We recently connected with Korynn Wakefield and have shared our conversation below.
Korynn, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Parents can play a significant role in affecting how our lives and careers turn out – and so we think it’s important to look back and have conversations about what our parents did that affected us positive (or negatively) so that we can learn from the billions of experiences in each generation. What’s something you feel your parents did right that impacted you positively.
My parents gave me NOTHING for free! It sounds harsh, but it wasn’t that bad. I had to earn things, I had to work, I had to prove myself. I had to grind, figure things out, think on my own, do research. Most importantly, I got to figure things out and experience things for myself. Which are the same things I’m doing now. The same tools I used to get where I am and the same tools I use to keep going on my most challenging day. I will always have this grind, this grit, this passion to keep going and make plays. I mostly have my parents to thank for that, they conditioned the lazy and complacency right out of me! They taught me to push myself and encouraged me to not be fearful. They helped me learn that hard work truly does pay off.
Korynn, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
This brand, my brand, No Originals all started with the intention to encourage and revitalize the creative community. I wanted artists and creatives to acknowledge and appreciate those who came before them, those who truly inspired them. We are not as original as we think. I also wanted to encourage artists and creatives to be mindful and intentional with their work. I wanted them to acknowledge those who watch them, those who are inspired by them. It just so happened that apparel was my day job, so no better way to get the word out than what I knew best. And I jumped into the hottest trend dead in the heat of the pandemic, leisurewear and streetwear. So this is not your average slap-a-logo-on-a-shirt-and-overcharge-for-it brand. This is an intentional brand, a lifestyle brand if you will. Over the last 3 years, I’ve opened the concept up to everyone, not just the creative community. I want people to seek inspiration and be proud of it. I want to see people act with intention, intention to inspire and positively influence. Get inspired, live, love, create, and whatever else you love to share. Act with purpose, create with purpose, remember that someone is watching you. Someone is inspired by you.
Can you open up about how you funded your business?
From the beginning, I knew I didn’t want to start with a super huge monetary investment. I knew I wanted to do apparel, but I also knew I did not want an inventory. With inventories, come up front costs, but I wanted to do everything I could to minimize start up costs. My idea was to do my own local version of dropshipping where I worked with another small business that could produce my products with no minimum order quantity (MOQ). Unfortunately, it’s hard to get the word out about a business that sells physical products, with no physical products. I scrounged together a couple hundred dollars to launch 3 t-shirts, at a small quantity for each. This allowed me get the word out at a minimum cost. And after I launched my website, all of my orders were made by order, by the same local business that produced my small quantity of initial designs. This allowed a seamless profit stream, and aided in keeping startup costs low.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
People love a good story. People will BUY a story. Fortunately, No Originals story is REAL. First, all of my sales were people who know me personally. But these people weren’t spending their money on me for no reason. They believed in me, believed in my message most importantly. But, they all still knew me personally. It was when I started doing pop up shops, I knew I’d be going up from there. Interacting with people, telling them the message, and sharing the symbolism of my designs really grabbed the hearts and souls of my peers. I genuinely believe in this message, this journey, and this experience. And I know this is how No Originals has bloomed to be what it is today and I know I am nowhere near the end.
- Website: Buynooriginals.com
- Instagram: @no.originalslc
- Facebook: No Originals, Limited Co.