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