District Roots: Edwin Etadafe
Modern fashion with a traditional message
Tell us what your business does:
District Roots is a fresh new clothing brand based on the philosophy of being proud of your roots and where you are from. District Roots is a t-shirt brand at heart but seeks to develop at every step to become a well-known clothing brand for men.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Less of an idea and more of a desire to change something. I felt there was a gap in the apparel market between clothes with messages and meaning and fashion. I attempt to merge the two in all my designs and keep within the District Roots motif of community pride and spirit.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I printed 50 t-shirts before I launched and went to a local gig. I sold them at £15 each. I sold all of my t-shirts.
What were you doing before starting up?
I have had previous businesses and run another company, which is currently called compliance circle. My first business Boozevan was at uni, I used it to pay for my law degree. Coming out of University I set up another business to get closer to a field I wanted to be a part of in financial services. This has led to me running two businesses.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
To be honest no, coming out of school I always wanted to work for a big corporate bank for law firm. Solid steady career work my way up to the top.
How did you raise the money?
Saved, saved and saved some more.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge to an online retailer is marketing and getting your brand out there. This is a continual challenge, something which I seek to push past everyday by advertising in different ways to try and capture our audience.
How much do you charge?
T-shirts range from £22.50 to £26.00 currently.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I made 20 sales to people I didn’t know in my first week.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Research and research some more. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do in your life and in some cases a large risk. Whatever it is that you sell or provide make sure you get feedback from people outside your circle of family and friends, or even sell early. This will give you an answer to the question: will my business work.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I would like to have a chain of 4 to 5 exclusive retail stores.