Interview x Deep Funk Clothing | Accessories
Listen to the exclusive interview with Michael Beaudoin and David Howard of Deep Funk Clothing Inc., a 2013 startup based at Boston, Massachusetts and Raleigh, North Carolina.
1) What is the start-up story behind your brand?
[MB] Back in August of 2009, we met at East Carolina University when I walked out of my dorm and Dave saw me wearing my Larry Bird jersey. We both talked about how we are from Boston and then started hanging out after that. We eventually found that we had many other things in common like the Wu-Tang Clan, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Shredding.
[DH] After a few years of living the college lifestyle, we decided that we didn’t want it to end, but we hated going to class. So with an entrepreneurial spirit, we decided to start our own company that was based on something we were familiar with and would be able to enjoy doing for years to come. This, of course, was making clothes. As for how we got the name Deep Funk, you’ll have to stay tuned and here that story upon the launch of our website.
2) Describe your visual concepts, what is it like? What are three words that best define it?
[DH] Our visual concepts are a reflection of both Michael and myself, when someone wears something we made whether it’s a hat, a tee shirt, bandana, etc. they are reflecting the brand as well as our own personal style. A lot of our art stems from different counter-cultures and our abilities to free our minds. Three words that define Deep Funk visually would be Irie, Steezy, and Unorthodox.
3) In three words, characterize who you are.
[MB] Omnipotent, Unorthodox, Genius
[DH] Brilliance, Wild, Sexy
4) What’s something that’s always running inside your mind lately?
[DH] Thinking of a master plan to take us from our mundane lives to being in sunny California where the weather’s hot and the chicks are hotter.
5) Being in your position, I’m sure it can be overwhelming with the workload. How do you achieve balance in life?
[MB] Running Deep Funk is extremely hard as is being that it is run by only two individuals who live 700 miles from each other (Dave is currently in Raleigh and I am in Boston), but we have been able to advance the company by consistently improving our time management and communication skills. Especially communication because without proper communication ideas can’t be construed, orders can be messed up, and a whole list of other issues.
[DH] Balance is achieved through living the lifestyle that we sell. When Mike and I got out of class in college we would hop right on our longboards and shred around because it always gave us a chance to break away from anything straining your mind. When you’re on your board it’s you, the board, the road, and peace of mind. This is also why I love to attend raves and shows, life needs a balance between hard work and the chance to take a break and party with the homies.
6) What’s one incident that would serve as a turning point to your life?
[DH] October 7, 2013 was a turning point in the lives of both Mike and myself. It was the day that Deep Funk became incorporated and it hit us that we were actively working on turning our dream into a reality.
7) What three pieces of advice would you give to others when it comes to life & career?
[MB] Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. When hard work and passion meet, success is imminent.
[DH] A company’s chance to succeed is only as good as the leaders, their employees and it’s resources behind it; what I’m leading to is one must choose who they work with wisely. Not only must they have a good work ethic, but everyone needs have a shared vision.
[Both] Wu-Tang is for the children.
8) What’s a typical day in your life like?
[MB] I wake up and get ready for my day job in a medical billing office from 9-5. Since it is summer semester at school, I take night classes after work and usually get home around 10:00pm where Dave and I try to get Deep Funk things accomplished before the day ends.
[DH] I wake up with a cup of black coffee on the way to the pool that I manage. When I get off from my 9-5 I usually meet up with our squad to skate or chill in the dojo watching my homies produce beats. While of course at the end of the day Michael and I try to meet up and work on our business, we are consistently communicating throughout the day as well.
9) What’s one of the highlighting moments in your career? Why is it so?
[MB] Recently we have chosen to work with UNItiques.com and this will provide a platform for us, not only to reach more customers, but to reach more customers in our target demographic.
10) What stops you from throwing in the towel and giving up during those frustrating days of being in this industry?
[MB] One of the biggest motivators for me is that I know for a fact that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. There is no other job I would rather have so it is pretty easy to keep myself from throwing in the towel. I also have family and friends that are watching me and I do not want to let them down. They believe in my power to succeed and I want to show them that they were not wrong by believing in me.
[DH] I am doing what I love, around the people I love so the thought of quiting has never crossed my mind. Setting an example for my 5 younger sibilings, that success is achieved by those who chase it. Also, if I’ve ever felt like I’ve called to do something in my life, it’s definitely Deep Funk.
11) Biggest risk ever taken?
[DH] The biggest risk we’ve ever taken is becoming entrepreneurs and starting our brand. 80% of business fail in the first 18 months, so we went into this game knowing the odds were against us. Yet, instead of being scared of failure, we have chosen to learn from other’s failures. Some steps that we day in our day to lives that seperate ourselves from other business are being engaged with customers (especially since they hold the keys to our success), being profitable, making sure leadership has no dysfunctions, clear communication, and providing products that generate value to the customer being that each product is original and differentiates itself from anything else available on the market.
12) Who has influenced you the most, and been your greatest inspiration?
[DH] James Jebbia, Banksy, Jim Morrison
[MB] Method Man, Tanner Hall, Shawn Stussy
13) How do you go about marketing your business or yourself? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
[MB] We use social media and word of mouth mostly. We also try to make appearances at shows and competitions to make a name for ourselves and associate ourselves with people that can help our business flourish. Instagram has provided us numerous opportunities that we never could have achieved on our own. Although, word of mouth has given us the ability to not only grow the brand, but grow the brand stronger. When dealing with customers face to face there is direct dialougue and feedback as to what people love about love about Deep Funk and what should be done differently, which is mutually beneficial.
14) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
[DH] In 5 years hopefully we will be at the point in our business’s lifespan where we have both relocated to California, but we are traveling across the country vendoring festivals and major boardsport competitions while making connections on a daily basis aid us to consistently grow our business to a worldwide entity. by 10 years, hopefully we will have our own shop on Fairfax St. or somewhere else in Los Angeles seen as a Mecca for the world of street fashion amongst brands similar to ours. If our shop does well in Los Angeles we would also love the possiblilty of opening up stores in Boston, New York, Raleigh, and overseas as well. Another task both dear and near to us is giving back to the communities that have already given so much to us whether it be donating money to particular causes like Breast Cancer (my mother survived breast cancer and has been cancer free for 7 years!) or building a free local skatepark. The greatest leaders are those that build other leaders by being a servant leader to those who they inspire.
15) What’s the first thing you would say to the world if all attention was on you right now?
[MB] Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes!
[DH] Open you’re third eye and spread consciousness. Elevate and mediate, Jah bless.
– Interview x Deep Funk Clothing Inc.