When most students move away from home to go to college the only thing on their mind is partying and going to class. Unlike those students, Justin Escalona was able to turn a $100 investment into a company worth over $5 million dollars in only three years while attending the USC Film school. When Justin was living in his freshman dorm he created an e-commerce streetwear company called 1340 COLLECTIVE. The company was created as a joke to prove to his friend living down the hall that he could make a better clothing company. The name “1340” was actually just the number of his dorm room at USC. In only the first week of the company being activated, 1340 generated over $20,000 in sales. Since then, Justin has been scaling the company at a rapid pace. Celebrities such as Ethan Cutkosky, Khalid & David Dobrik have been spotted wearing 1340 clothes.
In today’s world, the barrier of entry to building an e-commerce store is very low. Pretty much anyone can make their own shop if they have a few hundred bucks to pay for a website and samples. Justin found extreme success during the early stages of his growth by drop shipping his garments direct to consumers. 1340 classifies their new clothing collections by monthly “ROUNDS”. When Escalona was marketing ROUND 1, he found himself in a tough position where most print shops had a minimum order quantity that he could not afford. With only $100 to his name, he found a place that would print just one unit. With that one unit, Justin was able to photograph all of the marketing material and pretend like he had a massive inventory when in reality he only had one shirt. The shirts went live on the website and Justin would use the money from the orders to pay for the production of the shirts he was selling. With this model, it allowed Escalona to have zero overhead while selling hundreds of t-shirts.
Justin believes in the philosophy of selling stories, not products. With every piece, he tells a story through his clothes. In his most recent collection, it is inspired by him growing up in the suburbs. On the back of one of the pieces titled, “SUBURBIA”, it has a quote that says, “This boring life isn’t boring at all. This place will forever be my home”. It serves as an homage to the place he’s from while also providing commentary towards the idea that a lot of people overlook the importance of where they grew up. Having relatable stories in his clothing has allowed him to sell so many units over the years.
Before Justin’s primary focus was on designing clothes, he used to be a concert photographer for rappers in the Chicagoland area. When he was only in 8th grade, he would sneak into concerts at local venues and pretend to be a press photographer. Justin would put his dad’s camera around his neck and walk right past security. He was known for being able to get backstage and meet many of the artists performing. Justin did this every single weekend for four years building up a massive Rolodex of people in the industry. He developed many friendships with these artists which have proven to be a vital aspect of 1340 COLLECTIVE.
When Justin would go to these concerts or asked to take pictures on a tour, he would always do it for free. Many of the musicians he would photograph took notice of this. In the world of freelancing, doing things for free is more valuable than asking for a small payment. Justin is quoted saying, “Money doesn’t make you rich, relationships do.” By sacrificing a standard fee of $200 to take photos and doing it for free, Justin built up very strong friendships with some of the top artists in the industry. In our interview with Justin he went on to say, “Many of the artists I would shoot had the money to pay me and even offered, but I would always say no. One day down the line this will all pay off in a much bigger way rather than taking a few hundred dollars. You have to think when one of these artists thinks to themselves “oh who should I hit up to take photos?” There’s a 90% chance they’re going to hit up the guy who’s always down to work for free instead of the person charging $150.”
The way Justin cashed in on all of his favors was by having his friends take photos wearing 1340 clothes and posting it on social media. This is how he was able to garner so much attention toward his clothing almost overnight. Having artists with over 1 million followers post a branded photo can cost anywhere from $50,000-$250,000. Social media is the new gold mine for advertising if done correctly. Whenever Justin does marketing campaigns on Instagram, he makes sure to always target a niche at a time. He is currently running a large scale campaign right now with NFL and NHL athletes. He has yet to pay a single dollar for a post.
You can check out 1340 COLLECTIVE here!
Arslan Fazal is a student of the Aust Abbottabad University of Science and Technology. He started his graduation in 2016 and graduated in 2020. I’m a professional article and blog writer, has written dozens of content on different topics and worked with professionals all over the globe. Feel free to contact me for any assistance. [email protected]
Kanye West Merch
Kanye West is a popular rapper, musician, and clothing designer. He has many fans, who adore his music and fashion. Recently, Kanye West Merch has started selling merchandise on his website. His fans have been eagerly buying it up. The merchandise includes T-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other items. Some of the designs feature popular lyrics from Kanye’s songs. Other items feature graphics or designs that are inspired by Kanye’s music or fashion sense. So far, the feedback from fans has been positive. They love the quality of the materials used and the designs of the items. They also appreciate that they can buy merchandise that is exclusive to Kanye West Merch website. If you’re a fan of Kanye West, be sure to check out his online store for some great merch.
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Kanye West Shirt
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Kanye West Sweatshirt
Kanye West’s influence in popular culture is undeniable. From his early days as a hip-hop artist to his recent foray into fashion design, Ye has always been one step ahead of the curve. His latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” was released in February 2016 and spawned hits like “Famous” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1.” If you’re looking for some new Kanye West gear to show your support for the rapper, check out our selection of sweatshirts. Made from 100% cotton, these hoodies are comfortable and keep you warm on those cold days or nights. They’re also machine-washable so they’re easy to take care of – perfect if you’re on the go! Whether you’re listening to Ye’s latest album or just hanging out with friends, these Kanye West sweatshirts will let everyone know that you’re a fan of the artist extraordinaire! Order yours today! (Sharing an exciting giveaway opportunity here as well if available)
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.