Suzanne Akin is a freelance graphic designer that has a thing for starting companies.
Her pride and joy is her personal clothing line, www.akinz.com which is geared towards the snowboarding and wakeboarding communities of which she herself is a member. She says that this is the closest she has ever come to using her degree in Fashion Design and hopes that it can one day become her job. The clothing line’s motto, “Find your wings” is about finding that one thing that moves you, the one thing that makes you push your limits and reach for the sky. Because, after all, life is too short to settle for the ordinary. Akinz has recently been expanding into new product lines such as hoodies and soon to come sunglasses and hopes to be set up for greatness in the Winter 10/11 season.
Morningbird Collective is her newest venture, which is a collective creative space to host all things worthy in the world of 2 designers. Not only does it promise to provide you updates on ideas and products in the world of fashion, art, design, music, and modern culture that gets us excited; but it will be providing a place for artists and unknown brands to sell their stuff. Check out the site at www.morningbirdcollective.com and buy a couple things to support the artists currently featured or send Suzanne and Bumpas a note.
What are you working on right now?
I am trying to push Akinz into the wholesale market… into shops and online stores instead of just being a direct retailer. To do that, it takes a lot of preparation and investment and I’m just trying to work out the kinks with a couple smaller shops before I do my first trade show in August.
3 Trends that excite you?
1. Shift in focus towards smaller, more independent brands. It used to be about being “established” and now a lot of people are getting more excited about the little guys. Hopefully this will help me get my foot in the door with a bunch of shops and fans.
2. Conversing with the consumer instead of talking at them. Since I’m a small company and have never taken out a business loan, most of my advertising has been very personal, free, and involves either the internet or word of mouth. Therefore, I’m already at the conversing stage without having to shift my “advertising ideology.”
3. Trend towards ‘communities’ instead of marketing groups. We just relocated to Fort Collins, CO and being further from the mountains, there isn’t an established snowboarding community here. However, there are snowboarders… just need to round them up! I just started a meetup group called FoCo Riders Faction to help consolidate the local community that Akinz will sponsor.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Act on them. It’s a simple sentence, but true… we talked about Morningbird Collective for a few months before we actually started working towards the site design. Then once we started working on the site, people got excited and it just all came together. Of course, I’m a graphic designer and my boyfriend is a web developer, so that definitely helps things in the marketing department.
What’s the next step for Akinz?
I have a couple shops that are interested in picking up the line during the summertime and I’m hopefuly exhibiting at the Action Sports Retailer trade show in California this August.
What fuels the passion behind your businesses?
I love to snowboard, wakeboard, rock climb, hike, just about anything outside. Both of my businesses were created in the hopes that I can run a business connected to the ourdoors and the arts.
Morningbird Collective: @morningbirdhype
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.