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Published on January 8th, 2012

Posted by Garron Gibbs:

The street-wear fashion industry is easy to enter but hard to conquer.  Most of the brands focus on T-Shirt designs and accessories as opposed to full clothing lines and as a result, few of the brands last longer than a few years.  So how do you overcome the odds and build a lasting effect on the culture?  On the surface, the street-wear culture seems carefree and fun-loving.  But to remain relevant and profitable, you have to treat your brand the same way a surgeon treats surgery…Serious.


Bill Nearn Jr. (Founder / Designer), Jarrett Payne (Director of Marketing), Ed Brown (Director of Sales and Promotions) and DJ Aye Boogie are the men behind “Tha Clouds”  otherwise known as Abstract Thought. The Philly based street-wear brand defies the stereotypes by producing “Intellectually Artistic” designs, accompanied by surgically precise business practices. Their heads may be in the clouds, but their feet are planted firmly on the ground–putting in some SERIOUS work.

(Abstract Thought Interview with 215 Magazine — Directed by The Magnificent)


In case you were wondering, here’s a list of things that separate Abstract Thought from your average street-wear brand (besides the fact that they have the Dope-EST styles)


1.  They’re Serious

When I met with Bill, Ed and Jarrett at the 52nd Street Sneaker Villa, I tried to get as many secrets as possible as they pertain to Abstract Thought.  They didn’t budge.  I guess real G’s do move in silence.  Instead, Bill spoke generally about the business process, including market research and the timelessness factor enjoyed by brands such as Ralph Lauren.  The idea of timelessness is often lost amongst young upstarts because many of us are overwhelmed by the distractions that come with the process.  Instead, the Abstract Thought team carry themselves with a sense of urgency and seriousness that serve as “blinders” while racing to the top.









2.  When It Comes To Marketing, They Get It

The purpose of marketing is to create demand for your product, resulting in SALES.  In a crowded market, this task is more difficult because there aren’t really that many true points of differentiation.  In the street wear market, most of your competitors will have similar price scales and even if your style is unique, your competitors can create something similar.  So how do you truly stand out?  You create a point of differentiation, know to some as the cool factor.  Ralph Lauren and Nautica make similarly styled clothing, yet Ralph Lauren enjoys the benefits of being cool.  Abstract Thought has also been able to capture cool.  With the help of their successful hip-hop concert series known as NewTrition, Abstract Thought has been able to take a step to the left of their competition.  Being able to attach an experience to a brand gives that brand life and a chance to achieve staying power.

3.  They Are Their Brother’s Keeper

If you want to be successful, you have to have a solid team.  No exceptions.  You’ll fare even better if you can surround yourself with individuals who are just as good or better than you are at a particular task.  The Abstract Thought team is strategically assembled to excel in this market.  There is someone whose primary focus is design.  There is someone whose primary focus is distribution.  There is someone whose primary focus is marketing (web design, social media etc.).  Being able to put most of your focus on one particular task at a time enables you to perfect your craft over time.









4.  Their Product Is Actually In Stores

I’m a firm believer in, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.”  As a clothing company, it’s cool to start out with an online store, however you should aspire to getting your brand in physical store locations.  Not only is this a great way to expand your brand, but it’s also more cost/time effective to sell in bulk.  Abstract Thought is distributed via several Sneaker Villa locations (52nd Street, The Gallery, Kensington, Wilmington DE, Atlantic City NJ, Camden NJ, Pittsburgh PA, Cleveland OH, Amherst NY) and Dream Clothing Company in Atlanta, GA.

None of the things on this list would matter if Abstract Thought had wack designs.  So just as much as we want to throw launch parties and video shoots, please remember to focus on what really matters….making sure that whatever you create is DOOOOOOOOPE.







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