010 Bridgewater native Kristine Machnig opened the doors of Salon Fusion in her hometown. Growing up she fell in love with the beauty industry, her childhood dream became to have her own salon one day. That day just happened to come a lot quicker than Kristine originally planned. She worked in the industry for 6 years for a previous salon before she became unhappy with the atmosphere and had to make a change. Kristine knew she wanted to have a salon where the stylist and clients felt like family.
Her first hurdles were finding a good location and building a team of stylist that she felt fit her vision. Kristine went to Bridgewater State for business and felt she had a strong enough background to be successful in her venture. She picked a great location near the center of the town she loved. The only thing she felt she would have done differently, is be a little more assertive as a boss that was just starting out. She has come a long way and learned a lot about herself because of the obstacles she’s had to overcome. After successfully running her business for 10 years she shared some of the challenges she faces running a successful salon in 2020. Internet technology plays a huge part in bringing new clients to the salon but with it comes the unrealistic expectations from online posts and trending hair colors or styles. Social media shows the end results but a lot of the times there is a long process involved in achieving the desired look. Luckily Kristine and her team are very knowledgeable in their craft and are more than happy to take the time to explain the process and schedule sessions to ensure the clients’ hair remains healthy. Another aspect of the business that she has to pay close attention to is the prices of the services offered, they need to be appropriate according to her location and her competition so she can stay relevant in such a growing industry.
Technology and social media have more of a positive impact on the business than negative. It is a great way for the stylists to showcase their work which gains more followers and clients for the salon. Salon fusion is active on all popular social media sites and they are the first salon to appear when you google salons in the area. The number one way to bring in new clients which has remained tried and true for years is word of mouth. Happy clients spreading the word whether it’s on their social media or in person has always been the most effective for her team.
Kristine and her team offer a very calming clean full-service salon where you’re able to relax and be pampered. You can tell they are truly passionate for what they do, they love making their clients feel beautiful and boosting their self-esteem. Kristine has worked hard to create a salon where everyone feels welcomed and loves coming back. If you’re looking for a new salon in the area, I would highly recommend checking out the amazing team of stylist at Salon Fusion.
Author: Rachel Mui, BSU student
Nancy and her husband started their hair salon business when they first came to America 11 years ago. Their business is a great success and growing gradually. I was lucky to be their fist 18 customers and received a discount during their grand opening. I set up an appointment with Nancy and interviewed her by phone.
Q: Why did you choose this line of business?
A: I was a hairdresser and had my own business in China for many years. It was easier for me to continue what I was good at as an immigrant with only limited English. Also, the most important reason was the joy of seeing my customers’ satisfied faces after our services.
Q: What made you decide to start your own business vs. working for somebody else?
A: I like the flexible working schedule, plus I could spend more time with my children when they were young. Having my own business fit my lifestyle better than working for somebody else.
Q: Looking back, what was the most difficult challenge you had to face? What inspired you to keep going as you were getting the business off the ground?
A: The most difficult challenge I had was the lack of customers when I first started my business. I believed in my own profession and customers services which inspired me to keep going. Turnback rate wouldn’t be a problem once customers tried our services.
Q: What would you have done differently if you had to start over from day 1?
A: The general direction of the business was what I expected. I think I can do better on customer services if I had to start over from day 1.
Q: What is the toughest part about having a business in 2020?
A: I’ve had my business for 11 years. The business is on track because we have a stable customer base. However, the Coronavirus somehow affected my business a little bit in 2020. People are afraid to go out to a crowded area.
Q: If a customer was to choose between your business and 3 others just like it, why would you suggest they try your salon first? What makes you stand out from the others?
A: I would say the customer won’t regret it if they came into our salon. We are very professional in our industry and our prices are very competitive. The feedback on our customers’ services are positive, and we have an excellent location.
Q: What is the number 1 way you currently bring in new customers?
A: The main way to increase the number of new customers is through people. Customers will let others know if they think our services are worth their time and money.
Q: Has internet technology played a big part in your growth and making your company more successful?
A: Internet technology hasn’t played a big role in my business growth, but the role seems increasing. More customers are starting to leave their feedback on Yelp and Google reviews.
Q: Do you feel that internet technology could play a bigger role in your business if you had the right tools?
A: Yes, Internet technology is a trend for promotion business. It could play a bigger role in my business if I had the right tools and know how to use it.
Q: Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
A: We just expanded our business by moving into a shopping plaza. Our goal for the next 3-5 years will be continuing attract more and more stable customers. I am satisfying with the growth of our business.
Visit Phoenix Hair Salon at: 223 Quincy Ave, Quincy, MA
Contact them via phone: 617-376-0088
Author: Patrick Benedict, BSU student
Round Table Games is a hobby store located in the Carver Square Shopping Center, in Carver, MA. They offer a space for players to come play games like Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Pathfinder, and others. Founded by Chris and Candi Zahnzinger in 2015, the store was opened with the goal of creating a space in which people could walk through the door and leave their troubles behind, if only few a little bit. Round Table Games provides an escape to their players in a homey and welcoming environment.
Embracing a third space philosophy, they wanted to build a store that would help people find a fun environment with other players, away from work and home. That is exactly what they have accomplished at Round Table Games – every night you can find a myriad of games going, sometimes lead by Chris, in which potential players are welcome to drop in and have fun. They have thrived doing so, and continue to grow their player base. People are also welcome to come to the store with their own games and have a good time.
The environment and culture of Round Table Games has been built behind a huge effort Chris and Candi. They understand that many types of people want to play games with others, but may not know where or how, or may have challenges in the social realm – all players are welcome, as long as they are there to have fun. Round Table Games is all about hosting social games and fostering the sort of camaraderie that comes with that experience. Chris describes that feeling of joining alongside fellow adventurers as very satisfying, one that can’t be beat by staring into a phone or computer screen – even if get someone little too heated, maybe a little too angry – it’s an experience that’s hard to beat!
The business opened in September 2015; Chris had been working as system administrator, following a passion for customer service. They had been running a weekly gaming group for years, from early in the morning to after midnight, and it just kept getting bigger and bigger. Their kids were growing up, and getting involved in gaming as well. With a deep interest in gaming and gaming spaces, and seeing their children really come alive and grow in those spaces, Chris and Candi decided to take the risk to open Round Table Games. To them, it was a space where no one had to worry about religion or politics or what as troubling them, when you’re there you’re just trying to make the “biggest duck egg” or conquer the boss or whatever the game might be.
The store started out on a shoestring budget; sitting on a shelf in the store are dozens of games that they brought from home to start the building the space. They put together fixtures, tables, chairs, and decorations to bring it all together, and hoped for the best – and combined with their extraordinary talent for making players feel at home, the store is now doing great; if one visits their website, they have gaming events nearly every day, for all kinds of players. Creating a welcoming environment for all players is shown in other ways at the store too. When discussing why people would choose their store over others, Chris says it’s all about fit. Chris and Candi want players to feel at home – but they do have to respect the rules, which means no walking around in your underwear! And they also want to build a store where effort is rewarded. They have a robust rewards system, something they developed out of their humble beginnings, trying to figure out the right amount to give away to players. They developed a system of leaderboards, in which when people show up to play, they get points on the leaderboards that they can use to spend in the store. They also run tournaments in which rewards pools are divvied up amongst all players; that way, if you participate, you get to walk away with something. Chris says it has cost them some of the more competitive players, but a key part of their philosophy is that they stick to building their culture and don’t try to fight over other customers: if a player is more competitive and wants to play winner take all, they just aren’t a good fit, and would be happier elsewhere. They also have a rule in which you can’t bad mouth other stores; Round Table Games fosters a positive environment however it can. This has resulted in a great deal of customer loyalty.
Round Table Games is not just a space to play – it’s a space to buy games too. Chris works extremely hard to research the latest in gaming and hobbies, and keeps a well curated inventory. If you come in and ask, they will be able to point you in the right direction, and if they can’t, they will find where to send you. Chris stresses that when customers come in looking for a game, he understands that those people have already used the internet to research it, and may even know more than he does about it – but he’s more than happy to talk about it with you, and try to find the best way to help you with what you need.
Visit Round Table Games today, or give them a call; they’d be happy to have you!
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.
Author: Amaya Mack, BSU student
Brockton has been home to many up and coming entrepreneurs and artists such as Rui Alfonseca. Born in Praia, Cape Verde, Rui moved to Brockton, Massachusetts as a child with his family. Today, he is the owner and designer of the brand GAS, a clothing brand commonly known for their “Less Friends, More Bandz” T-shirts and sweatshirts. His brand is partnered with Banks and Brancos, which operates out of 828 Crescent Street in Brockton, Massachusetts. Rui started his business six years ago, in 2014, and has been working towards expanding his brand ever since.
Before starting GAS, Rui worked as a photographer for a variety of clothing lines, shooting for different advertisement campaigns. Some of these brands included Reebok, Bodega, and Play Clothes. When asked why he chose to start his own brand of clothing, Rui explained that after working as a photographer, he found inspiration from the style of clothing that he had been shooting. After much consideration he figured he could design his own clothing and fashion styles through a mix of street wear and designer brands such as Nike and Supreme. He felt the need to express his creativity through his work. Rui then took that inspiration and used it to work towards providing his supporters/customers with a closer bond to the products they would purchase. There seems to be more value in a product when consumers feel connected to the brands they are purchasing. All over Brockton young adults can be seen wearing local brands and feeling proud to be representing their city.
When asked what the most difficult thing about starting and keeping his business afloat was, Rui explained that he struggled most between getting the money to start-up and finding a healthy balance between making sales as well as designing new product. He kept focusing too much on one thing at a time and it took him a while to figure out how to juggle all of his responsibilities. Keeping up a healthy balance was necessary for profit to continue to grow for the business and his creativity to ensure stability for his company’s future. Even in 2020, while he may now have a better handle on balancing the sales point of his business and the creativeness of his product, money is still something that must be looked at closely. He has been gaining experience and learning more about business but even through these 6 years he says there is still a lot he needs to learn.
A large part of building GAS as brand was raising awareness through social media. Using platforms such as Instagram, and Facebook, Rui stated that social media is extremely important because it allows individuals a personal way to shop and gain access to any store that uses online shopping. Social media has allowed his business to spread throughout Brockton and surrounding cities. His customers have frequently posted photos and videos in which they are modeling his product and referencing his social media pages.
Despite all of his ups and downs while trying to get his business started and off the ground, he explains that there is not any one thing that he would change if he could go back and do it all again. In about a year Rui’s hopes for GAS is to see the company expand all the way to Los Angeles at the very least. His brand can be seen featured in various videos and being promoted by many social media influencers, in the South Shore area. As an individual from Brockton it is a powerful thing to know that as a consumer, a part of building up your home town can come from something as simple as purchasing products from small businesses. It’s not wrong to assume that many well-known brands started as small businesses and grew into large scale worldwide operations that started simply because of the people that believed it could be something great and that is the direction that GAS seems to be going in. This brand is detailed and Rui is very involved with the people he does business with, this alone makes the work worth the prices people pay for it. It’s not just a purchase to shop at Banks and Brancos, but an experience to be able to pick out your product and interact with the people directly involved in its creation.
GAS brand clothing is available at:
Banks & Brancos 828 Crescent St., Brockton, MA