Trust Your Struggle
The following post is from Jason Henares ’20, founder of .US .US is a lifestyle apparel brand that represents universal sub-cultures.
I found my love for entrepreneurship in high school. On a limb I took a class called small business management in high school, similar to that of FME. I instantly fell in love with the idea of developing a business idea and working to ensure that it was followed through. The product that we created was terrible, faulty, flimsy, cheap, and unreliable. However, just the idea that we went through the process of production, marketing, and eventually selling intrigued me. I found that I enjoyed the process and the struggle.
I knew I wanted to make an impact with this new found love. I didn’t want to be a part of something that was only a cash cow. By chance, one of my coworkers at the time, Founder and CEO Vyncent Ifill, showed me the idea of .US. I knew that this was what I wanted to invest my time and resources into.
There is currently a lot of prejudice, racism, and stereotypes going around. Preventing individuals from doing what they love because of their race, gender, ethnicity, or sub-culture they associate themselves with. The idea of .US is to create a counter-culture movement that inspires these individuals to follow their passions and dreams regardless of their barriers.
It was simply an idea at the time, we had no logo, no ideas for content, no designers, no capital, only the belief that this would work. This was in 2015. We were both full-time students and working part time, so finding time to work on the idea was difficult. When we did meet up it was stressful, time-consuming, and uneventful. Neither one of us had experience in the industry let alone in the startup realm.
It seemed like there was a never ending cycle of obstacles and roadblocks that we had to overcome. Our company name had to be changed due to trademark issues, which resulted, in an entire rebranding of our marketing strategy. And it wasn’t until the summer of 2017, after going through an array of designers, did we finally find the logo that resonated with our company. As an up and coming streetwear brand this is what we needed to differentiate ourselves from the pack. Next came content.
After slowly developing a network in San Diego, we found ourselves with an assortment of hip-hop artists, poets, and creative individuals who understood and represented the vision that we had for the company. As a result, we had the opportunity to interview these individuals. Through these interviews we were able to illustrate the struggles that they face following their passion despite the prejudice and hate that consume most.
After two years we finally had a logo, content, and a team. Trust your struggle, because that validates why you are here.