Exclusive interview with the founders of Formatic clothing
Hello, so nice to finally speak to you guys.
J: Likewise. Thanks again for featuring us on your site.
So can you please give us some background information about yourself, name, age, location.
Dan Wargo: 20 years old and I live in Rahway, NJ
Joe Geis: 22 years old and I currently live in Bloomfield, NJ.
Are you both in Formatic Clothing full time?
D: No, I wouldn’t even consider it part time. It’s more like spare time, though I’d love for
Formatic to become a full time job for me.
J: Yeah, right now we are both in college full time, with multiple part time jobs, but we would both love to see how far Formatic can really go.
What parts do you both play in the business?
D: I handle more of the business side. The accounting, ordering, shipping of online orders, and dealing with the retailers.
J: My part is more on the creative side. I handle the designing of our clothing, the design of any promotional pieces, managing of our website, photo shoots, as well as the planning of our seasonal release events.
How is it to work with family? Did you feel it was the right move to make?
D: It’s a lot easier working with a family member than with a friend or any other business partner. I feel like we can be more upfront and honest with one another about our opinions on any matter of business since we have known each other forever.
How do you both complement each other?
J: We both know our roles in Formatic, and therefore, everything runs very smoothly for the most part. Now, being a few years into this, we know what we each need to get done to make sure this company continues to run as positive and successful as it has been. Our business is continually growing, and so do our responsibilities. Since we've known each other our whole lives, picking up each others slack isn't much of a problem.
How did the dream begin?
D: Joe and I were a part of the New Jersey music scene for many years. We played in the same band together for 3 years and after we broke up, we knew that we still wanted to do something creative together.
J: We were tired of seeing friends and other people in the scene falling into meaningless fashion fads, so we decided to take it upon ourselves to try and change things. At first it was just something fun and temporary, but as soon as we saw the reaction from the release of our first line of shirts, we realized that Formatic wasn't something we wanted to be temporary.
When was Formatic clothing born?
D: The idea of Formatic formed in the Fall of 2007, which was soon followed by our first line of men's and women's shirts.
What are your marketing strategies?
D: Right now, with the recent success in our area, we have been doing our best to spread Formatic everywhere. We have received international orders, so it’s working. As far as marketing strategies go, I'd say that it’s the next big step that we are going to have to spend some quality time on when our summer line drops.
How difficult do you feel it is to get an investor on board?
J: We have gotten a few offers recently from people willing to invest in Formatic. We started this company with money out of our own pockets, and we have had a hard time agreeing to take money from anyone else. Eventually down the road it could well be a possibility, but right now it’s not on our list of priorities.
How do you promote your brand?
D: Right now we promote our online webstore on various message boards and websites, such as HypeBeast, AbsolutePunk and the VW Vortex. The Myspace page, Facebook group, and Street Team are also great ways for us, and for others, to help us reach our audience. Also, for every seasonal line we release, we host events with giveaways, live musical performances, food and drinks; all which have had outstanding turnouts.
How did you raise money for the business?
D: We started Formatic with extra money we had saved up from our part time jobs. Keeping every dollar that we've made in rotation since then has luckily left us financially comfortable.
Would you call it a family business?
J: We didn't intend for it to be a family business, but it has definitely turned into one. We have had a few other business partners along the way which didn't work out, so we decided it would be best for just us two to run things.
Recently we have been getting a lot of help from our friend Jill ( http://www.myspace.com/her_remedy ) as well.
We also have tons of amazing friends who are willing to lend a hand whenever they can. Way too many to name, but if you've ever visited the top friends on our Myspace page ( http://www.myspace.com/formaticclothing ), came to any Formatic events, or been a part of any of our seasonal photo shoots, I'm sure you've met them or have seen the outstanding support they supply.
Your clothes are being sold at numerous retail stores in New Jersey, how does that feel?
J: It feels amazing. Coming from an artists point of view, this has always been a humbling experience. To know that people enjoy your artwork so much that they'd spend money to wear it on their backs, is exactly why we started Formatic.
We started Formatic because we wanted to do something different. Formatic is a movement. Its an experience, and the fact that these store owners believe in what we are doing enough to showcase our clothing, really means the world. Big thanks to Dave Dowd and Cyrus for all the help. We are working out things with a few new retailers in Jersey now, so check back in soon for more information on those.
Who are your target markets?
J: Formatic is a clothing company that is dedicated to inspiring and influencing open minds. And I'd like to think that comes off when people visit our website, speak to us, or come to one of our events. Looking from the outside, I think it would be easy to say that our target market would be any young man or woman interested in skate/streetwear. But we've sold shirts to 65 year old men, as well as mothers buying shirts for their young children. With that being said, I'd say that Formatic's target market is any living human-being with an open mind and who is interested in well-designed clothing with strong meaning behind it.
What is the most difficult thing in running a business?
D: Right now, our biggest problem is time. Going to school full time, as well as having jobs to pay the bills, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day.
J: There's always something else to do, but thats the rush of it.
What are your advises to young entrepreneurs out there?
J: You never know what's going to happen. If you have an idea, just go for it. And bust your ass doing so. As horribly cliche as it is, you're never going to know until you try. If you want something bad enough, it'll happen one way or another.
D: And always be careful who you trust.
A lot of young entrepreneurs are constantly looking for funding to start-up their business, what are your advises for them?
J: We know how it is to be young, broke, and full of ideas. If you want to pursue your business bad enough, find a way to make it happen; save money, borrow money, etc. If you're starting from scratch like we did, find some people that you trust to start the business with you. Three pockets are heavier than one. Usually.
What do you both do in your spare time?
J: We are both really active and driven people. Sitting on our asses and watching TV all day has never really been an option for us, which is probably why Formatic has been doing so well. When I find some spare time it's usually spent in the gym or putting back a few with my friends while the games on.
D: I do a lot of surfing, photography, working on my car, and hanging out with my friends.
If you had a chance to go back in time, what would you do differently?
J: When it comes to owning your own business, trust is one of the most important things. If there's one thing I could go back and do, it would be to be more careful with who I trusted along the way. It's really easy to get caught up in the beginning and to trust anyone who says they can better your company, but you've really got to be careful with your money and any other ideas or information you might have.
If you both didn't start Formatic Clothing, what do you think you will be doing?
D: I’d probably be focusing more on my other main interest, Cinematography. Its always been something I’ve enjoyed and its what I'm studying at school. I could see myself doing more short films.
J: I'm going to school for Graphic Design, and I'm a very opinionated person, so it makes perfect sense to be a part of Formatic. If I wasn't, I'm sure I'd be a part of something very similar.
What do you feel about anyone looking to start a business during the recession?
D: Being a smaller business without an actual location, being run primarily online, we haven't taken that much of a hit since everything began to fall apart. I'd just tell anyone starting up a business now to be prepared not to see the gains as quick as they would hope to because not everyone is spending money like they used to.
Do you feel entrepreneurs in the USA have a better advantage or opportunity to succeed than any place in the world?
J: It really depends on the industry they are looking to get into. Sure, I think some entrepreneurs in the USA have a better opportunity to succeed than ones in other countries, but then again some countries have an advantage over the USA in other industries. No matter what industry, it really comes down to what you put in. With fashion, you're always going to have new trends and fads popping up all over the place, but sticking to your beliefs and understanding that they are just trends will help you come out on the other side.
What should we expecting from you both in your personal and business life in the future?
D: A far as Formatic goes, definitely expect plenty of new stuff, as well as more events. We are looking into doing new things this summer, such as board shorts and bikinis, as well as planning for the fall.
J: Formatic is our brainchild. We plan on taking this as far as it can possibly go. With the amount of support we've been getting so far, it doesn't make any sense not to. There's no better feeling than seeing a kid in the mall wearing your hoodie, or having someone e-mail you pictures of them wearing your clothing in other countries. People are excited about it, we are excited about it. It’s just the beginning.
Thank you for your time and we wish you the best in the future.