Founder's Diary #4 - "Ike The Legging Man"
I had a name, a logo, and a vision. Now, what the hell was I going to sell? This was the million-dollar question that I knew would either make or break the brand. I had plenty of inspiration that I had been stockpiling for years leading up to finally starting Veii but 1. I didn't know the first thing about manufacturing or sourcing samples, and 2. I didn't want to go and copy other brands. So I did what any genius would do: take my talents to youtube university and start learning.
I gathered from several videos that I would likely have to find an online wholesale marketplace and convince a manufacturer that I would place a large order with them for them to agree to produce samples for me. After a few days of messaging manufacturers and waiting for a reply, I finally heard back from someone. The customer rep from this specific company was eager to work with me and asked very few questions about my business(which wasn't a business yet), which I should've immediately recognized as a red flag. This sweet lady convinced me to order a few of their "hottest" women's products because the men's items were all out of my budget at that time, and I gleefully complied. She sent me pictures of the products with my logo as they were being produced, and I was so excited. It was starting to feel real! In my head, I was sure that women would love that first batch of items because, to me, leggings were just leggings. I would later learn that leggings are surprisingly not just leggings, but that is a story for a later post.
As I waited a few weeks for the pack(age) to touchdown, I took to Instagram to show off what I had been working on! I got a lot of love from my followers, but I knew they were probably confused about why a 21-year-old college football player was now an avid promotor of women's leggings. Little did they know I was just as confused as them. My teammates were also very confused, but I had already established myself as an oddball, so no one questioned it beyond cracking jokes here and there. My favorite comment that sticks with me to this day was from my position mate and good friend Lorenzo. I was walking out of the locker room after practice one evening, and right as I pushed the door open, Lo called me over to his locker and asked me what was the stuff I had been posting recently on Instagram. I told him I was starting a clothing line, and his exact response was, "so you boutta be selling leggings and shit?" I looked at him with a straight face and said, "yeah, I got some leggings on the way." A big grin spread across his face, and all he had to say was, "that's wassup... Ike boutta be the legging man!" and everyone in the vicinity who heard that comment busted out laughing. Even I found humor in that joke because it was the best one I had heard yet. But as I sat on the campus bus that evening, reality set in. I scrolled through the pictures of my leggings, and I asked myself a fundamental question for the first time. "Why the hell would women buy leggings from me?"