Ben Frische: Bootlegs

Name: Ben Frische

Year/major:  Junior, Business Management, Was previously on a pre-dental track

Product/service/etc: I’m currently running my clothing brand, Bootlegs, as well as a clothing creation service that serves as a screen printing shop. So I’m working on two entities that are separate but they overlap. I’m making stuff for others (people, clubs, organizations) and also running his own streetwear clothing brand.

When did you get started? I released it around December of this year. I’ve been working on it for about 6 or 7 months. Over the summer, I was getting the back-end laid out and knew I wanted to make my announcement during the school year. Overall, however, I have been in the clothing business for about 3 years now, just running merchandise for clubs, work, my high school basketball team – any opportunity I could get my hands on and learn. I self-taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator just from YouTube and started the whole process of making the design, communicating with suppliers, and now I’ve moved to the next step of making the screens and printing them in his storage shed.

What’s your story? The main reason I wanted to do a brand is that I felt like a lot of this stuff today is very copy/paste and just poor quality. Lots of big brands will get away with selling just a cotton T-shirt for $60-70 that has no originality, and I definitely wanted to change that. I felt like a lot of brands today just have no meaning, no message, and no community behind it. What I have really been trying to do is build up a community around my brand. It’s more of a lifestyle than a brand. That’s what I like about it – it’s not a piece of clothing, it’s a movement. I have been building a discord with over 2000 people in just 2 months. It’s really just a great community of people interested in fashion, is a brand owner, photographer, 3D artist, and really just people coming together to help each other build something.

What was your favorite failure or learning experience? The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if you are going to do business with someone, you need a contract. That’s something that I now do every single time. I learned this from an experience doing a merchandising order for an organization that did not go through as a result of doing business with someone with who I did not originally have a contract.

What is the best advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur? I am a person that has had to unlearn a lot of things about doing business. As an entrepreneur, you have to wear a lot of hats and sometimes it seems like I have to do everything myself. One thing I have learned is that it is okay to delegate and pay someone to do things for you, such as a photo shoot, making a website, you name it.

What resources have been most helpful to you within and outside of IU? Within IU, 100% the Shoebox. I’m surrounded by amazing people in there and everyone has a certain skill set. There are people who I can help out and people who can help me out. We complement each other really well.

Outside of the university, Youtube – and I really cannot stress this enough. Anything you could want to know is on Youtube. I learned everything I know about clothing on Youtube.

Are you open to connect with other students? If you are a creative looking to work with a clothing brand or if you want to be part of a community of really cool people who wear cool clothes, DM me on Instagram (@b0otlegs) or reach out to me via LinkedIn. Check out the website here.