This is a first in a series of blog posts about Strikingly users. We’re having a chat with Sam Mazumdar, founder and CEO of Y Athletics. Learn about his background and how he got started with his activewear company, and of course, check out his Strikingly website here!
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Arbab Sam Mazumdar and I’m the founder and CEO of Y Athletics, a premium activewear brand that designs elegantly simple performance apparel for men. I was born in Bangladesh, attended college at the University of Southern California, worked at a Fortune 500 company for two years, then quit my job and invested everything I had to pursue the dream I’m now living.
Prior to starting this company, I failed at launching two other startups. When I started Y a year ago, I had little experience in fashion, manufacturing and apparel design. I take pride in my work, love the companies and people I work with, and welcome the challenges I face everyday.
2. Why did you decide to work on Y Athletics? When did you realize this was a business opportunity, and what did it take to get started?
I decided to work on Y because I saw the opportunity to create a brand that I myself would buy from. In an industry filled with endless choices, I was craving simplicity, which I couldn’t find. Every online shopping experience and store visit was overwhelming. So, I set out to create a simpler experience for men, which includes a limited line of amazing products, the first of which is our shirt - SilverAir.
I knew it was a business opportunity from the very beginning because the idea resonated with guys whenever I spoke to them about it. I realized it’s never a good thing to keep ideas to yourself - the key is to talk about it with people wherever you can. An idea in itself is worthless… it’s the determination to explore it and execute it that lends to its value. In fact, that’s really what it took for me to get started - tons of research, cold-calling mills and factories, using vacation days to go to textile shows - just sheer relentlessness in trying to accomplish my vision of our first product.
3. How did you hear about Strikingly? How has Strikingly benefited your campaign?
I heard about Strikingly through Hacker News, which I follow pretty religiously. Using Strikingly benefited me in a number of ways:
1) It enabled my brand to have a professional presence on the web without much work on my part; Strikingly made setting up and designing a breeze.
2) A significant amount of our traffic comes from mobile and Strikingly’s built-in mobile optimization helped us capture these visitors and turn some of them into customers.
3) Being lucky enough to be amongst the featured websites on Strikingly drove a lot of traffic into our website and helped me connect with other awesome users.
4. What’s been the toughest part of starting Y Athletics, and how did you overcome it?
The toughest part of starting Y Athletics was creating an awesome first product. The vision for this product was to make the very best athletic shirt in the world… but what exactly is that? what does it entail? and how do I make it? All these obstacles were looming over me and overcoming them required composure, thinking intelligently about the best solutions and strategically solving them. It was frustrating because nothing happened overnight… it took many months and a lot of patience to find and establish relationships with the partners who eventually manufactured our shirt.
5. What’s next for Y Athletics? When will we be wearing your shirts?
The future of Y is much more exciting than the past. We are re-thinking men’s apparel from scratch and are attacking one product category at a time. We’re spending hours behind the design, fabrication and construction of every single detail of our next product. It will be an essential part of your wardrobe and it comes out in summer, right after we start shipping the SilverAir shirts this May.
6. Any quick words of advice for the budding entrepreneurs out there?
Far too often you’ll hear people say “Find something you love to do”. I can’t agree more. But in all honesty it’s the “finding” part that’s difficult. Unfortunately, it’s not something you stumble across one fine morning; you have to work very hard to discover it.
My advice is to keep experimenting through execution. Stop ideating and start executing whatever you have on your minds. Once you do, you’ll find the obstacles and challenges. You’ll either hate it and let the frustration make you move on to something else, or you’ll love it and let the frustration motivate you to get you closer to your vision. When it’s the latter, you’ve found that “something you love to do”.
So far, with the help of their Strikingly website, Y Athletics has raised over $250,000 on Kickstarter from 3800 backers, far beyond his initial goal of $35,000.
If you’ve got a story to tell, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.