We were lucky to catch up with Dominick Daly recently and have shared our conversation below.
Dominick, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to have you retell us the story behind how you came up with the idea for your business, I think our audience would really enjoy hearing the backstory.
So in 2017 one afternoon when I was in my sophomore year of college at Delaware State University my cousin called me while walking back to my room. He instantly said “man I think we should start a clothing line” and when he said it he had so much excitement in his voice. He started talking about how we can do fashion shows and different things and I got excited to. I told him that when i come home we can sit down and map it out because we’ve always wanted to go into business together since kids so this was perfect. When I came home we sat down and mapped out a few things and how we could get this business started. The challenging part was coming up with a name, it took us maybe 3 weeks to a month to find the perfect name that represented who we are and was a name that was different than what we normally see. A few weeks later the name LAHÉRA was born.
Going into business with family is always tricky and challenging but if you have proper processes in place and bylaws and guidelines this makes it easier. We took the lessons we learned from other family business that failed and wanted to ensure we did everything we could to make this work the correct way. The idea of owning my own company and wearing the clothes we created was the most exciting part to me and seeing other people like and wear what we create as well.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My name is Dominick Daly and I’m from Washington, DC, grew up and raised in Riggs Park. I graduated from Delaware State University majoring in business and IT. In 2017 my cousin and now business partner Kalonni Daly called me and said we should start a clothing line and from that point on the rest was history. While deciding the name our business we wanted to find something that centered around family since we are a family owned business and will eventually hire family members to help run the business. We also wanted to find a name that represented what we believed in and what we stood for, this is where LAHÉRA came from. So Hera was a Greek goddess that was a representation of family and her symbols are the Lotus flower for Harmony and the Peacock for vision, royalty and protection. These are the characteristics and foundation we are building this company on because not only does these characteristics represent us but I’m sure more people will be able to relate to that.
At the moment we are a Streetwear brand providing a variety of items such as Hats, Shirts, Sweatsuits, Shorts, Women clothes and very soon we will have our own socks. As we continue to grow and evolve we would love to have a luxury side to our brand as well. We never want to be placed inside of a box, growth is our main focus both personally and for the business.
We officially launched our company in June 2019 and that was a huge accomplishment. I was nervous and fearful that it wouldn’t workout or that people wouldn’t support us at all. For our first release we gathered up some friends and family to do our first photoshoot and from there things started going great. This was our first summer out and people were supporting us and things were going well but then we hit a wall and lost a lot of momentum. It was months when we didn’t have a single order and we were still learning how to run this business at the same time. Til this day we still aren’t where we want to be but I’m glad that we will never quit. Quitting is never an option, we will continue to learn and develop new skills and strategies to get us to where we want to be regardless how long it takes. This is not a race and is a slow grind but once things take off for real we will be ready.
When you purchase from us I want you to know that we put our all into the designs, quality of clothing, packaging and everything else. Most people don’t know that we make most of the clothes ourselves, which makes this brand and company that much special. I wanted to be as hands on as possible with the process because I enjoy what I do and I enjoy the look on our customer faces when they are rocking out clothes.
We’d really appreciate if you could talk to us about how you figured out the manufacturing process./
Manufacturing comes with a lot of trail and error and samples. Starting out we weren’t manufacturing our clothes, we would purchase plain shirts from a website and put our own designs on the shirts. We could have had a local print shop make them but one it’s cheaper to do it yourself and two we wanted to simply make them ourselves. As we started to add more items such as shorts, hats and sweatsuits we had to find a manufacture. Alibaba became our best friend because everything you needed was on that one site, from looking at products to communicating directly with the manufacture.
So one day we decided it was time for us to release our first sweatsuits. We found some on Alibaba, reached out to the manufacturer in China and ordered a sample, quality was good and everything. In China they obviously do not wear the same size we wear in the US so we had to mess around with the size chart to ensure we had the correct sizes. We placed our first big order and when the sweatsuits came we could only sell about 8. The sizes were all messed up, a size large was really a small and the small looked like it was for a child. At this point we couldn’t get our money back and had to take the loss. I was so mad because I literally couldn’t do anything about it. From this day I said if they do not make US sizes we not going through that hassle again.
I eventually found a manufacture that we still use til this day that’s been able to do everything we needed with minor mishaps here and there but they only happen on the samples. We learned early that samples were crucial to the business, yes you have to pay a good amount for a sample but it’s not worth the headache if you don’t and your entire bulk order is wrong. Your manufacture is going to listen to exactly what you say so it’s important that you include every minor detail. If you have an idea of how you want something you must communicate that with them and not assume they will already know. Learn how to create something called a tech pack and send this to your manufacture every time because this will save you a lot of time and money when ordering samples.
How did you put together the initial capital you needed to start your business?
In 2018 we began purchasing the different equipment we needed such as a Heat Press Machine, vinyl cutter and we already had a regular printer laying around. Starting out these were the two most expensive things we needed so we saved our money to purchase them. Rushing the process was never in the plans because if we was going to start this business everything needed to be done the correct way. Once we got the big ticket items knocked out we knew that everything else would somewhat fall in to place.
At the top of 2019 we had everything we needed to get started so we began to work towards the things we needed for our first launch. We spent about $220 on black and white shirts and started printing up our designs and getting ready for the photoshoot. My cousin knew a photographer that did our first photoshoot and allowed us to pay her in a few shirts we made which was perfect because we did not have a lot of money, we also gave the models free shirts for helping out as well. We launched our business on June 2019 and haven’t looked back since.
- Website: www.lahera.shop
- Instagram: @laheraclothing
- Facebook: @laheraclothing