While Lex may self-admittedly lack in business expertise (overrated), she followed the most basic concept. Businesses solve problems. You don’t need to make it more complicated than that. The market was underserved for electronic dance music clothing, so she created her own company to meet that demand. One woman running a growing clothing company, without any real business experience before. Awesome.
First off introduce yourself, who you are, what you’re doing. Maybe a little bit about your employment background or education.
My name is Lex Houser, and I am the owner/creator of an EDM clothing line called Bad Kids Clothing. I went to USC for Communication, not really sure what I wanted to do at the time, but I ended up being really good at and hyper-focusing on social media strategy and marketing. Right after I graduated I worked in Hollywood for a little while at an entertainment news website doing red carpet interviews, writing stories, editing video, managing social media and graphic design for the site, and then I worked at a start-up media company called Sparkwave Media in Venice Beach as their social media manager. Even when I left LA a year ago, I continued doing social media for different people and companies I met along the way.
Tell us what Bad Kids Clothing is, how many people you have, what kind of numbers you’re doing (if comfortable) and how you got started.
Bad Kids Clothing is an EDM-inspired clothing line for people going to shows, festivals and raves. Basically, our shirts are neon professions of love for EDM and the culture that surrounds it.
I wish I could say this was like my lifelong dream and I’m finally fulfilling it or something, but to be honest, Bad Kids is something that just kind of happened. I’ve always been frustrated with finding clothes to wear to events. I would go into Forever 21 or H&M a couple weeks before an event just looking for anything neon and lightweight with something printed on it that might somewhat apply to the scene, but I always came out empty-handed. Last fall was the birthday of one of my closest friends in LA, Juelz.
I made a quick little design, ordered the shirt for him and that’s exactly when the light bulb went off. I thought, “Why isn’t there a line of clothes like this for people like me who are looking for stuff to wear to shows and festivals?” I knew there wasn’t one out there yet, I’d been searching for years online. So I hit up my friend Nick Romero who owns a custom print shop in Venice Beach called The Ave, Venice, I told him my idea and he was nice enough to give me the ability to bring this idea to life. I would design all the shirts, my website, run my social media and all the marketing, while Nick would print the shirts and fulfill them. I launched Bad Kids Clothing a few months later in December and it’s been growing steadily ever since!
Nick recently helped me acquire my own printer, so now I’m doing all the printing along with everything else – but I think in the near future I might have to bring another person or two in because we’re growing pretty fast.
**What have been some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced? How did you handle them? **
The biggest challenge would definitely be trying to start and run a legitimate business on my own with zero business-running experience. My background is in social media marketing and strategy – not business, or economics, or even fashion, for that matter. I have done a lot of freelance in my life so I do understand the idea of hustling and self-starting, but this is different than providing social media services for an individual. This is providing a product – one that I can stand behind proudly – to the masses. Maybe I’m “showing my cards” a bit by admitting that,
but I think it’s important for other young people to understand that if you have an idea for something, you shouldn’t let the fact that you have no past experience in that field stop you.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and there are always people and resources to guide you along the way when you need help.
What is your average day like? How do you manage your time to make sure that things need to get done?
Most of my days are pure insanity to be honest, but that’s how I like it. As the owner of this business, I play a thousand different roles and I have to give them all equal time, which is why I’ve really gotten into the habit of list-making. This might sound really sad but there is no greater joy for me right now than putting things on my to-do list and crossing them off.
I actually get an endorphin rush while crossing things off the list.
I’ve developed my own little systems for being organized with other things within the business, but basically I know that every day I have to get up and get on top of my social media first and foremost, because without reaching out to new Bad Kids and interacting with the current ones, there is no Bad Kids Clothing.
The social media aspect of the business is definitely my favorite part – maybe because that’s where I specialize, but also because I love seeing kids get excited about the clothes and having something to wear to their events that they love. I spend the rest of my days printing, shipping, running business errands and making connections with other people in the EDM world. It’s a lot of work but I’m grateful for it, the chaos of it makes me happy.
A lot of people have ideas. But taking action and executing are a completely different thing. What inspired you to start your company and what would you say to someone else who has an idea, but unsure of where to start?
All I can say is that I knew in my gut that I was capable of doing this and that this clothing line would fill a void for other people like me who were feeling frustrated with finding things they actually wanted to wear to events. Let’s be honest, your outfit is at least 50% of what makes or breaks these EDM events for you. **We all want to see and be seen. ** Nothing’s better than wearing a shirt that says “Let’s Get Weird” and having 50+ strangers come up to you during an event and give you a high-five, or a hug, or chant “LET’S GET WEIRD” at you for ten minutes. It creates a great energy.
If you have an idea but don’t know where to start, do research into what it requires to actually get started, and look to your current contacts to help you or to connect you with someone who can help you. ** The people you know are always more likely to take a chance on you** or reach out a helping hand than the people you don’t know.
**There’s business advice everywhere. For me I hate when people say that you need a business plan. What is some “common” advice that you disagree with? **
Well I definitely also disagree with the “you need a business plan” advice, because I didn’t have a business plan. Not that it’s a bad idea, but sometimes it’s better not to have a plan because life unfolds before you in unexpected ways, it doesn’t care about your “plans”. I simply had an idea and I went with it. Period.
I subscribe to this notion;
Once you find your passion invest everything you have in it and never look back.
If you’re serious about an idea and you believe in it, you have to put money into it to get money out.
**Plans for the future? **
There are a lot of things I’d like to do with Bad Kids in the future, the biggest of which would probably be a Bad Kids event. In my mind there would be nothing bigger or better than throwing our own EDM event. Hopefully I’ll get to see that happen one day!
*Photo is not Lex Houser.
****I’m starting to do interviews with individuals who are passionate about what they are doing and can provide inspiration and insight for all of us. If you would like to recommend someone, please contact me
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