Everyone always asks me the same type of questions like
"How Do I Start A Brand" or like
"Hey man how'd do I become a successful kid like you" and the majority of the time i'm like honeslty i have zero clue it just kind of happened and here we are.
But, the main reason all of this seemed to have worked is the idea of value.
If you don't know, this brand was created because I had to write a 30 page paper for this business competition in high school called DECA. I had to come up with an idea for a company I wanted to start, and instead of writing a 30 page paper on some crazy company that I couldn't make actually happen at age 16, I was like well why don't I actually make the company and just go from there.
During the whole "wow I want to start a brand and I need to write this 30 page paper" thing, I kind of had to learn. A Lot. Like I'm talking - I knew nothing. I had no clue how to run a business. Who the hell does at sixteen?
So I just sat in my room at night and read about start up companies. Like all kinds. Brands, Apps, Websites, everything under the sun. And this was winter 2014/2015 when the whole "every kid owns a brand" thing wasn't existend.
I heard that there was a free marketing seminar at Harvard University one sunday morning. I had no clue hat digital marketing at the time was, but it kept coming up in all the start up stories.
I signed my best friend and I up for it and the next morning I called him and was like "ok dude so we didn't get into harvard but on sunday we're going to harvard".
He said something along the lines of "do you really think we're going to Harvard" with a slight laugh in his voice.
It was right before noon that sunday. I swear every person on that campus looked at us like who let these kids on campus.
We sat front row at this seminar-thing. I think people thought we were the speakers' kids.
We heard this lecture on marketing. It was told by this middle aged guy, I forget his name.
A lot of it went over my head becasue, well, it was for Harvard type people and I was a suburban high school type kid.
But one thing stuck that day, and it's one thing that I think about every single day.
He told us that the key to growing a company, and a brand in that case, is to
That's the only thing I wrote down that day. And that's the only thing I remember from the lecture. And that three line tip was what drove me to build OHKAY to what it is today.
'Value', I used to sit and say to myself. How the hell can I create value in a brand.
And still to this day, it's the one thing I tell everyone I work with. We need to create value, communicate value, and deliver value.
It's my one big rule about the brand. Value.
And for us, value is created in tons of different ways.
OHKAY is a concept that was created really small, and made its' way to a much bigger picture. It went from an idea to a few hoodies to a brand to an international company - all in like two years. Mainly out of my house and my dorm room then the office.
So I don't focus on making "merch" or "gear", I focus on making this into a brand experience with value.
And it's super cool, because OHKAY has no intended set meaning, and we keep it that way.
The meaning is what you think it is. It's what it means to everyone involved.
The parties we throw, 500 people come to. A lot of rappers can't sell 500 tickets to their show and sell it out. But as a brand, we create an experience. And then every person that comes, if they care about the brand or not, has something to think about the next time they see the logo.
It's like, the OHKAY logo acts as an outline for the platform, and what it means to each person varies.
The value of it, though, is what is so important.
People have no clue what the logo means when they see it if they don't know about the brand, but the people that wear what we make, and consume the content we put out, they know the value of it. And they set the value themselves.
And that's why we do the 1/1 projects.
We take basic vintage pieces and embroider 4500 stitches into each one, making our logo stay in the piece for life.
We sell them, and each one is different.
Most people wouldn't pay $75 for a sweater with a logo they don't know about on the front, but to everyone involved in the brand, it's the unique value that the piece carries.
And that's why we print basic logo hoodies. If I wanted to make a ton of money I could make a brand and print weed leafs on hoodies and sell it to stoners, but that's stupid and lame.
I want to make something that people care about, and can tell their own story about.
You know what I mean?
It's the value of the brand. It's what it means to you.
And what it means to the next kid, and the kid after that.
It's about the story you can tell and the importance of the logo you wear.
And whatever that story may be, we just hope it's a good one.
I wish I could go back in time and tell sixteen year old me about how this would be my full time job one day or that I'd end up traveling the world when I was 18 to work on the brand
Like man I had no clue how to make a brand or make clothes or do any of this. It just kind of came in due time. As I started to get better at it, more of it came naturally. I did my research, asked my questions, and learned from people I looked up to.
I value it as my own project, but I keep it open ended so you can value it as a structure for your own project, your own unique story, or whatever it may mean to you.
I guess that's half the fun. Making the value.