This month’s indie spotlight goes to my dear friends over at Maintenance Clothing. I met Tara through a mutual friend while doing a photoshoot for Johnny Concert. Both being a start-up business at the time we had a lot to talk about and even brainstorm collaboration projects together. The Maintenance crew not only is a great support system but has an amazing philosophy to encourage their following to grow your passions and follow your dreams. We are very excited to feature them and hope to inspire you to #maintain what you love.
BP: How did you get into t-shirt design?
MC: When I came up with the concept for MAINTENANCE [CLOTHING], spreading the philosophy on tees seemed to be the best way to start out! Who doesn’t love t-shirts?!
BP: What is your business philosophy?
MC: To Maintain What You Love!
BP: What is the inspiration behind your brand?
MC: The brand is the product of a journal entry I wrote a few years ago. I was venting about how hard it was to balance every aspect of my life without one thing or another being neglected: friends, social life, relationships, bills, my job, my hobbies, family etc. But if you truly care about something, you HAVE to remember to #maintain it!
BP: As you grow as an indie business what other areas are you looking to explore?
MC: As much as we love tees, we want to start spreading our message on tanks, pillowcases, and eventually hoodies and cardigans. Once more people start to learn about our brand, logo and what it represents, we would love to start offering cut-and-sew pieces without graphics. Our brand as a whole represents strength and balance. Just owning a piece of MAINTENANCE should empower you- even if our philosophy isn’t plastered across the front of the shirt. Would also LOVE to get into home decor one day!
BP: If you can have any celebrity wear your clothes who would it be and why?
MC: ANY celebrity in our clothing is a dream come true! They are trend setters & with them rockin our message, it’s sure to get out there. It would be awesome to see the word #maintain everywhere and know that it is helping people keep their lives together.
BP: What is the biggest challenge you face as a start-up business?
MC: Making the right call. As a new company, every decision can make or break us. Even creative decisions are important pieces to the puzzle. There are nights that I lay awake and can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about a facet of the brand. When you have a full- time job, you get to leave at 5pm and not have to worry about it until the next morning. But when you start a business, it’s a 24 hour job that you never get to “go home” from! You need to know that going into it and realize how that will change your life.
BP: What advise to do you have for young designers and entrepreneurs starting out?
MC: Do your research! And when you think you’ve done enough, go back and do it again! Confidence is important, but you’re taking a big risk when starting a business and there are SO many ways to mess up. Find mentors, and look for advice from people who you believe to be successful. Practice honest business, and be yourself.
BP: Where do you see Maintenance in the next 5 years?
MC: Our ultimate goal is to have our own brick- and- mortar store. I already have a vision for the store itself and I can’t wait to get to that point! The day that I get the keys to our first store, I will probably sit in the middle of the floor and just bask in the glory of it all while trying not to explode! 😛
BP: What is the most rewarding part about your job?
MC: Getting to dress people 🙂 Honestly, when I see people walking around in our clothes, I get this warm and fuzzy feeling! Little do they know how much it means to us that they are wearing something we made. Most people just throw on their clothes and walk out the door without thinking about how much went into what they’re wearing. But from my perspective, they’re walking around wearing my DREAM. Something my team and I conceptualized, literally made ourselves, packaged and promoted.
BP: You seem to have a lot of positions within the company. What do you look forward to the most and the least?
MC: I LOVE photo shoots! Once we’ve gotten the product to that point, it’s already gone through a ton of different stages of production and development. Seeing it on a model and the piece coming to life is so rewarding for everyone involved. My least favorite part of this whole thing is the time it takes to perfect things. I wish some lessons didn’t have to be learned the hard way, but at the end of the day Kris [co-owner], the team and I are SO happy to be doing what we’re doing- difficult or not!