Amber: Today my guest is Jazmine Farmer of Calamity Jane’s Apparel so welcome to the show.
Jazmine: Thanks for having me.
Amber: Thanks for joining us. So what is Calamity Jane’s Apparel in a nutshell?
Jazmine: So Calamity Jane’s is a state pride and collegiate apparel company. We started in May 2013 and we are additionally adding in home décor and we don’t know, maybe other avenues as well.
Amber: You’re 4 years old so you’re pretty young, so you do have a lot of potential I’m guessing as far as building off of the t shirt business that you’ve already built.
Jazmine: Right. So we just started out as t shirts only and that’s what we’ve been up until this summer really. And so we’ve really added in some home décor pieces that we really feel like complement our designs and our t shirts that people have loved. Everything is state-centered or collegiate-centered. We are NCAA licensed so we are currently licensed with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and we’re working on eight new licenses for schools throughout the Southeast.
Amber: Oh wow, and is it all geared toward women?
Jazmine: Yes, most everything is centered towards women.
Amber: Or marketed to, sorry.
Jazmine: We also have a small line at different times during the year for kids as well, but really most everything is for our female consumers.
Amber: I know you had a really interesting way that your business started unintentionally; tell me that story.
Jazmine: Right? So on May 20, 2013 a huge tornado came through a suburb of Oklahoma City and we had an idea to create a t shirt to give the proceeds back to the community. So many people were without so I wanted to do something that instilled pride because there was such sadness throughout our community, but also there’s a huge sense of pride just people coming together. So we took a design and we created this navy t shirt and it had different facts about Moore, Oklahoma and Oklahoma the state and this tornado. There was an image of the tornado and the size it was and the schools that it devastated and just different facts. It was a pretty simple design but it was pretty heartfelt. So we posted on social media that we would be set up at a local store in Moore and the day that we got there we didn’t know how many we would sell. We thought that we would sell a few and that was it. We had a line that lasted for 3 hours and we sold thousands of this shirt. Every time that you saw one out in public you would see another one and it was really awesome.
Amber: Did you ever think in a million years that a tornado would launch a business for you?
Jazmine: Not ever.
Amber: I mean I guess does anyone?
Jazmine: I don’t think so.
Amber: Well congratulations on getting this far and actually giving back on a regular basis, that’s great.
Jazmine: It was great and it was something really cool to be able to do. And again to bring the state pride aspect into it because so many states have it and continue with it, but sometimes it takes something like to really bring people together.
Amber: To unify, that’s right.
Jazmine: And so it just started sort of out of my garage.
Amber: So like a traditional startup story.
Jazmine: Yeah, so about a year later we had to move out of my garage – my husband kicked us out of the garage.
Amber: You were evicted.
Jazmine: We were evicted out of the garage.
Amber: And so it has slowly evolved now to include collegiate stuff as well as the expanded line of products. In 4 years that seems like quite a bit of growth. I know that you’re outsourcing some of the stuff that had previously been doing, how has that process been?
Jazmine: It’s been such a fast whirlwind and especially starting something that I didn’t really have an intention of starting and really learning the process of how this works and ending up owning my own screen printing shop and employees and everything else it’s been…
Amber: You weren’t bargaining for this were you?
Jazmine: I wasn’t bargaining for it. It’s quickly become my third child and the neediest one of them all. So now we are to a point where we are sourcing everything out. And it has been a very big learning experience because you have to factor in a timeline and a timeframe that you didn’t have to factor in, you’re dealing with a language barrier much of the time; there’s just been a big learning curve with it. But it has been crazy successful for us to be able to do this, so we’re really excited for what it holds for the future for us.
Amber: How do you get your product out into the market?
Jazmine: Every January and every June we attend different wholesale markets throughout the United States. So we attend markets in Atlanta, Vegas and Dallas and we sell our products to retailers at those shows and then we also have just signed a contract with a rep brand group who will continually sell our product throughout I think five states. They sell to 6,000 stores and they’ll carry our brand to sell to those 6,000 stores.
Amber: Tell me where you came up with the inspiration for the Calamity Jane label as far as the name goes.
Jazmine: Calamity Jane was a gunfighter in the 1800s and I loved her story, I loved who she was and she had a quote that was I figure if a girl wants to be a legend she should go ahead and be one. And I always thought that was a great tagline. I always thought it was Nike’s Just Do It before Nike’s Just Do It.
Amber: In the 1800s in fact.
Jazmine: In the 1800s, yeah. It was empowering and as a woman and as a mom to a little girl you want something that’s cool and that says you can do it so that was it.
Amber: Yeah, it has a lot of personality too.
Jazmine: It does.
Amber: And actually the Calamity part ties into the tornado part in some way so that’s interesting.
Jazmine: It does and honestly our everyday life as an entrepreneur and in our business.
Amber: Yes, agreed; and a parent too. Well thank you so much for joining us Jazmine, we appreciate it.
Jazmine: Thanks for having me.
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