Quinlan started Qmulative in 2009 as an online feed about his interests: skateboarding, cars, hip-hop, street art.
A few years later his grandmother taught him to sew. He took classes to get better, went full time in 2016, showed his work at Tucson Fashion Week, and in 2018 was named Lifestyle Designer of the Year at Phoenix Fashion Week.
Now Qmulative is a cut-and-sew street wear brand, but it’s still all about Quinlan and his unique view on fashion. His biggest boost came from linking his very modern brand to another that’s more than a century old: His Arizona-inspired T’s, a combo of Quinlan and the 48th state, are a huge hit.
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| Rise Grind Repeat 066 |
Right so I was making complimentary shirts that was kind of the trade right like hey we’ll give you a cool corner spot and all the press and affiliation and everything and so I just sewed for like three days straight
on today’s episode of Rise Grind Repeat we talked to Quinn from cumulative talk about how he’s gone from growing to scaling his clothing brand see how he did it and dive right in. Quinn thank you so much for joining another episode of Rise Grind Repeat I think this is a long time coming at you know it’s funny cuz joined in on a podcast with you that you did with finding Arizona and it was that’s that’s what I was trying to get educated and figure out what is all this podcast stuff and from that learned a lot and now it’s, it’s kind of kind of grown and so it’s kind of fun to to see how it’s evolved and how you’ve grown since then. But you know, before we get into too deep would love for you to kind of deduce who you are and What your
your company is cool? Yeah, my name is Quinlan Wilhite and I run cut and sew lifestyle streetwear brand out of Tucson Arizona called cumulative. So que la tip. And yeah, my grandma taught me how to sew like six or seven years ago and the basics and kind of sent me on my way and I took a couple classes and and ended up winning Phoenix Fashion Week, their lifestyle, emerging designer category, fall 2017. And so I was kind of their guy for all of 2018 but it’s been a fun run. It’s It’s awesome to be doing it full time and growing and, and we’ll get into kind of what I’ve been up to recently, but yeah, just having a blast. So and then took it all the way to the top. And when when did you start to compound? I probably had the brand name since like 2009 2010. And that was more just an online feed. So everything I was interested in, whether it be hip hop or cars or skateboarding So I was just back that I was just sharing just cool stuff that I came across, right? Like a cool like, I don’t know, skateboarding edit out of Europe or something. So nothing really. That was just how it what I branded it with was the name cumulative. Yeah, it kind of makes sense for everything that I covered. But yeah, so 2010 brand name and then products since like 2013 Wow. And then really taking it seriously since we met. So the past three years.
And were you working full time then on the brand? Or were you were you still?
No, I was definitely still, you know, up until 2000 maybe 16 Yeah, I was doing part time restaurant work or bartending, whatever it was. But yeah, I wanted to give it a good go and really go all in so, you know, a little a little sketch there and just everything neat, but you know, just like whatever it was right? Just like putting all put most of the money back into the brand. living at home like whatever it took. Yeah. And and now it’s it’s rad to be doing it full time and Giving it what I should get it right?
Yep. No that’s cool. So what point what was it that it was just like the realization came that’s like all right, I’m doing this I’m going full time and yeah, what was that process like? It is a lot to make that jump and this is my only source of income and mega work.
So yeah, I’m wearing one right now but the hairs on the pocket tees have always I mean, that’s probably my third that’s definitely my signature product. So yeah, just having really good booths and consistent farmers markets and you never know. Because then I kind of got out of the farmers markets because I literally just had like a slow I don’t know three or four weeks Yeah, it could have been anything. snowbirds are too hot or whatever but yeah, just just went for it like saw the traction obviously always been confident you know and what I’m putting out you know i refined and polished my selling right like in the pockets weren’t falling off after the fourth wash but I’m just just went for it. You know, like didn’t even have a huge cushion money wise but like i mentioned You know, was was living at home and, and really wanted to make it to make it work. And in that situation you, you know, you have to make it work exactly. No guarantees, but uh, just figuring it out, you know, moving more and more product and figuring out custom fabric and bigger quantity orders and so yeah, that’s probably 2016 and then just growing Ever since then,
yeah, so I mean, right after that, I mean, Phoenix Fashion Week, you’re, you’re a part of that. And so it seems like you made the jump and very quickly, you’re gaining a ton of traction. I mean, what what was that like? And I guess Can you explain
more? Yeah, so I had done Tucson Fashion Week 2014 1516 and taking a couple classes at Pima Community College down there. So just, again, just learning these were classes that I it was stuff that I obviously wanted to learn and, and ended up being just really beneficial as far as like just, I mean, the example is flat pattern making so just knowing how a garment goes together and all that textiles, what’s gonna work on a corner or something what’s gonna wash weird So just learning all that. And then yeah, like literally the I had one sample garment that I made from scratch, which was cool. took too long, but that’s how you learn. Yeah. And so that’s what I you know, I applied for Phoenix for Phoenix Fashion Week probably spring 17 and literally submitted like this kind of crazy combo. You know, it’s like polka dots with maybe like a woodgrain it was insane. It looks cool. I was a baseball shirt. So it was like three quarter sleeve baseball shirt that I made at peyman. So yeah, I applied and sent that in and got in so I think like two or 300 designers apply Wow, I got into a group of 15 and then ended up winning my category of five so I was in the lifestyle category. So it was maybe kind of like swimwear and other street wear maybe festival where that’s kind of how to explain stretchy, vibrant. Yeah, and then and then me. Yeah,
that’s cool. What a Did it have an impact on on the business?
Yeah, absolutely. So we learned the summer 17. And we learned the business side of fashion, and it was definitely accelerated. I still go through that binder quite a bit. So yeah, everything’s like being ready to pitch if and when that’s the case. Dress trade, you know, protecting your, your ideas. It’s a little different. It’s a little it’s a little less black and white then like, maybe developing an app or Yeah, right. But yeah, we learned it all. And everything was on a point system. So that’s kind of interesting. I remember that. them telling us that day one, like more or less like your, your, you winning is all calculated. Yeah. Which I thought it was weird. But, you know, we all had something like we all had a good appeal or aesthetic or products to get in. And then it was just polishing that. But yeah, so a lot of, again, back to the point system. So we had homework every week. And it was, it was gnarly. And then obviously, you know, some chunk of the wind was based on you know, your final performance, our final runway show, but yeah, so just, I mean, I’m still soaking it all in learned it all. And I’m super proud of where I’m at. But um, yeah, we learned everything pitching, margins working models photoshoots and stuff. So it’s cool.
Yeah, definitely learned a lot. And I mean, you had that that probably helped to get out there a bit. Get the brand out there. You mentioned farmers markets. I mean, what all have you done to get to the point to where you’re at now to where you could do it full time? And have you kind of gotten the brand out there?
Yeah. Again, so Phoenix Fashion Week was pivotal, just learning the business side of fashion. And then I’m still obviously implementing all that stuff. And, and like I mentioned in the intro, I was there guy for 2000, all of 2018. So they were it was part of like the prize package, right as far as just business development. But yeah, started in the farmers markets and just, we did a hat that did really well. just pushing, pushing, pushing, trying to do bigger quantities, trying new stuff, right, like a women’s crop top or a tank or a longsleeve. It kind of gets cold here in like February, but uh, just just run Then running it and then I use I happen to just use next level blanks still do. And so they someone reached out on Instagram and they’re like hey, we love what you do with the shirts if you can come to if you can get to Vegas for it’s magic yeah market week magic trade show we were in kind of like the industry where one which was called pool, but they’re like, hey, if you can get to Vegas, we’ll we’ll cover the rest right? So you know, get to Vegas and then line up your hotel but we’ll comp the booth and give you this awesome opportunity. So yeah, yeah, I did like five or six in a row. They’re there twice a year like a spring fall and just sewing the pocket tees live. We just did a rectangle. It was quicker. And we were in Arizona, obviously, but just awesome opportunities like that. And so it’s cool to be able to work with you know, a pretty big money company and, and be on a first name basis. That’s really cool. Yeah, so that’s kind of a hop, skip and a jump but just just being super consistent, right trying new stuff. I’ll make like I’ve made everything from aprons to bow ties to these little pouches. Maybe we can talk about the masks in a minute, but I’m just going going full speed and soaking it all in and kind of leveraging opportunities and just shaking hands. Right like kid like you mentioned a minute ago, it’s been kind of too long since since we went out but just staying on everyone’s radar and being consistent. So
no, I love it. And so from that, when kind of fast forward I mean, it’s even grown the brand and then COVID hits what how is that really impacted your business? Yeah, kind of.
I thought it was I was like two weeks late to the mask game or at least you know, people were hitting me up and yeah, and so yeah, it started for for friends and family, right just keeping them safer and healthier. And then again, just pushing numbers putting out putting, you know trying to line up like wholesale stuff or, or bulk orders or trying to figure out it was tricky cuz stuff was taking longer right distribution or custom fabric. Both are what I had to deal with. But um, and then got some awesome press just like four or five weeks ago. So there is on a daily star posted about who locally in Tucson was making masks. So that was digital and print. And then Senator cinema. She retweeted I think that Oh, really? Yeah. So that was awesome. Yeah, one of those things is like, you get congrats about something and you don’t even he hadn’t even seen it. Yeah, but yeah, so there’s on The Daily Star was was rad. took a while to kind of keep up. My seamstresses were busy making their own condition masks Yeah, and just or other projects that were kind of already in the queue. So yeah, my masks were all me. That’s another thing you know, we can get into just scaling. But uh, so yeah, I think it was posted like July 11. And then it took, you know, probably close to a month to just not get caught up with just stay on top of everything. Why? Cuz even even orders aren’t one order doesn’t necessarily mean one mask, right? It could be six on a shirt and a pouch. Some of these things I’m like, how did they find this? Like, I haven’t made one of those in a while but yeah, yeah, so the masks masks with manga, you know, tweaking that, that, that silhouette and and we’re doing a buy one give one so I kind of let the orders accumulate and then I’ll donate. I’d rather donate 50 at a time or something that like three or four there. But uh, yeah, really cool project and some great press and, and even down in Tucson like opening people’s eyes to my brand. You know what else I do? Right? They might have seen the shirts but never put two and two together. But yeah, it was a it was a cool pivot and it was out of necessity and I am happy to help and those are still going strong. So it’s cool.
No, it sounds like it always come up with new products and new designs and everything like that. How do you I guess find the inspiration. I mean, I I’m a huge fan of looking back and looking at data what’s on what’s what’s what’s trending, all that type of stuff, but I mean, how do you go about that process and figure out if it’s a if it’s a winner?
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, obviously, we’re in the digital age, you could just get really good feedback really quick. And so we with the tangible product and knowing at least as much as I know now, like it’s cool to mock up a sample, or try something new, like actual physical sample and like, or try a new colorway or something, and literally, just post it even on an Instagram story, right and get feedback. I feel like, you know, the customers gonna give you a lot of what you need to know, right? Yeah, no, like, I mean, no one’s even doing anyone any favors, right? It’s just like, be honest. Yeah. So it’s cool to be able to mock stuff up. And then back to where this all started as the blog online feed. So just staying true to my roots, right, rather, whether it be literally to do with or inspired by right the car scene skateboarding hip hop, yeah, art, more so street art murals and stuff. I’m a huge fan of architecture, but I don’t know a whole whole lot about it, but it’s it’s interesting and intriguing to me. So Trying to loop those things or always keep those at the core of my brand. But just just try new stuff, you know, with feedback or if someone asks you, you know, maybe this is an example, right? If I get if five people over the course of whatever time asked like, Hey, man, like, California pocket, yeah, be cool, right? It’s flat Flat Top could work, right stuff like that sometimes. I’m always writing down notes, you know, so just a blend of, you know, that was kind of long winded, but just a blend of staying true to my brand, obviously, and just, you know, keeping a keeping a ear to the streets.
Rolling with it. Yeah, no, and I mean, that’s what it looks like this danger, your brand. And I think that’s so, so powerful. And I think everyone’s kind of being tested right now with that and mean, how have you define that? I mean, what was that process like to define who your brand is or what the brand is what it stands for, and you know what I mean? Yeah. So back to the curriculum from 2017 going to the emerging design. program through Fashion Week.
Yeah, just really defining your customer. And starting there. I just mentioned kind of the what inspires cumulative. But yeah, just like we narrowed that all the way down. So I think the example that I ended up, at least moving forward with because that summer was pretty condensed, yeah. But you know, maybe, like, super specific, so 24 mail, let’s say a communications major, interested in maybe some similar stuff that my brand embodies, but I don’t know, you know, festivals, craft coffee, you know, like really narrowing that down. But um, yeah, just,
I mean, how what was that process? Like, because it’s talked to so many I mean, for what we do, it’s you produce content for a persona or an audience or your customer, but it’s amazing how many people don’t really have that nailed down. Like you just mentioned, the age, the demo, household income, their interest, all that type of stuff. And so how what how was that part What What did you do to figure that out?
I mean, obviously basted a little bit off, you know me and so maybe maybe I picked the age 24 because that was ballpark my age when I really started taking this seriously and then do and putting out my own product and content. But yeah, I mean, just just what what resonates with the people and then what, what? Who I can see wearing the brand. A lot of this is like, pretty, it’s pretty straightforward, but also you just mentioned this, like, sometimes it gets overlooked or sometimes it’s you’re, you’re obviously skewed or biased. Yes, you’re like, well, I like it. But, um, you know, the pocket tees have a pretty wide range. You know, I’ve made little onesies I’ve made you know, like, you know, handful of my buddy’s parents, you know are always always happy to support Yeah. But yeah, just just staying true to the core of the brand. But also being ready to pivot and try new stuff. So
yeah. Yeah, it’s a part of the game plan to stick to that core demographic or that audience? Or do you have plans to try and make new product that falls in line with other demographics to really try and grow
the brand? Yeah. I mean, you don’t want to go, you know, too broad, necessarily. But yeah, I mean, I remember another thing from day one in the boot camp was, you know, I wanted to do men’s wear and women’s wear. And they were like, hey, let’s stick to men’s for now. You know, and we were all new to each other. So I was like, Who are these guys? Yeah, but they’re out. But they had 10 years plus experience. Yeah. And so that’s what I stuck with. So yeah, that’s where I’m going to transition to or expand into with the brand is what I put down the runway the past three years. So from scratch, you know, cut and sew garments and just having fun with that tweaking, tweaking the silhouettes and pushing the boundaries and you know, it’s you just got to stay in your lane, right? Yeah, you can. You can go to the trade shows and take cues and stuff but there They’re more or less already in production they’re just waiting on like quantities. Order wise right so yeah, I’m super stoked on what I’ve put down the runway and just make getting all those puzzle pieces together right as far as you know, a budget and then then reliable production and everything but yeah, so that’s a new avenue for the brand. And just learned a bunch of things going through this pandemic and everything but yeah, I mean, the again the Arizona pocket tees are still doing really well. So if that’s if those are the means to try new stuff or expanding or or finding it seems just is that you can trust with the more intricate stuff. Yeah, so yeah, new products new, you know, I want to get back into more content and it’s cool some of the emails I get these days, right as far as I can. I’ve never done anything fashion, right? Yeah, maybe they’re more like a landscape photographer or something. And then you know what, if you’re good, you’re good. So some of my most some of my favorite recent content has been from people that were new to my niche. Yeah, just to my my industry. But yeah, always looking for for new stuff. Did you have a fashion week? A couple times. So that was cool. It was all student ran. And it was, again, kind of full circle back to that. Not 24 because you’re out of college, but just that younger. Yeah, we’re not old by any means. But just, you know, we’re kind of enough times gone by where even my brothers are out of college. Right. So that was cool to kind of tap back in like, literally to that 20 that that young, you know, maybe junior senior kind of figuring it all out. So, yeah, a lot of a lot of a lot of wheels turning, but that’s fun.
That’s as long as you’re having fun. That’s that’s the big piece. I mean, I mean, once you once you have it narrowed down on who you’re really trying to speak to or who your audience is, it just helps with that content production because it’s when you know who they are. It’s easier to say to know how you want to communicate to them. I mean, I love that you’re producing ongoing content and stuff like that. I mean, how much has that played a part in, in your overall growth is the just the ongoing content production and, and showing people what’s kind of behind the scenes and stuff.
Yeah, absolutely. I I’m heavy. I remember my one my friend just she’s like now you gotta at least try Instagram stories, right? I wasn’t I was now I’ve never even been super consistent or heavy on Snapchat, but I’m like, Yeah, but anyway, so I’m super heavy on that I love the behind the scenes. I like Instagram because as a, as someone who’s inspired by all these further along designers, right, like, it’s cool to see the behind the scenes content and the meetings and, you know, not necessarily what they had for lunch, right? And just use just cool stuff. I’m still pretty active and inspired by you know, let’s say those four core principles of my brand. We have a we just happen to have an empty pool and my dad’s house, and they call it a permission pool. And so kids will come skate and we’ve had a couple pro teams come through and that’s cool. And yeah, we had a house party way back and I just got this huge like six foot cumulate of vinyl decal. And we slapped it in there and, and that’s still there. So, you know, these kids aren’t necessarily wearing my shirts probably because they’re full sponsor, but you know, but the logos on there and it makes for some cool photos and just just mean people from you know that it just kind of passing through Tucson. But uh, yeah, I love the behind the scenes and the sewing and, you know, I’m scaling now but I still do especially with the masks. I mean, I just I had to make all that work. Yeah. Yeah, it’s just cool. Like, I’m the, obviously the face of the brand, but I mean, I’m, I’m probably not I just take over Megan’s apartment when I’m up here in Phoenix. But yeah, I mean, I’ll definitely be sewing you know, a good chunk of the rest of the afternoon. So, yeah, stuff like that and meetings and teasers and getting feedback and running polls and yeah, it’s a it’s a handful but again, I love it. It’s it’s a blast I think that really shows through and what I’m what I’m putting out but uh, yeah, I love the behind the scenes content. I think it adds You know, it tells more of a story and it brings more Yeah, more value and even to someone brand new. Like, oh, this kid’s actually actually selling and just running the brand. Yeah today it’s some of it’s not that glorious.
No, I think people love the behind the scenes I mean, it’s sad all the time. It’s I think twice like reality TV is grown in popularity so much he will just like the behind the scenes and, and really what it does is for a brand I mean, it really humanizes it, which that’s, I think, a growing trend of what people want. They don’t want to buy from a brand but they want to feel like they have a relationship with the brand. And you really help do that not only with yourself, but with the brand as well. And what a lot of businesses struggle with it’s like everyone knows they need to produce content. The hardest part is what do I produce? So how do you kind of go about that trying to think through what what does that content production calendar look like or right how do you I don’t have
it like all the way scheduled out on a calendar necessarily, but again, coming out of Phoenix Fashion Week, just getting used to putting out just a lot of content. So just just Keep that you know staying true to that but just just try new stuff right I’m I’m obviously a little heavier on the stories than the actual posts. Not that I not that there’s like any like this high criteria is it post worthy but yeah just working with new people like like again people that are new to fashion new models looking for unique looks doing more of a of a campaign right yeah like that. And and really being thoughtful about that not just slapping a feel good or slapping. Yeah. You know, I mean, we did the buy one give one which is awesome. And I probably made probably coming up on 500 masks. Wow. So there’s that which is just been awesome. Obviously given everything we’re dealing with just to keep everyone safer, healthier, but also the give back to I think the first hundred went to the Tohono o odham reservations and they got hit that one. I mean, one of the hardest spots in the nation.
Yeah, stuff like that campaign. You know, the skateboarding
Doing cool collabs with with non or non fashion brands right or non product even necessarily so we did a we did a cool one yesterday it’s with I think it’s rice this roots so it’s how it’s pronounced so roots in Spanish they just change the username but you know they do bouquets and and they’re having the plants and they just crushed the farmer’s market scene I think their main ones in Gilbert, but just working with new people right and having fun with the custom fabric we’ve done. You know, we’ve we’ve taken this photo of an A Gabi that was our friend took at the desert Botanical Gardens up here. So just having fun with the custom fabric and working with I mean, you name it breweries restaurants flooded, you know TEDx Tucson, we’ve done. I’m sure we’ve done some like a bachelorette party in the mix. But yeah, I mean, if a product’s work and might as well max it out, and we’ve had screen printed stuff, you know, coming out of the pocket. Yeah, and all that stuff. But yeah, just cool. Just kind of applying that time. principle to everything I’m doing. Right. might as well not I mean, never jam anything down anyone’s throat. Right. You don’t want to be overpowering or overbearing, but yeah, I mean, yeah, just being super consistent. I think that’s, that’s one of the things I always preach. So,
yeah, I mean, consistency is key. That’s a, that’s where a lot of business will start seeing huge success is just being consistent, doing day in and day out. And you’ve mentioned scaling a couple times, we’d love to kind of get into that, like, what does that that mean to you? And have you been able to start that, that probably I
was definitely long overdue. Just as I don’t even know the number but just to think back on how many I’ve made since let’s call it 2014. Right. And that’s just one product. But yeah, we found some seamstresses down in Tucson. Tucson is a little smaller, so you kind of know who’s doing what and at what level as far as quality so yeah, just figuring that out right die cuts and then in the next steps and, and, obviously freed up time. Yeah, so then I can focus on more of the cotton. So the garments, the, you know, the next steps for the brand or just doing anything else really like, this is this is rad opportunity, right? It’s not locking up half my day, but, you know, I wasn’t stuck at home selling. So yeah, we have some seamstresses down in Tucson, we’ve worked with some up here. And so those are really great starting points, you know, moving forward as we get more into that, you know, more intricate stuff. Yeah. But yeah, it’s been cool. And they’re, I mean, they’re sewing top notch. It’s nice to be able to drop stuff off and, yeah, like so you know. But that’s been cool. Because I went, it was it was just me, I obviously had a maximum, you know, like, let you know, let’s say a certain brands minimum was 100 shirts. It’s like, for me that was kind of, at least in a week or a couple days. That was kind of like, Alright, it’s nice to be able to entertain these bigger orders and fulfill them quickly. Yeah. Yeah, that’s been a tricky past couple months. Just Places either being closed and or not having a budget because they’ve been closed right boutiques whatever it is. So the turnaround times are better on custom fabric so it’s nice to be back in that groove. Yeah, you know, I picked up and dropped off to artist yesterday and you know I was there was the guys that do plants in the flower bouquets and then the other one was a nicer salon down in Tucson. So just like it’s cool to have that signature product and have people value that as something like oh yeah, like I would love to do a cumulative shirt right like the example I’ve I always see is like the guys that do branded bills. Like it’s just it’s a it’s a cooler. Different obviously than embroidery but it’s cool you can have fun with it. I don’t know what their minimums are or anything but I’ve met him I met him and it’s cool to see those guys scale to
rolling with it.
Yeah. And what At what point was it where you knew you needed to hire because it’s a it’s tough because once you get to certain points, you try and do everything and you know, hiring. Someone’s going to come into margins which you might have to increase prices. Figure Oh, wow. But I mean, what was that breaking point that finally made you realize like, hey, I need to I need to bring in help.
Probably a year ago and still working. I mean, again, I was 30 I was Phoenix fashion week’s designer for 2018. But I’ve worked with them you know, going through all the trade shows and everything. Yeah, just just kind of funny out all came together. We actually met there saw the lady in Vegas at this magic trade show. And so her and Brian hill from fashion week they knew each other just over the years so kind of kind of crazy that we came full circle and we at least initiated a conversation in you know, a different state. But yeah, worked out so we’re Yeah, we’re working with Nancy and her crew and again, it’s it’s always weird kind of passing the torch like you want to you know, it was it was literally my baby. It was what I had built. Call it five years. So obviously just making sure the quality’s there and, and the turnarounds and you know, what, what priority Are you you know, working out margins and pricing Obviously the higher quantity you’re going to get a better price per but again just just going for it same thing with the farmers markets way back I was confident enough in my selling my products to sell on spot and have fun at the farmers markets and then try to get some product on body. So yeah, same thing a year ago just passing the torch, you know, they were happy to help and it was right we’re not making they’re not making a button down from scratch. Right. It’s more piecework. It’s a little simpler, but it was cool. You know, it was it was another project for them. And they at the time, for whatever reason we’re looking for projects. Just it just made sense. But yeah, just getting the feelers out up and up in Phoenix and yeah, it was it was probably two years overdue, but I don’t know but you know, in those same two years that I kind of built everything else up. Yeah. So you can’t really hindsight it too much. Yeah, but
or does it or does it feel like now knowing that, like you mentioned you can hand or drop something off knowing it’ll get done. You’re not the one having to do it. I mean, what does that feel like? And what have you done with the the extra time?
Yeah, it’s it’s a good it’s a good feeling. You know, I’m still doing the custom stuff like the one off stuff that’ll come in on the website myself. Yeah, I’ve got a cool design your own option, which that’s fun to see what people come up with combo wise. But yeah, that’s been great. Just getting time back to tweak and try new stuff. Fresh masks just add a necessity but also kept me busy, right? Yes, since like March, we had to take, take new meetings and then line up new projects. And focus more on building a team. That’s probably that’s definitely a next step for me. And just, you know, really, really growing it trying to get more on the exponential side. Right versus, versus do I don’t know, maybe another 10% each year. It’s like we really want to we really want to put
And yeah, just just lining lining up. So To to really be ready. Not if but when I go when I delve into releasing a full collection. Yeah, so let’s say, I don’t know, eight tops eight bottoms or something like that. So yeah, I mean, they’ve been great their turnarounds their turnarounds good they, they’re happy to help and so you know, I always bring them cool new fabrics and combos and send them photos and stuff after the fact that people wearing them. But cool, you know, I’m kind of I’m kind of one of the the hometown boys Right. Yeah. And so it’s been it’s, it’s cool to see what big commission projects they get, you know, they’re doing simpler pleated masks, but I think they could if they needed to, they can, you know, do 1000 1000 a day so they’ve got some, you know, big spatial and a cool operation going but yeah, just just having time to maybe at the very least just keep it fun right now. Yeah, not get burnt out. So yeah, it’s it’s been great, long overdue, but I’m stoked to have that. Help. And that’s what I tell them every time. I’m like, I can keep bringing you projects. And they’re like, yeah, if
we come in, doesn’t it feel good to see the business grow and move forward and it doesn’t take as much of your time to work in it. And then you can just work on it a bit more.
Yeah. Yeah, it was. It’s always weird kind of passing that torch. But yeah, that’s cool. No, I’m proud to do a full time and that was a big step. Yeah, it’s been rad kind of crazy. Like I remember. My friend Courtney Fey, I’ve known her since kindergarten. And she said just over within the past five years like whoever thought you know q would be designing clothes right? We kind of we grew up playing hockey and riding dirt bikes. Always just rad to see how it all pans out. I think I mentioned it but my grandma taught me how to sew at least at least the basics and semi out of my own but that’s another layer to right making, making grandma proud. grandparents proud and, and fashions always been around but just trying to share in what I do, and Teaching them more about it. You know, my grandpa’s still still figuring it out, right? No better no worse no judgment. You know, it’s cool, like getting getting pressed and getting print interviews and articles and stuff like that. So yeah, shout out. Shout out to everyone who’s been pushing me since day one. And, you know, the more you do, the more you win, the more you the bigger players that you work with, you know, it’s going to give more credibility and validity to to what you’re doing. So, yeah, it’s, it’s rad. I’m happy to have production and I’m like, what the pocket tees I’m gonna obviously not max that out, but just really push it you know, we’re working on cuts and just making things more efficient. And then from there, you’re gonna just get better prices, kind of a long winded answer but learned a bunch happy to pass the torch and they’re happy for the work and they’re proud of what I’m doing and who I’m working with. That’s really cool. But yeah, it’s it’s nice to have some time. But you know, still still an entrepreneur at the end of the day, so not a whole lot of gray area. Yeah, right. I mean I still got a you know and everything right just the grind behind it and you know if I’m not sending even a blind email you know like Hey my name is Quinn I do this and the other I think we might be able to align it’s like that’s that’s black and white right? If you’re not getting the feelers out there is you can be whatever that situation is like you don’t even have have the shots yeah but yeah just just the grind running around to the fabric stores and that’s that’s another thing too you know, building a team and just everything making everything more efficient so even shipping everything you know, like I’m always run in errands but there’s there’s got to be you know, better ways. So
yeah, always family to make it more efficient. But yeah, I bet grandma’s definitely proud. Yeah, seeing that the education taught you something really run with it to a business Yeah,
it was cool. I mean, she
you know, a couple stories here she was she’s got one of the an older machine that’s built into a table. And so it can do Just heavier duty thing. I mean, she’s been working on that forever. Right? It’s just so used to it. So the literally my first machine, she didn’t want to even take the time to learn something new. Not that she couldn’t. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, so she gave me that and kind of sent me out on my own. But you know, it’s cool. And then and I feel like most grandmas are humble, you know, so she, she doesn’t want I mean, she taught me the basics and credit where it’s due. But she’s like, No, no, like, you’ve taken it so much further and like, yeah, you know, so that’s that and then it was cool to connect with her on something that she had always grown up doing. You know, I think she told me her story was just she wanted to make not even better necessarily, but just different clothes for like her dolls. I think that was that was her story. So yeah, it’s cool. It was a lot of trial and error, even figuring out just a simple kind of upside down house shaped pocket. You know, as she taught me a tote bag and all that stuff. So that’s cool. And then back to my grandpa like he I think he’s still piecing it all together. Even Now, but not the very least I kept coming back over to their house with more orders, right or a bigger pile of blanks. Yeah. We’ll figure it out. So yeah, she’s, she’s proud. And I wish I could see him a little bit more now. Everyone’s just trying to keep it lower key and healthy. Yeah, I’m always sending her links and I’ll send her this and shall be shall be stoked. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Yeah, I mean, definitely been growing a lot. That’s awesome to see. And I mean, now you’re bringing on a team and building that team. I mean, you’re the sky’s the limit. What does that future look like? I mean, the next three months, six months 12 months? What does?
Yeah, definitely pushing to get just more money on board? Just to be able to, to scale at scale, if that makes sense. Yeah. scale the scale. Yeah. And then working on working on a team, one of the girls Marcella, she was kind of friends with the Fashion Week crew, but she lived in at the time she lived in Vegas. So one of our other helpers who lives in Phoenix, Powell. They knew each other from college so they just she stayed with her and anyway so she came she just wanted to check out the trade show, you know? Yeah, I think she might have been a merchandising major or something so super into the scene had never been to a trade show at least of that scale. And we were able to get her in and like kind of funny long story short, we ended up getting rocked at my booth, right so I was making complimentary shirts. That was kind of the trade right like hey, we’ll give you a cool corner spot and all the press and affiliation and everything and so I just sold for like three days straight. But yeah, so we’re trying to work full circle trying to make line everything up to have her help. She’s back in Tucson, which is where she’s from. So like, some of the stuff he just came back up, you know, but uh, yeah, so we I would love to get a helper and but also like, bring a lot of value, right obviously in the content but also just just teaching her everything I know. And I’m sure I can learn a lot from her. You know, I didn’t make any of this took a couple classes but um, you know, I want to bring value. I’m not going to make people you know, go to the post office or check my Email.
I mean, maybe but
I don’t know, we just really want to learn and grow and push it. So yeah, a little bit a little bit more money. A team or at least an intern, which is kind of cool. I haven’t mentioned that. But I, I had 1500 bucks to my name. This was summer 2010. And shout out like 75 emails and ended up lining for unpaid internships within somewhere in LA. So it was to private label hat companies and to boutiques literally just whoever emailed back. And it was all on paid, but that’s what got my feet wet. So again, another thing that I’m proud with is to go full circle right at almost 10 years later. And because I started out as an intern, to just entertain the idea of having one of my own, I think that’s super rad, but yeah, just scaling bigger and bigger orders and then once once you can fulfill those on time and and deliver just kind of keeping that reputation, you know, and just affiliations Cool, cool collabs cool campaigns and make it super genuine. Right? Not just slapping Yeah, their logo on my thing or that is telling a story. Yeah. Yeah, this is a real quick This was one we’re doing with Moscow cranio. So the Moscow’s up from obviously wahaca. But they’re running out of Phoenix, or at least the distribution kind of side of it now. So it was cool. It was our own photo that we did some custom fabric with. And then for the shirts where we were planting an urban and gabbay. So just either a decorative gabbay either in Tucson or Phoenix actually had a lot to do with the bat population and how it works with the sonar, whatever they use to kind of navigate, but kind of cool, kind of, I’m learning about the spirit itself and the heritage. There was a cool gift back in the community kind of bridging these two cities. And they’ve won a lot of awards now, which is just part of it. Right? You never want to know they’re crushing it. Yeah. So Just a cool project like they, they brought some Moscow to a local first event downtown and just kind of cool to see how it Yeah, I don’t know. And then and I love the ideas and the kind of creative stuff that people come to me with, you know, Okay, can we do this? I’m like, Yeah, why not? Yeah, just having fun again, really, really putting out like, just really complete projects, you know? Yes. Oh,
yeah. Yeah, no, it’s really cool. I mean, as we kind of wrap up, there’s a lot. I mean, there’s a lot of people out there trying to create their own brands. I mean, fashion is just a growing and growing thing, and more and more people want to do it. So I mean, someone that’s out there thinking about it, or just getting started. I mean, he obviously went through a program that taught you quite a bit. I mean, what, what are some pieces of advice you’d have for someone in the clothing industry that trying to get started, right?
Yeah, you can. Again, like I mentioned earlier, you can just get a lot of feedback or like really quick, you know, and so I think that’s cool. If you have the means to at least get like a sample made or something that’s that’s a pretty straightforward starting point. And then on top of that, I guess more umbrella, the three pieces of advice that I always try to stay true to and pass along or, you know, consistency. Networking, those kind of those kind of dough go hand in hand and also just asking, right so so maybe you can get a sample made, maybe you can’t, but just at least mocking something up digitally and getting some feedback, asking for feedback asking for advice, right? I’m still learning and there’s some big player brands, you know, state 48 and those guys up here and so yeah, asking for feedback asking for advice asking for a Connect, asking for a meeting, right. You know, maybe do your research and be confident in where you’re trying to go or what you’re currently doing and you know, again, Hey, my name is Quinn. I make these errors on the pocket tees we might be able to align in this that way or the other Just got to ask
that that’s a big thing
you know and you never known but it’s cool some of the stories that come out of that even if we don’t collaborate on anything
or or just at the very least down someone’s radar right for seven years down the road who knows but yeah, I would I would I would try to get a sample made and I’m always happy to help and or send people any which way for embroidery or like I do have any like kind of edgy tattooed friends I’m trying to do an alleyway shoot you never know like, I’m happy to just connect people but yeah, that would be my name my main thing just just ask you know, it’s a little different at least right now with you know, maybe not meeting up with someone at Starbucks. Yeah, yeah. Trying to get on a trying to learn stuff virtually. And it’s it’s been cool to see all the all the bigger brands or bigger schools, I guess, kind of kind of pivot and how happy people are to share to kind of tie that up. I remember one of the first things they told us in the emerging designer curriculum was and we were also doing Because we were a group of 15 and there was like a couture maybe ready to wear and then we were streetwear but no one’s taking like anyone’s anyone else’s piece of the pie. Yeah, that’s that’s that was a big hurdle. And so to your point as far as you know, fashion is definitely a saturated market most Are
you still gonna go for it? Yeah, I mean
in any industry you talk about everyone, everyone says every industry is saturated. There’s, I mean, there’s just tons of people and retaining people doing stuff, but it’s if it’s something that you love, and you know, right now you can carve your your Look, your feel your brand, your who you’re trying to reach, and
yeah, I agree.
Yeah, just just gotta just gotta go for it. Yeah, and there’s another thing, there’s just like perspective, you know, it’s it’s like, yeah, you can’t really argue something saturated or not like, it probably is. But But what’s your angle there though? Is that going to be an excuse, or it can be like Hi. Maybe fill it fill a void, or or at the very least, obviously put your spin on it and and stay true to yourself. Yeah, and it’s been cool to follow some of my favorite brands who have been in it 1015 years, right? And then the time doesn’t even necessarily mean anything or guarantee anything but just cool to see everyone’s like different blueprint, right? Yeah. And then and then full circle and then go to these trade shows. And, you know, I met a couple of them back in August, you know, it’s just like, cool, obviously shake your hand, obviously, they’re real people. But you know, you’d get it to a certain level where it’s more corporate or you might not get an email back from you know, head honcho. Yeah, but um, yeah, it’s, it’s cool how happy people are to share, you know, I like to keep that going and, and just kind of spitballing bounce ideas around. And, again, I think staying on people’s radars is clutch But yeah, I would just say go for it. You know, I’m happy to help. I know. You know, stay 48 and those guys are happy to help and that’s just those are just two players in street wear your last Yes. So yeah, consistency. Asking and networking. That’s that’s what I would. That’s what I always try to pass along. And if I ever get off off, off course or whatever, you know, go back to the, to the core of my brand and then also just just what’s been working right and just pivot and kind of evolve from there. So, yeah, just go for it.
Yeah, no, I love it. And Quinn, it’s been it’s been fun. It’s since we met two years ago, watching you grow. I mean, it’s hearing that you’re, you know, building out that team. I mean, it’s, it’s gonna be fun to to see what the next two years brings. And who knows, maybe we can have a follow up and and catch up again and, and just see where you’re at. But I I’m excited. I mean, you’re gonna crush it, you’re just doing it. So but I mean, if anyone wants to get a hold of you, or or check out some of your products, I mean, how can they find you? And
so again, that’s cumulative, just about cumulative but with a cue because my name is Quinn. So yeah, que MU la ti v. That’s going to be the username. Cross all the platforms The website is cumulative brand.com. But again, I’m happy to happy to connect people and give feedback and then be honest or suggest something right there’s now a digital version through Phoenix Fashion Week kind of out of necessity. But yeah, it’s just cool to see that the next wave coming up and it’s also not scary necessarily, but inspiring, you know, just like a lot of other people gunning for it, too. So, yeah, please reach out I’d love to engage with you guys and and see where you’re up to. Maybe we can collab and yeah, and so yeah, again, I appreciate this opportunity. And I would love to follow up I had someone tell me this over the years. You know, maybe the thing that really takes you to that next level, like maybe you haven’t even thought of that yet. That’s always that’s always a weird thing too. I mean, these are the means to a lot of what I’ve done there is on a pocket tease but yeah, man just just kind of soaking it in and always jotting notes and kind of taking us but putting your spin on it. So again, yeah, please, please reach out. I love doing Engage with, with everyone, right? Yeah. And stay tuned for what I’ve got coming coming down the pipeline. So again, man, thank you for this opportunity. Not Thank you for coming in. Really appreciate it. Yeah