Click. Click. Click. Ponder. Click and swipe. Type. Ponder. Click and drag. More typing. Click….no response. Harder click. Still Nothing—Nam Ho is in his room swimmingly finalizing the digital samples of his new line of “Villains” tees for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2011 season when disaster strikes: his mouse has suddenly died.
His heart sinks.
See for him, not having his mouse while designing —a Logitech M555b Bluetooth mouse, to be exact—is the equivalent of not having a right hand. To quote Mr. Talese, it’s the equivalent of “Sinatra with a cold…Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel.”
Already a week behind schedule, personal stress is mounting on the 20-year-old budding entrepreneur and what follows is the epitome of the “Five Stages of Grief”: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
“You gotta be fucking kidding me! This cannot be happening right now!” he shouts at his inanimate mouse (Denial). He attempts to resuscitate the mouse with the traditional method when electronic devices fail us: slapping it firmly into submission—whap!—to no avail (Anger). He calls up a friend, Paz, to ask if he could use his mouse in exchange for a discount on a future purchase (Bargaining). Paz declines, causing
“Alright. Where was I?” Grudgingly, he glides his right index finger across the trackpad. ________________________________________________________________
Urban streetwear—the loud, bombastic attire primarily worn by fashionable youth in urban and highly populated cities such as
Nam Ho handles every aspect of his business: he creates the designs on his laptop, orders the garments from Alstyle, and then sends everything to printing companies such as BG Concepts to complete the product. A massive inventory is stored in his apartment—clothes of all shapes, colors, and sizes—packed away until he goes to a convention or show to sell as a vendor or orders come in through his Oh Man! Clothing online website that he created, coded, designed himself, and continually upkeeps. He even personally ships each order himself.
The designs of the clothes range from minimalist typography (a cursive white “oh!” slapped on a red shirt) to bold phrases that cover the entirety of the space (Love, Live Life, Proceed, Progress.), but generally the theme of his clothes is quite simple and organic: he designs whatever he likes personally and gets his inspiration from day-to-day life experiences. If you spelled Nam Ho’s name backwards, you would get “Oh Man”—showing you that his company is a complete reflection of who he is.
It was already 30 minutes until class was to start but Nam Ho was still working on his Intro to Sociology homework. Even though
One might rightfully envision this particular style of bag worn by a tourist sight-seeing or by old ladies clamoring up-and-down the clogged walkways of
Arriving slightly late to his Intro to Sociology class,
Oh Man! Clothing is entirely a product of the newest technology, in terms how the clothes are conceived and executed to how they are advertised. To create the designs for these clothes,
And with the growing prevalence of social networking sites in people’s lives, limitless possibilities exist in the world of advertisement, one of the most crucial components of any business. Social networking sites such as: Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter share common characteristics: 1) they are free to join and 2) they are catered to a young demographic.
Oh Man! Clothing Facebook page
Each day, he logs hours of time on his laptop constantly making statuses, blogging, and tweeting about all things Oh Man! Clothing. And he has certainly gotten noticed for his efforts, being featured in popular streetwear publications such as: FknFamous Magazine, Dfined Magazine, and TheFreshStock (blog). Not only has
He figuratively crushes two birds with one stone.
The extent to which
The next class was Asian American Studies III, where they were analyzing the book “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri. Since the PowerPoint lecture notes of this class were posted online anyway and Nam did the reading, his attention wandered even more so towards his business, keeping a tab open to his Gmail account nervously awaiting the proof. The email finally came back near the end of class, but there was a mistake: the white bordering of the patch was missing. He quickly noted the error on a response email back to the company. Then he received a text—a muffled Ding! Ding! was heard—and it was his friend and fellow clothing entrepreneur Stephanie Kuoch asking if he wanted to have lunch today.
The word “entrepreneur” is French for “beginner.” Initially, its interpretation and application reflected this original meaning, but as time went on the term took on a more sophisticated connotation to describe “the entrepreneur as one who finds joy in creativity…exercising one’s energy and ingenuity in search of better way of doing what is already accomplished” (Schumpeter, 1969). In the academic study “Profile of Entrepreneurs: Employing Stepwise Regression Analysis to Determine Factors That Impact Success of Entrepreneurs,” two main key factors that were found to be endemic among entrepreneurs were family background and partnership.
Bill Gates is a famous entrepreneur who was not only blessed with proficient talent in his craft, but also with wealthy parents who were able to support his nascent business endeavors despite their early grooming of a law career in mind. Finance capital plays a huge role in the success or failure of a business. In Nam Ho’s case, he started Oh Man! Clothing primarily off of the allowance received from his parents, both of whom are computer engineers, supplemented by part-time jobs working at Journey’s and a summer finance internship. However, similar to Gate’s story,
“My dad is very traditional, very Asian. He would rather have me pursue something in medicine or law”
Secondly, business partnership plays an essential role in entrepreneurship for its “contributing to the pair’s ability to comprehend and appreciate each other’s interest or enthusiasm…to reach common understanding to devise means of realizing the combined and refined vision” (Harvey and Kidane 2009). A powerful example of this is Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google. They met each other in college and discovered that they both had a shared expertise in a common field (computer science) as well as visionary ideas to create something that goes beyond the status quo. Stephanie Kuoch is the founder and creative director of her own clothing line, Steppie. Like Nam, she created the clothing line as a representation of her self and her preferences in fashion, mainly stylized ninja and panda designs tinged that are “fun, lighthearted, with a splash of humor…nothing too serious, but all about making an impression.”
Stephanie Kuoch, aka "Steppie", and Nam Ho @World of Dance LA in 2011
It does not necessarily mean they have to become partners exclusively, but by meeting like-minded peers they each can refine and exchange ideas that only serve to benefit them both. So regardless of what their intentions are, by meeting over lunch occasionally both are exhibiting common traits found amongst some of the most successful entrepreneurs.
“Hi! Come in!” beamed a welcoming girl at the door. The girl, Jackie, is a friend of
After getting the settings situated, Nam took out a blank piece of paper and began sketching the design of the shirt while explaining the concept to Jackie: “Basically it’s gonna be four panel piece, parallel ones that go across the length of the shirt. So it’s gonna be four photos.” He draws 4 rectangles in a stack on the paper. “And it’s gonna say ‘From the Bay to LA.’ And since you’re from this area, you’re gonna be ‘the LA.’ And
“Is he coming here, is
“You know what, let me go call him up real quick.”
After taping up the black bed sheet on the wall—a “ghetto set up” he called it—Nam directed Jackie to make the “LA” sign with her hands by making an “L” with one hand and placing an inverted peace sign across her thumb.
“Okay you ready?” A flash. “Let’s do some more. Can you put this hat on?” He took several takes of the same shot, changing directions constantly:
“Smile. Don’t smile. Hat on. Hat off. Lean. Smirk. Fierce.”
The whole process caused visible restlessness in Jackie, as
The doorbell rang. It was
Finally, after another 30 or so flashes of the camera,
-Sit down 1.5 hour interview with Nam Ho
-Follow-up 30 min interview with Nam Ho
-Sit down 30 min interview with Stephanie Kuoch
-Brief interview with Jackie Cuevas
-Brief interview with Jordan Bautista
-Observation of Nam Ho at work with designs
-Observation of Nam Ho on the complete day of May 20th (photoshoot)
- Schumpeter, Joseph A. - The Theory of Economic Development, New York, 1969. (Re-print of 1934 version)
- Manes, Stephen; and Paul Andrews (1993). Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry and Made Himself The Richest Man in America. Touchstone. ISBN 978-0-385-42075-7