"Let's Talk Business" with John Dean, the Founder of Renowned LA
"We will be an industry that is for inclusion of all colors and creeds. I’ll do my best to break down barriers for those who come after." - John Dean, Founder of Renowned LA
Please describe the inspiration behind your brand, and the factors that led to its inception.
John: Renowned is a manifestation of my inner urge to be great. Renowned was created out as an outlet to my creativity. I had experience selling fashion goods online via eBay so I took it to the next step by selling my own products rather than another designer.
How do you describe your brand to consumers who have not heard of, or experienced, it?
John: The first thing I would say is: Renowned exist to tell the story of a dreamer on their way towards enlightenment, obstacles and all.
What do you believe sets your brand apart from the rest?
John: I believe our story telling and my personal perspective on fashion is what sets us apart. I come from a place that is full of ideas but not so much opportunity. I’ve been fortunate enough to have opportunity to work with some big entities and be a direct source of authentic ideas.
Where do you draw inspiration for your collections?
John: Each collection revolves around the idea of the American Dream. Each collection talks about my specific feelings and my journey towards my dreams.
Please describe the major challenges that you as a brand have had to face and overcome.
John: We have faced a lot of challenges coming up. From not getting respect, stores not taking us serious, problems with investors who stole our money. So many things happened.
Please describe your target customer base, and how you create and foster your network of customers. Are your customers local, or spread across the globe?
John: Our target customer would be a 18-27-year-old who knows what’s going on in the world of fashion. Our customers are from all over the world.
What is your perspective on direct-to-consumer versus classic clicks-and-mortar retail approaches to sales and distribution as it relates to your brand?
John: I think both ways are very important when growing a brand. These days I’m pushing harder than ever to be on the forefront of the digital/online movement as it is the future. Stores will exist in new ways!
What is your current sales and distribution strategy?
John: We sell to both stores and online currently.
So are your products placed in big retail shops or smaller boutique retail stores? How do you establish a dialogue with storefronts?
John: Yes, we have our brand in stores. We have built up relationship via cold calling and networking events like “Magic” or Paris Fashion week etc. We also have a sales team that reaches out on our behalf.
As an emerging brand, it’s likely you have faced many challenges promoting it.
John: One of the biggest challenges is doing most of the work myself. It’s tough having to do most parts of the business but it’s also time well spent. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Do you work with an agency for Public Relations, Marketing or Social Media
John: We actually are working with Velissa Vaugnh of Jand V. She has been helping with PR outreach, social media strategies and celebrity placements
What are your thoughts on the role that e-commerce marketplaces can play in helping emerging brands develop and launch? Do you think they are as important to customer
John: I think the online e-commerce platforms can be very vital to an upcoming brands success. They have the ability to put you in front of people sooner than you would have been able to on your own. We are working with Italian retailer Luisa Via Roma who has helped us create a bigger international presence.
Sustainability is at the forefront of fashion today. Is sustainability relevant to your brand, and if so, what is your sustainability strategy?
John: Sustainability is something we are trying to incorporate every day. We are starting our sustainable efforts by using more eco-friendly materials and inks. Using less plastic when it comes to shipping goods.
What do you think fashion can do better vis-à-vis sustainability?
John: The fashion industry can create more platforms that show reasonable ways a small brand can be sustainable. I think the biggest issues is most small companies cannot afford or don’t have the resources to be more sustainable.
Cashflow and growth present significant ongoing challenges to most emerging brands. Do you believe it is essential to remain independent in order to maintain brand ethos and identity and manage growth, or is it better to look for investors outside the company in order to ensure financial viability?
John: I believe in the beginning of building a brand it is really important to stay independent while young. It allows you to set the groundwork for what you want the brand to stand for. I think there is a point young entrepreneurs hit that shows them that it is time to bring on help. That could be a financial goal or just needing help managing things.
How important do you think it is for designers or brand founders to have a detailed knowledge of the fashion business?
John: I think it’s important to have a detailed view of Business in general. I see a lot of creatives get jammed up with the business side of things because they either don’t know what to do or they are just so focused on creating that it hard to manage both.
As an emerging brand, what do you see as the most effective communication tool that can help to break through the media and stand out among other established brands?
John: I think the most important tool as an emerging designer is to connect with your customer on a deep level. I’m literally apart of my customer base so I know what they want to see from us.
How and where do you see your brand in 5 years?
John: I see Renowned adding a bigger team in the near future. We are looking to spread further in European and Asian markets as well. 5 years we will be on the forefront on streetwear fashion scene.
How would you describe the present state of the fashion industry? What do you think
is required to launch and grow a successful brand?
John: The fashion industry currently is in shambles. With Covd-19, most retailers are closed and big fashion corporations are starting to close their doors for good. This isn’t unexpected though, we have been seeing small changes over the past 10 years of fashion moving in a new direction. I feel like Covid-19 was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
And what do you envision the fashion industry to be in 10 years? Where do you see it heading?
John: The fashion industry will move towards being a lot more online oriented. Digital try-on’s, AR within websites, extremely fast delivery. Fashion will combine with technology to create a more streamlined experience. A focus on sustainability and reducing waste. We will be an industry that is for inclusion of all colors and creeds. I’ll do my best to break down barriers for those who come after.