Defy the Odds: The Story of Perseverance
The Birth of an Idea
It was our Senior year of high school. College apps were in, senior ball was over, and the goodbyes had started. There’s that awkward down time many refer to as “senioritis”, where you’re checked out of school and looking to the future. That’s when the idea of a fashion line started. My business partner and lifelong best friend has always been an artist and we both have always wanted to make a positive impact in this world, but how? When my business partner scored a graphic design job at a professional sports printing studio, we printed our first ever design; the flying elephant. It was a black hoodie with blue ink and we gave it to 4 of our closest friends to wear. The idea of a flying elephant spawned from our hope to inspire our peers to always live out their dreams, even when other said they may be impossible. Elephants are one of the only mammals that cannot jump, so a flying elephant defies the odds and achieves what many thought was impossible. Plus, elephants are seen as universal signs of positivity and peace across the world. Once more people (teachers, friends, parents) saw these unique hoodies, they wanted to get their hands on some. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting our own fashion line.
We started by selling out of the back of my friend’s trunk. Once we became more known, we created our own website and “Fly Elephant Clothing” became official. We would have different brand ambassadors at colleges around the country, who would oversee photoshoots and participate in collegiate events to spread brand awareness. As giving back to our community has always been at the heart of our brand, each month, we would donate 25% of all of our online sales to a different charity. Additionally, we have partnered with various charities, including the Children’s Organ Transplant Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Cancer Society. By participating in charity events, our brand became much more known and respected. We have even teamed up with various celebrities, including Hollywood actor Ryan Guzman and professional athletes Arik Armstead and Festus Ezeli. This is where the idea for a video series began. “Behind the Dreamer” is an interview series that focuses on celebrities and how they positively impact their local communities. Too many times in today’s societies, we only hear about scandals and drama regarding celebrities and do not focus on positive aspects of their lives. As this interview series gained more and more popularity, we decided to rebrand.
We wanted to be more than just a clothing brand, so we rebranded to “Defy the Odds Lifestyle Brand”. This lifestyle brand strives to inspire better living through different social aspects. One being our fashion line “Fly Elephant Clothing” and the other being our interview series “Behind the Dreamer”. We have been blessed with the financial help of some investors who saw our hard work and believed in our dream. Over the past 5 years, Defy the Odds has expanded tremendously, stretching all across the nation and apparel can be bought both online and in different retail stores. Our goal is to eventually be able to open up our own store and continue to inspire others to live out their dreams. Check us out at www.defytheodds.life.
You can be an Entrepreneur too!
My advice for any entrepreneur looking to start their own brand is simple: never give up and be open to suggestions. Starting your own business is no easy task, and bumps in the road are inevitable. Those that survive will be those that keep pushing and finding new ways to stay relevant. Always be willing to hear what your audience has to say as they are the ones that help your brand grow. Good luck and remember, no goal is too great, and no dream is unachievable. If you can dream it, you can do it.