Unique, fashionable, and daring, Rebel Theory offers men and women clothes that forces you to stand out and be seen.
IP: Start by telling us more about yourself and your business (educational background, hometown, age you started your business, how business came about, etc.)
I’m 24 years old, born and raised in Chester Pennsylvania. I began to follow my passion for designing clothing at the age of 6. I began making dresses and gowns for my Barbie dolls using my grandmother’s silk scarves. From there, I began sketching designs for my peers in high school for their proms. After high school, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in fashion design and would start a clothing label.
When I began to apply for college, there were people who did not think a career in fashion was a good idea, since the chances of success are slim. The words of those around me began to sink in, and instead of chasing my dreams, I decided to attend Temple University for Elementary Education. Needless to say, I woke up and realized that career was not one I could see myself in for the rest of my life. I left Temple, and re-applied to Delaware State University where I graduate from with a BS in Textiles and Apparel Studies in 2010. During my time at Delaware State I began making clothing for various fashion shows and I joined different fashion clubs.
As I began to form my plans for a clothing line, my business partner Gary Grossett came into the picture with his knowledge of business. After various name changes, partner changes, and other kinks over the course of about three years, Gary and I finally decided to name our line Rebel Theory Clothing. The name came about when we were deciding on our image, mission, and message. We knew we wanted a clothing line that expressed the importance being an individual, was artistic, and also sent the message that fashion is all about breaking the rules and creating a style of your own, rebelling against what’s “on trend” and making your own trends. We now have a total of 4 team members myself Janell “Nellz” Johnson CEO and Head Designer (Chester,PA) , Gary Grossett President and Business Management Director (Phila. PA), Amanda Irizarry Marketing Director (Phila. PA), and Raquel Hamlett Graphic Artist (Baltimore, MD).
IP: Quote that keeps you motivated?
A quote that motivates me is “The only real failure in life is failure to try”.
IP: What has been your biggest obstacle being a young entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle we’ve faced and still face is having the support and financial backing we need to take Rebel Theory Clothing where we want to take it. Since we’re just starting out, we are still doing most of our work out of our own pockets. We look at it as investing in our dream of seeing Rebel Theory Clothing do well, and we just continue to do what we have to do to continue to build as a brand.
IP: How has age factored into your success?
Being young and trying to start a business has been great to our success thus far, we have the chance to have some longevity in the industry and God willing we will be around to watch Rebel Theory Clothing grow. Our target market happens to be the age group that we’re in, so it helps when we’re looking for different ways to connect to our market and to get feed back about our products.
IP: Describe a day in the life of (company name)?
A day in the life of our company would consist mostly of communication; emails, conferences, and phone calls confirming our next moves, and seeing that everything planned for our timeline is a go. Researching the industry and our target market daily, as wells as planning the tee shirt designs for the upcoming collections. Above all, networking, networking, networking of course! We always reach out to any one we can to see how we can get Rebel Theory Clothing involved with something!
IP: Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?
In five years I see Rebel Theory Clothing finally breaking that “up and coming” stage and finally reaching the point where we can say we are an established company that’s generating revenue and is becoming a known name.
IP: What advice would you give up and coming entrepreneurs?
Advice I would give to up coming entrepreneurs would have to be stay true to your vision, have a plan, know that obstacles are inevitable, and to network and research constantly! On the financial side multiply your start up money by three and have a business plan that will have people interested in investing.
IP: What blogs and publications do you read to get guidance as an entrepreneur?
I read many different blogs and publications to gain knowledge as an entrepreneur, from The Wall Street Journal to CEOWORLD MAGAZINE . I also refer back to my college textbooks for business, fashion, and art references. My nose is always in fashion magazines from Vogue to Nylon. I also get a great deal of information from Urban Professionals and J. Alexander Martin Owner Executive VP / Fashion Director of Fubu.
IP: If you could pick a celebrity to be the spokesperson for your company/brand who would it be and why?
If I could choose a celebrity to be Rebel Theory Clothing’s spokesperson it would have to be someone who would represent rebellion, has a rebellious image, and promotes being yourself and being happy with who you are, someone like Lady Ga Ga or Rihanna. However, I honestly see us using someone who is not a celebrity with a story to tell, like a local poet, painter, or an underground music artist, people who do what they do for the love of it, not for the fame.
IP: Outside of your business, what are your other interests?
Outside of my business my other interests include revamping vintage clothing and giving them a modern pop, arts and crafts, and community service and volunteering at Chester’s Historic YWCA Mansion.
IP: Anything else you would like to add? (pictures of merchandise or logo, additional facts about your business, links, upcoming events/promotions, etc.)
Our website is set to launch by the end of this month!
Below are photos of Rebel Theory Team ( from left to right, Amanda Irizarry, Gary Grossett, Janell “Nellz” Johnson. Our Products (Featuring Pryme Models, Model Tiana “TC” Caldwell, and Model Desi), and some of my work in fashion shows (Featuring Pryme Models of Deleware and Model T Shaw). Thank you for allowing me to share my story.