December 13, 2008
We interview William Matte Jr. of Prestigious Clothing.
TM: What made you decide to name your clothing company “Prestigious”?
WM: I feel like the name of a company should be representative of said company’s existence in general. When I think of the word “prestigious”, I think of accomplishment, pride, and things of a positive and sophisticated nature. Retrospectively speaking, starting a line and creating a brand was something I more or less decided to do after admiring so many of the famous and trend-setting lines out there. As I learned the ins and outs and created more products to offer, I basically observed a snapshot of what was happening in my life- at the time, I had just turned 20, was ¾ finished with my second year of college and had begun something that I’d honestly be ecstatic continuing to develop into the years ahead, and have yet to lose any steam. If a feeling of elevated happiness and ambition can be issued all-inclusive nomenclature, “Prestigious” just fits the best. That’s why I picked it.
TM: How long have you been running your shop?
WM: I had my first idea rendered to print in March 2008, however I registered my business with the state of Massachusetts as a sole proprietor in November 2007 as a wholesaler of band tees and select clothing brands. Since releasing my first design in March of 2008, I’ve put out a total of 23 different tees, and have collaborated with such apparel design geniuses as Jim Breen, Derek Deal, Matthew Skiff, Joshua Stomberg, and Nate Maggio. http://www.shop.thisisprestigious.org/ was launched at the beginning of April 2008, and the site, http://www.thisisprestigious.org/ was launched on June 5th, 2008.
TM: What have you learned?
WM: I have learned so many things on what seems like a day-to-day basis. Anyone can offer tips that only end up encouraging you to spend money needlessly; to run with ideas you know deep down you shouldn’t get involved with; to make frivolous business decisions that will leave you scratching your head wondering what possibly went wrong. The best advice I’ve gotten to date, summarized in a few words of course, is to do something unique that you love producing from start to finish- do something that people will remember and be hungry for when more comes. Create a lasting impression by being personal with your customers- it goes quite a long way.
TM: Just out of curiosity, why did you create a shirt with an outline of California on it, when you are from Massachusetts?
WM: There is a story behind this, of course. Last January, just before Prestigious was born, I visited California for ten days. It was my first time out on the west coast, and in that short length of time I saw some of the most beautiful and inspirational cities and locations I’ve ever seen. From LA to Berkley to Frisco, through Carmel and down the coast, through Hollywood and Malibu, on Venice beach- the list goes on. Basically, despite my short-natured visit, I love the state of California.
As I began selling more and more shirts, I estimated that about 50 to 60% of my business came from southern California. Low and behold, after speaking to Nate Maggio in early October, he had done a California tribute shirt that I fell in love with and was lucky enough to obtain. He and I printed it in early November and it has become sort of a dedication piece to one of my favorite places in the world; a tribute to all of my great fans and supporters that reside there. The cali tee was a fun project and retains quite a bit of sentiment to myself and to my brand.
TM: What’s in the works for the future of Prestigious?
WM: I plan on releasing multiple items on certain occasions, probably monthly or bi monthly. As of late, releases have been rather sporadic and somewhat unannounced, and have been predominantly one design at a time. I would like to release a hoodie print for guys and girls this coming spring, but for now it will be tees, tees, and more tees. 2009 will be a big year for Prestigious.
TM: I see that you’re a college student. How do you go about running a line while still attending classes? What challenges are involved with this?
WM: Running a line alone while doing my best to be successful academically is difficult at times, not due to time constraints but more so due to time management and the problems I have with it in general. There are times when I’m doodling and brainstorming, blogging and promoting, connecting and networking, and doing everything under the sun to get my name out there and keep in touch with customers that I feel like schoolwork takes a backseat. I am one year away from earning a Bachelor’s degree in Management, concentrating in international business. Luckily enough, both are given the time they need by the end of each day, but I admit that I can’t wait until school is behind me; this will allow me to concentrate on this business full time with minimal distraction and less added external commitment. This is what my education will assist. It works out quite well.
TM: What tips would you give others trying to get into the t-shirt biz?
WM: There are enough tips, pointers, suggestions and bits of advice that volumes could be written. Here are a few that I’m sculpting as I progress and grow.
1) Remember that you never stop learning new and better ways to progress your brand and develop a name for yourself. Always be open to suggestions, advice, and criticism. Most of these are offered because the person offering has been there and cares that others succeed. Even the most accomplished and wealthy company owners have advisors and strategists.
2) Stay honest with yourself and do what you love. There is no preset formula for success, but a trend among those who are successful is that they all love what they do and put their heart and soul into it. Positive in, positive out.
3) Customer service has no substitute. Be nice to people. Respond positively to negativity, and be thankful for support, help, advice, and purchases no matter how big or small. Follow up with customers post-purchase, within reason. It is nearly impossible to keep up with the pace once things get busy, but never forget that if it weren’t for supporters and customers, your dream wouldn’t be possible. Embrace it!
For more info, check out the Prestigious Clothing website.