Co-creator Ventures is a series that will look at some of the great projects, businesses and initiatives that our co-creators have set up by themselves. Next to share with us his clothing business is Gianni from our 2011-12 Star Track programme.
Can you explain your business in less than 140 characters?
PlaySet London is the storytelling menswear brand based on fun and adventure. Every piece that I design explicitly tells a story.
What inspired you or how did you come up with your business idea?
I originally started printing t-shirts at 16 because I had nothing else to do with my big summer holidays. And it was a way to make some extra cash as I had no part time job. As far as the recent concept of explicitly telling stories through clothes goes, I noticed that there wasn’t anyone actually doing that; so I created a brand to tell stories with.
What do you wish you had known before you started it?
I wish I’d known the DNA of brands and brand building before starting my first business as that would have made a world of difference to how I approached it. But I’m glad I took the plunge anyway. I learnt by doing.
What keeps you going when you meet challenges?
Two things. The first is that I visualise what success would look like. That gives me something to aim for, regardless of how tough it may get. The second thing is mortality. We all die one day, so why not spend the time we have here aiming high and just going for our dreams?
Has social media helped you in any way with your business?
Social media keeps me updated on what events I need to be attending and who’s going to be where. This is really important when it comes to connecting with the publications, other creatives and future collaborators. Most of my target audience uses social media too, so that’s one the best ways to reach them.
How important is it to have a team of people around you in what you do?
Everyone has something that they’re really good at. When you bring together those different skills and channel them towards a common goal, the results are amazing.
What has been a highlight so far for you?
My latest brand is about four months old so other than finally being able to manufacture our products from scratch, our biggest highlight with PlaySet London has been getting started really! But my previous venture allowed me to: design and print t-shirt campaigns for Oval House Theatre, gain endorsements from musicians on SBTV and launch a sport sub-brand with a British cycling racer. All from the comfort of my bedroom.
What have been some of the hurdles you have had to overcome to get to where you are?
Money wise, I learned to do a lot with a little. Especially back when the EMA/Student Loan were my only sources of income. It does make you proud when you pull it off though.
What book are you reading at the moment?
I’m writing my dissertation at the moment so I’m not really reading for leisure. But the last book I read out of genuine curiosity was Richard Branson’s Like A Virgin.
Have you had any training along the way to help you to do what you do?
As far as formal training goes, no I haven’t. Everything I’ve learnt has been through the internet, books, magazines and good old trial and error. With the exception of brand building, my former tutor taught me that.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s just starting out?
The most important thing is to start and not stop. The rest will fit together as you go along.