Entrepreneur Of The Week – Tyler Newman
This week’s entrepreneur of the week is Tyler Newman from RALE Clothing, he already has a few businesses!
Tell us about you and your business
My name is Tyler Newman and I’m from England, currently attending 6th form but spending most of my time, money, and energy working on various business ventures. My most recent business I have just launched is called Rale, which provides clothing made from Bamboo aimed at the young and trendy generation. Bamboo clothing is relatively new to the fashion market, and boasts many benefits. It is extremely soft and relatively light, making it incredibly comfortable to wear. It is also one of the the most environmentally friendly materials in fashion, as bamboo can grow up to 4 feet a day with very little water and no use of pesticides whatsoever. You can read more about the benefits of the material in the blog post on my website here. The ultimate aim of the business is to enter the market with this material, providing high quality, fashionable products, without the premium price.
Where are you based and how many people do you employ?
Since it is an e-commerce business, I could say we’re technically based online. However, I myself am working in Rugby, England.
Due to the fact the business is relatively small, I don’t employ anyone. At this current moment in time I have 100% of the equity, however I am going to further expand with investment from a business partner of mine, which means equity will split between us.
When employing someone, do you look at their qualifications or do you look at the person and they’re past experience rather than their qualifications?
Having never properly employed someone, I can’t answer this question in full. But, I have worked along side people within a business and from this experience I personally believe that qualifications, grades, and exam results all have very little significance in the field of business. In areas such as science, medicine, and engineering, education is absolutely vital for success in that career path. However most entrepreneurial traits can not be taught in a classroom, but instead learnt through experience and learning outside of the classroom. In education you can be taught a lot about formulas for cash flow and some crazy in-depth theories into economics, but a lot of important entrepreneurial characteristics such as determination, being proactive, people skills, and in depth knowledge about your industry can not be taught. In a previous small business project I was a part of which was incentivised by the Young Enterprise scheme, some team members could get full marks on a business exam and knew everything about mathematics, but were not proactive, had very little initiative and lacked a lot of common sense. Eventually, people were dropping out of the team due to not being able to pull their weight and instead slowing the businesses progress.
I am soon to finish my last year in education, and have spent the last 4 years being taught business and economics, and I can honestly say I have learnt more about building and running a small business from my own personal learning and experience than from what I have been taught in a class room. But don’t get me wrong, a good understanding and knowledge of basic business will make it drastically easier to kickstart your ventures.
Have you always wanted to be a budding entrepreneur?
I’ve always grown up in a business environment as my dad owns a couple businesses and he has always been keen to share his knowledge with me. From a very young age I’ve always wanted to be successful within business, I did a couple small things like import a small amount of watches from China and sell them on online, or buy and sell iTunes vouchers on eBay, but it wasn’t until the past couple years where I have started to put my entrepreneurial skills into practice.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for bamboo clothing came when I was in Hawaii. I stumbled across a shop selling a wide range of products made from bamboo, such as clothing, bed sheets, towels and toothbrushes. I compared the material to a cotton sample they had available in the store and I was amazed at how incredibly soft the material was, and after speaking to the shop owner about the benefits of bamboo as a material I was hooked. However, I was reluctant to buy from the store as the clothing was comfortable and felt great, but it didn’t have the aesthetic appeal I wanted.
The material was relatively new to the market, and I had experience selling clothing online, so I knew I could create clothing that was not only made from this great material, but was also fashionable. I’d then be appealing to two markets, those interested in eco-friendly products and those also interested in buying high quality, fashionable clothing, without the premium price.
Did you have to raise funding for the business? If so, how much?
Not much start-up capital was needed for Rale. I wanted to benefit from economies of scale with my first order of stock however, so I spent around a couple thousand pounds of my own money to send some prototypes to my supplier and got the first order manufactured. Luckily I also have skills in developing websites, so that didn’t set me back much money, it just took hours of hard work!
What were you doing before you started your business?
As well as Rale, I have developed a few other streams of income. As mentioned earlier, I developed another clothing brand called Vybe Streetwear along with some school friends of mine as a part of the Young Enterprise scheme. I also had a Marquee hire business through the Summer holidays with a business partner of mine, hiring it out for upwards of 300 pounds a night which required very little work, other than driving it to the destination and erecting it. I make a decent bit money through online affiliate marketing, I have several online marketing training videos on YouTube generating a small income through ad revenue, as well as shooting training videos for a friend of mine in the Bodybuilding scene. I did start an online magazine to educate and inspire young entrepreneurs which was generating a small sum of cash also through ad revenue, however with only 24 hours in the day I was ended up focusing most of my time and energy in other areas which were more worthwhile.
In the next couple of months I am also looking to start my property investment career, now that I have raised enough funds to do so.
How did you know there was a gap in the market for your
business to succeed?
I knew their was a gap in the market for clothing not only made from Bamboo, but also fashionable, however the question is whether there was a market in the gap. As all the best investors in the world say, its all about diversification. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; which is exactly what I’ve done. I’ve started with a small product range, and am going to focus all my time and energy into marketing the product to create demand.
What is your USP?
The biggest unique selling point of Rale is that the clothing is made from Bamboo. As mentioned earlier previously this material boasts a wide range of benefits to both the person and the environment. The material is incredibly comfortable to wear due to it being exceptionally soft, light weight, and flexible. It also has anti-bacterial properties, so it doesn’t absorb sweat very well, meaning no lingering odors! Its also one of the most environmentally friendly materials in fashion due to it having no need for pesticides, and being able to grow at a rapid rate with very little water, and also photosynthesizing at an incredible rate! Although there still are many brands selling garments manufactured from bamboo, Rale differentiates itself in the designs. Our pieces are more fashionable and unique, yet still appealing to a big market.
Who are your competitors?
As a business specializing in fashionable, trendy garments made from Bamboo, we’re obviously quite niche in the sense that not many people are doing what we are doing, yet we still appeal to the mainstream audience. The idea itself actually has very little competition. This could be perceived as a brilliant opportunity for us to get a head of the game, or quite frightening as no one has had the balls to enter this part of the market yet!
Despite this, competition still lies on Google. The terms ‘Bamboo Clothing’ now gets searched an average of 18,000 times a month, and this figure is increasing every month too. My goal is to get on the front page of Google for this phrase, which is where I face competition. Getting on the front page of Google will allow for much more organic traffic, and to do this I need to put my Search Engine Optimization skills to the test.
What has been your biggest breakthrough and toughest challenge?
Due to only being active for a very short time, I have not yet faced any major challenges. Looking to the future however, I feel my biggest challenge will be selling all the stock we have bought! Due to to how custom the products are, I had to outsource production abroad. I also then had to meet Minimum Order Quantity requirements, which were quite high, which means a higher point of break even. Not to worry though, I love a good challenge and I look forward to tackling it.
With regards to the biggest breakthrough with Rale, nothing massively springs to mind. One thing I am quite proud of is hitting 2.5k website views in the first 24 hours of launching.
The biggest breakthrough I have had in business altogether is having the actress Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones represent our Young Enterprise brand Called Vybe Streetwear on her social media channels. She has a combined following of over 1 million followers in total, and just the Instagram picture of her wearing it alone got over 43k likes. Not long after that, we were posting orders to all over the world, including Mexico and Australia!
How are you growing your business? What is your workspace like?
There are two ways I intend to grow the business. Expand the product range, and drive more traffic to the site.
To do this, I will have to utilize all social media channels to the best of my ability and get the brand as much exposure as possible. This will also help me get further up the search engine rankings meaning my organic website hits will get higher too. This will obviously generate sales and with all the capital made I will keep investing into further expanding the brand. I eventually want to get into retail outlets, however to do that I must first prove the demand for the products.
Where will your business be in 12 months time?
12 months down the line, Rale will have a wide product range and a big following on our social media platforms, as well as being readily available to purchase in various retail stores. I have personally set some specific goals for the brand and have broken it down bit by bit so I can reach the goals one step at a time.
And finally, what piece of advice would you give entrepreneurs?
Everyone reading this can achieve whatever they want. There are no excuses, and any excuse you make is going to prevent you from achieving whats possible. Think big, be proactive, and work hard.
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