John King first thought of starting a clothing brand in high school. He had designs of the items he wanted to make and would ask his classmates which ones they liked in surveys. Now, he’s making those goals a reality.
The 20-year-old marketing major started Spicy Wear in summer 2017. What began with a hat and t-shirt, both donning the pepper logo, turned into an entire clothing line and lifestyle brand.
In the beginning, King would try to sell his clothing at FAU, but it didn’t immediately go over smoothly.
“I would post up in the Breezeway with my little pop-up shops and try to sell my clothes, and at first people thought it was a joke. People didn’t take it seriously. You can’t expect everyone to like your things. But honestly, their friends are probably wearing Spicy Wear now,” King said.
Now, King runs his brand out of his dorm. His living room is filled with boxes and racks of hoodies, tank tops, t-shirts, hats, shipping equipment, and a photography set up.
“Every month, sales are increasing, and really I’m just doing this myself. I always said I wanted to be an entrepreneur, and I’ve always been into clothing, style, and what makes a top clothing brand. And I love the satisfaction of someone feeling good in something they buy,” King said.
He got the idea for the brand from a certain look he pegged as “spicy,” which led to the pepper on all his clothes — although some people thought he was representing Chili’s, he said. After he perfected his logo, King took to social media to build his brand and find inspiration for his designs.
“I really look at trends and I study Instagram. It’s a great tool to see trends and what women like. You have to know what people are looking for. I really like to absorb everything I look at,” King said.
And as for the designs themselves, he’s very particular. King says you’re not going to see “crazy, huge designs” on his clothes.
“The Spicy Wear brand is in the name, and I think that’s different from a lot of upcoming clothing brands. They’re all very loud. I like to keep mine clean and simple,” he said.
To further build his customer base, King studied web design and social media marketing to build an online strategy that worked for him.
Now, the Spicy Wear Instagram has almost 5,000 followers on Instagram.
King says the next step is to bring his clothing to malls. He’s also working on a swimwear and gym line. He says the most surreal part of the job is seeing people feel good in clothes he designs.
“It makes me so happy to see people around FAU wearing Spicy. That’s what I’m in it for. I don’t care about the money. I want people to love it,” King said.
Check out King’s clothing at SpicyWearClothing.com.
Cameren Boatner is a staff writer with University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org.