Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. We are back with another “Classy Connections” edition, where I will be interviewing some amazing entrepreneurs. Today for our spotlight, meet Zahir Miller. He is the founder and owner of the FinesseTheBrand, a clothing business. Let’s learn more about Zahir:
Jonathan: Tell us a little about yourself.
Zahir: My name is Zahir Miller, I’m 20 years old. I was born and raised in Newark, NJ. I’m a fashion designer, mentor for the younger generations after me, but I’m also a student who seeks to learn from those that have come before me. I’m at my happiest when I feel like I’m making a positive impact on other people's lives.
Jonathan: Walk us through a typical day for you.
Zahir: I typically wake up early in the day between the hours of 8-9 am, the first thing I do when I get out of my bed is get on my knees and pray. I do this to practice gratitude thanking God for all the basic things that sometimes as people we look over because they are always there. Then I ask for his guidance in life because I never really know what I’m doing, I just try to attack each day the best way I can. After I pray I head to the gym for about an hour, to an hour and a half, making sure my health is always one of my top priorities. After that, I come home to eat breakfast, while eating breakfast I write down my goals for the day, week, and month. I do this to get a clear direction of where I’m currently at in life and where I want to go. So each day I set clear intentions on what I must do to win my day. After writing down my goals I read for 20mins to input something positive to start my day.
Now that I went through my morning routine, I attack the goals I set for that day. Sometimes that means working on a new project that I want to release, working on my marketing skills/strategy, watching videos on how to improve my skills as a designer, having meetings, truly giving my attention to things I believe will help move my business forward. So the majority of my day is focused on working towards my goals.
After I finish checking off my goals I like to spend my downtime learning and listening to people who are already successful. Not just in the fashion world but in their respected industry. Two people I have been really learning from these last couple of months are Brendon Burchard, who teaches high-performance habits, and Garyvee who talks about how to become a better entrepreneur. I also choose to spend time with my friends, family, and girlfriend really keeping the relationships in my life at a high priority. Because at the end of the day besides all the great things we may accomplish, I feel as though one of the best ways to feel happy and successful is by having great relationships with the people in your life.
Jonathan: How did your entrepreneurial journey begin?
Zahir: It began by me getting in the mindset of just thinking like an entrepreneur, I purchased my first online course by a man named Tai Lopez who started to shift my framework and help me become more open-minded. Not only did the course teach me some of the basic things I needed to know about entrepreneurship, it really helped ignite my journey to personal development. The start of my business truly came from me wanting to make something cool and unique for myself. My friend had just told me about this store in downtown Newark that teaches you how to design and make your own t-shirts so I go there with a blank red hoodie. As I’m making the hoodie I start to put the word “Finesse” in a different front and different locations on the hoodie. It starts to get closer to closing time and I start to rush, while I’m rushing I start to mess up the hoodie but instead of stopping I just choose to continue. Fast forward a couple of days later, I went to New York to take a picture in the hoodie, posted it on my Instagram and people started to really like it. I noticed that this might be something I could do to make some extra money.
So I said let's create the same hoodie, start with a small amount and see how it does. My first order of 48 hoodies sold out in 2 weeks. I repeated the same process and sold over 100+ hoodies in about a month. I thought to myself people really like what I’m producing and are willing to pay for my ideas, I have a legit business I can create in front of me. Ever since then I have continued to learn, grow, and think like someone who earns a business. Now I’m about to enter my 3rd year in business and only see myself continuing to progress and get better.
Jonathan: How does your brand stand out compared to others in your industry?
Zahir: We stand on our core values, Inspiring, Achieving, and Finding a way. We represent putting our customers first and always are thinking about ways we can give back and add value to others' lives. Creating a family type of feeling that makes you feel like you are a part of something greater. I share my story and my struggles with others so that they can get an insight of the face behind the brand.
Jonathan: Finesse has become a very popular word over the last few years, what inspired your company name?
Zahir: Our way of living inspired the name, growing up if I did not have something I found a way to get. I never complained about my life or the lack of things I had. I just found out how to make the best of the way I was living. So Finesse to me is a mentality that I had that always pushed me to find a way to get the things I want out of life.
Jonathan: When releasing a product, there are a lot of steps from start to finish. What is your favorite part of the process when creating a new product for your brand?
Zahir: The photoshoots are definitely my favorite part. Getting the models to dress up a certain way, taking dope photos of the clothing is something that I really enjoy doing because I just imagine how I like stuff to look when I buy them myself.
Jonathan: What is the one thing about running a clothing business that most people probably do not realize?
Zahir: Most things won’t go in your favor, so your ability to react and think creatively on your feet is extremely lucrative. It takes quick decision making, problem-solving skills, and a lot of mental toughness. What happens in business is you can be doing great, everything can be going well, you're making sales revenue coming in and what happens is you hit a wall. That wall represents a problem in your business that you must fix, you must know how to fix that problem in the quickest and cost-friendly way. So having the ability to think fast on your feet is key because it determines how well your business can still function and produce during turmoil. If you are not able to think critically not only will your business suffer, and you are also giving your competition the advantage.
Jonathan: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Zahir: I see myself having a huge network of friends and individuals in my life that are resources who help me live a life where I'm making money, living on my own terms, but more importantly, having an impact on my community and the next generations after me.
· See myself as a full-time entrepreneur with no job, with multiple warehouses where I have systems and processes in place to market, create, and produce fashion at scale.
· See myself a lot more skilled in my craft, and having more capabilities to produce not just better but more efficient.
· Giving back at schools, and different events either with knowledge, sharing my personal experiences, money, whatever I can do to help and add value to others' lives I want to do as much as I can.
Jonathan: Who/What do you look to for inspiration?
Jonathan: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to breakthrough in your industry?
Jonathan: Outside of your work, what are your other hobbies/passions?
Zahir: Reading. Skating, exercising specifically in the weight room, skydiving, going to the gun range. I really enjoy doing fun activities that give me a certain thrill or is something new that I wouldn’t normally do. One of my passions is soul searching to try and find out who I really am. This is something that I am truly passionate about because the better I feel I know myself the more I will be able to overcome and attack the challenges in life and be able to turn my life into this amazing movie.
Jonathan: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Jonathan: How can the #Jontourage/followers stay in touch with you?
Moral of the story: Success does not come from what you already know, it comes from what you are willing to learn and do. Thank you, Zahir, for being an inspiration to everyone you come in contact with. Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! If you know of an amazing entrepreneur who you believe should be featured, please contact me here so that we can connect https://www.authorjon.com/work-with-jonathan.html. Until next time, stay classy...
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Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.