Kostya V.

July 22nd, 2014



LOCATION: Charlotte, NC
MISSION STATEMENT: “Billionaires is a lifestyle brand inspired by the electronic dance music (EDM) scene. We have a drive like no other to stay pure and true to ourselves. We work hard. We rave harder. Our network consists of BillionairesTV, our digital record label, online shop, & blog. We believe in building something bigger than yourself. Something that connects and unifies people. We are a community of dreamers pursuing our passions & focusing on being a positive voice in the world.”


Billionaires Apparel

SFRA: When did you guys come up with the idea of starting the Billionaires clothing brand? What inspired you to start Billionaires?
Billionaires: In 2009, I had just graduated from college & was working various odd jobs to make ends meet. At the time I really wanted to design for a living, so I took on small freelance gigs on the side. Over the first year after graduation, I submitted roughly 100 job applications, but the economy was about at it’s worst & no one was hiring. Eventually I hit a point where I decided to take matters into my own hands. I brainstormed for a few months & came up with the idea to launch a small clothing brand based around my 2 passions: design & electronic music. The idea was really spurred out of necessity & also out of the passion I have for design. Throughout highschool & college, I really looked up to brands like Johnny Cupcakes, A Bathing Ape, The Hundreds, & Benny Gold. I realized, if they can do it, why can’t I?

SFRA: How did you discover a need for this type of products in the marketplace?
Billionaires: Honestly, I really didn’t know if there was a need. At the time we launched, the EDM community was relatively small, as compared to what it is now. When Billionaires was launched, it was with the intent of pursuing something I loved doing in a community I was immensely passionate about. That was all. No master plan. No strategic plan to capitalize off of a growing trend. Just passion & a bit of luck.
What did you see lacking in the market that you believed Billionaires could fulfill?
At the time we launched, there really weren’t that many brands specifically focused around EDM. I looked around & saw a couple brands from the older rave generation, but nothing specifically catered to the 18-24 year old market. At the time, as I mentioned above, I really had no expectations for the scene or whether or not the idea would be successful. I honestly just hoped to break even on those first shirts & maybe some day be able to sell enough to go full time.

Billionaires Apparel

SFRA: What has been the most difficult aspect of getting your brand off the ground and how did you overcome that?
Billionaires: Hardest thing by far has been having enough capital to purchase inventory, invest in marketing, focus on getting in more festival’s, grow our following, etc. Taking a page out of Johnny Cupcakes, Benny Gold, & The Hundred’s books, I wanted to retain creative control of the brand & vision by not having investor’s looming behind my back demanding a return on their investment. I also opted to not take on an exorbitant amount of debt to get things started. Initially, I invested $500 into the first batch of shirts that I scraped together by valeting, cleaning carpets, & washing windows. I firmly believe in the slow trickle approach to business, because it’s sustainable. I don’t want Billionaires to be a flash in the pan, one hit wonder type of brand. I want it to be something with longevity. Something that will really last & stand the test of time. Overcoming the issue of having limited capital & funding everything out of my own pocket has been tough, but very worth it. To keep things moving forward, I pour every spare cent that I can back into the brand.

SFRA: What is the brand’s philosophy?
Billionaires: Our philosophy is this – we believe in building something bigger than yourself. Something that connects & unifies people. We are a community of dreamers pursuing our passions & focusing on being a positive voice in the world.
Who has influenced you over the years and where do you find inspiration today?
As mentioned earlier, the streetwear brands that have been there for 10-15 years & continue to be dominant forces in the industry are a huge inspiration for me. I also find a tremendous amount of inspiration from the extremely supportive fans that we have, my friends, & family – all of which have been the driving force behind Billionaires. Without the support of these people, Billionaires would have died off a long time ago.

Billionaires Apparel

SFRA: Is it a struggle to keep up with trend and competition in such a modern and constantly-evolving fashion industry?
Billionaires: Honestly, I don’t really try to keep up with & stick to trends. It’s exhausting. I make things I like & things my friends & family suggest. I really believe that if you try & keep up with trends, you’ll always be one step behind. It’s always better to set trends.

SFRA: Tell us more about Billionaires. How has the brand progressed since its launch?
Billionaires: The brand has come extremely far since it’s inception. Currently we have Billionaires Records, a small digital label based around electronic music & we’re getting ready to launch Billionaires Gaming within the next few months. Really excited about both of these new ventures as they both will continue to push the brand forward & help us connect with our fans as supporters in new & creative ways.

SFRA: Do you have any idea how your brand will evolve next? How do you plan to alter your marketing strategy to meet these changes?
Billionaires: In addition to Billionaires Records & Billionaires Gaming, we have quite a few other ventures in store. I can’t really give specifics on what our plans are, but we’re definitely excited to unveil future iterations of the Billionaires brand as a whole.

Billionaires Apparel

SFRA: What are two aspects of business in which you believe a new brand should invest resources?
Billionaires: Always branding/marketing. This is the most important asset any business has. This is what cultivates loyalty & drives people to genuinely care about your products or services. Second aspect would most assuredly be infrastructure. You could be the biggest, most well known celebrity in the world with millions of fans & want to launch business, thinking your notoriety will carry your venture forward. It definitely will ease the startup process, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to make sure you’re meeting the needs of your customers, it will quickly fall apart.

SFRA: What’s been the most successful marketing outlet for Billionaires?
Billionaires: Facebook. A lot of people hate on it, but in my opinion it’s the best way to connect with customers because of how extremely specific you can be with their advertising platform. Also, we run a ton of giveaways on Facebook as well, which has been a huge way that we’ve been able to grow our customer & fan base.

SFRA: Tell me about the name.
Billionaires: The name is primarily meant to be ironic. In 2006, we were a group of 4 friends focused on making creative little parties & raves in dorm rooms & apartments around the campus of UNC Charlotte. We were bent on making a unique experience each time we put on a production & reveled in the thought of creating memorable events & building a community. We called ourselves Billionaires Beer, named after a joke between us that if we ever wanted to be Billionaires we should start a national beer delivery service on college campuses. The name stuck. We liked the irony behind it, because our true intent was not to make money. It was to build a community of people that loved dance music just as much as we did.

SFRA: Who do you primarily make your clothes for?
Billionaires: The brand is primarily catered to 18-24 year olds that are actively engaged in the growing global EDM community.

SFRA: Who would you love to see wear the brand?
Billionaires: Honestly, as cliche as it may sound, I would really love to see Deadmau5 wear one of our products. We’ve had several bigger name artists wear our gear, but he is definitely one that would merit a framed photo on the wall & a cigar haha.

SFRA: Are there any celebrities wearing Billionaires products?
Billionaires: To date we’ve had artists like Deorro, Matt Zo, Porter Robinson, & about a dozen others wear our stuff. It’s always insanely humbling when people at this level honor us by wearing something we give them.

SFRA: Where would you like to see the brand go?
Billionaires: My crazy, huge dream is for Billionaires to someday be on the same level as Virgin. I’ve always admired Richard Branson & his immensely huge vision for his brand & companies. I would love to have Billionaires sub-brands ranging from what we already have currently to food, sports, etc.

Comments are closed.