Ambition Apparel is a 2-year-old clothing brand based out of LA and Japan. With some fresh designs based on modern streetwear, they've become extremely popular in a short time. The interesting part of all this is that the owner, Takuma, started the brand only in High School. We got a chance to speak to Takuma about his brand, and then you'll discover some business tactics for creating a successful clothing line.
Why did you choose the name Ambition Apparel?
Around 2012 I started Ambition Apparel and it was mainly due to my sister. She was incredibly ambitious. She was always doing so many great things. I looked up to her a lot and she was the person that kept on pushing me. So that gave me the idea for the name “Ambition.”
How did you decide to start a clothing brand?
When I was 16 me and a few of my friends had the spur of the moment idea to start a clothing line. I had already liked streetwear and being a so-called “Hypebeast.” I was still in High School at the time. Later, we had a difference of opinion with the co-founders and we split and I had to take on the entire company myself. Now I’m 18 and I decided to do this full-time without going to college. I felt the opportunity was right now and that I could do college later.
How did you come up with your first designs?
I had a couple of friends that designed and were into Photoshop. My friend Bryan is really talented in Photoshop and he created one of my first designs. Now I have a designer that takes my sketches and turns them into graphics. I sketch it out and then the designer finalizes it with a graphics program.
What makes you guys different from other clothing brands?
The name is important. Ambition. There’s a meaning behind it. There’s a lot of brands with random names that don’t make sense. I wanted to spread the word ambition. I wanted to make it more than a clothing brand. It’s important for me to push other people’s ambitions.
How did you get the money to start your business?
The friends that I started the company with pitched some money in. It wasn’t much. Just some money that I got from my grandparents for Christmas. We’d make a first batch of clothes, sell it, and then reinvest the profits to get the next batch of shirts. But we weren't smart with our money and we didn't use our money well. Then when my co-founder left the company I was left without any money so I had to invest more money that I got as allowance and gifts.
How did people find out about your brand at first?
It started with just High School friends. People at my High School bought it and then they told other people. Just the viral effect. Then the word spread from there. I had good traffic on my personal tumblr — a lot of people saw my popular from seeing the clothes and outfits I would wear. I gained a decent amount of followers and I had posts that were getting thousands of notes. That was great because due to my Tumblr I had the power to market my brand.
How else did you market your brand after High School?
First it was local orders. I just sold it to people nearby – like friends of friends that liked our brand. Then I created an online shop so people could get the clothes. I started sending stuff to models and popular people on Instagram. I got a bunch of reps on Instagram and Tumblr, and then it went on from there.
Who are your favorite brands in LA?
Well I really like City Approval. I like Primitive Apparel a lot. I look up to them. The brand that I look up to the most is Popular Demand — they just started 2 years ago and they’re doing amazingly already.
What projects are coming up?
I came out with the Holly Lee collaboration recently. Also a summer collection part 2 is coming. Also expect to see a collaboration with City Approval soon!
More Ambition Apparel.
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