Custom apparel can be a unique and effective way to market a small business. But when not just any type of apparel will do, FlowState Marketing offers a high quality solution within its athleisure niche.
You can read more about the company and the innovative solution that sets it apart in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides custom branded products for businesses.
Ben Thomson, COO of FlowState Marketing told Small Business Trends, “FlowState Marketing is a digital marketing and branding agency offering impactul solutions to help businesses thrives. We custom design and produce corporate identity products. FlowState has worked with over 300 brands including some of the biggest tech companies and breweries like SendGrid, HomeAdvisor, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Ibotta, Breckenridge Brewery, iHeart Radio, Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum and many more.”
Using unique and high quality materials.
Thomson explains, “We invented (TM pending) our own high quality fabric for the athleisure wear market that is water resistant, wrinkle-free, and is incredibly durable for repeated wash and wear.”
How the Business Got Started
Out of another lifestyle brand.
Thomson says, “FlowState Marketing was born from Belong Designs, an apparel and lifestyle brand built on the premise ‘Follow your passion, do what you love, find where you belong’. The motto originated from all three founders agreeing to pursue a work life built upon passion, and after considering our options we settled on athleisure wear. After all, where better to place our new motto than on a t-shirt where it would be easily seen and discussed? Applying our backgrounds in mechanical engineering, we created a soft and durable fabric with the purpose of sublimating prints onto cotton. Sweat resistant, and wrinkle free, this premium fabric began garnering attention—and other companies wanted their logo placed prominently on this quality design. To avoid the conflict in branding for Belong these opportunities represented, FlowState Marketing was launched in early 2016. Since then, FlowState Marketing has rapidly evolved into a digital and branding agency creating impactful design and branding solutions to help businesses thrive.”
Pursuing the business full time.
Thomson says, “From day 1, we talked about how someday we would be able to ‘do only this’ and how we couldn’t wait until we were able to hire our first employee. Each day after finishing work in our engineering roles, we would go down to the basement and continue to work on our dream of growing FlowState and our apparel brand. Fast forward two years and after appraising accounts, finances and confirmed projects we realized growth was now limited by the hours we had in each day. We gave eight months notice to our employers and continued to work both jobs until going full-time in early 2016. From that point forward, if there was more work than the team could complete in one day, it meant we were ready for a new team member to join the company and keep growing together. -BT
Putting an emphasis on sales.
Thomson explains, “Early on, we hired a friend to do sales and paid them 2.5X what we ourselves were making. The first 12 months were incredibly hard with a five person staff floating payroll. We almost had to let our sales lead go but after multiple hard discussions, kept the friend on. This staffer then went on to close some of the largest accounts and soon became FlowState’s Director of Sales. This lesson taught us to give sales time to grow — and to offer a sustainable base + commission for incentive.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Growing the team.
Thomson says, “We would hire additional employees and work to improve the already great culture of our company. We would offer more employee perks and look at a bigger office for our staff (we have rapidly outgrown our existing space)!” – SM
Find a way.
Thomson says, “Along with a culture of transparency, FlowState is built on the foundation of self-directed learning, and our accelerated growth can be attributed to an attitude of, “If we don’t know how, we’ll find out, and we’ll do it well.””
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas Edison
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Images: FlowState Marketing
Top Image: Founders Mark Grubbs, Ben Thomson, Shamus McNutt