In 2016 J Cullen Apparel started with no more than $100 in my savings account, a head full of ideas and a heart full of dreams. At 21, I saved every cent I could possible pull together, until I could afford a sample of our very first custom made t-shirt. With a logo made from Microsoft Paint, and no clue on what it took to design some clothing, I somehow managed to make our very first sample. My only regret? It cost $1000 to make. Probably our most expensive item we've ever made and ever hope to make! How did it cost that much? Well, that's a story for another day.
Flash forward to 2018, after doing 0 work on the business, since I somehow thought it'd cost us $1000 minimum per shirt we wanted to design (As if that's profitable for any business) we tried our hand at dropshipping custom printed items. T-shirts, Hoodies and Singlets the only 3 products on our website. Making a mark up of around $3 for each item.
In over 12 months, we made 1 sale. Thanks again Mum!
Then at the start of 2020, I quit my job as a personal trainer. Having never even touched the surface of running my own apparel company, this was my all or nothing chance to actually give this a proper attempt. Up to this point, the only notable things i'd done in business was pay an extraordinary amount for a t-shirt, and set-up the worst dropshipping site you'd ever seen.
So with a maxed out credit card, and earning less than $200 a week working from home, this was my chance. Then, a global pandemic. Great! It's as if running a business wasn't already hard enough, this made things even harder. So how'd I make my money? Whatever stock I did have in my bedroom, I sold for less than what it cost me. I made back a majority of my money, and then invested it into some of the best products we've made. I used the pandemic as best I could, and shut down the website, then re-built into something that made me feel proud.
I bought a used canon camera, then found some backdrop and lighting kits on amazon. I ordered all our new designs and the business couldn't afford the extra cost of adding our logo onto our garments, so I ordered them blank. For hours on end, and up late at night, I sat with an iron and an ironing board, printing my name on each and every piece. Something I am glad I oddly sometimes miss doing.
After being locked in the house and working for months to try and create a brand I was finally happy with, it happened. July 1st, 2020 we re-launched our website. On our first official day back we made $1000. It's fair to say, all the stress and pain was worth it.
Our about us page used to have some cheesy, motivational, catch-phrasey and empowering "how good are we" speech. But that's not us. Our about us, is our short, yet proud story. It's every time we gave up without trying, got kicked back, hated on, threw money down the drain and made stupid mistakes.
Our about us is that we are a small, Australian Owned business. Learning how to make some of the best clothing, every single day. A business which wants to compete with some of the best and biggest brands one day, which appreciates every single person who has ever liked, commented or shared a post. Those people who took a gamble on an e-commerce brand they never heard of and purchased new items! Without our customer's we are nothing, we know that. We're young, and still learning how to be the best we can be, not the best there ever was. We're a brand that wants to succeed now, so that we never regret what was. We want to be your new favourite brand, and hopefully every day, we're one step closer!
J Cullen Apparel
Succeed Now, Regret Never.