LAYOP (Live At Your Own Pace) LAYOP is a Black-owned clothing brand that encourages its consumers to live at their own pace. This is a lifestyle that everyone can relate to. LAYOP truly believes in being true to yourself and your own individual style instead of the style and persona of others. I recently sat down with LAYOP co-owner, JimDre Westbrook, to discuss their apparel line, store and future business plans.
Why did you create LAYOP?I actually didn’t create LAYOP – I can’t take credit for that. The creator of LAYOP (Live At Your Own Pace) Clothing is Andre Thomas. He’s the founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand. Dre-T is the reason why I first got involved with the company. He gave me a shot as the company’s first intern in 2005. Since then, I’ve been on the bus and never looked back. I think people believe I created the line because I’ve been the face of the company for 12 of the 17 years of its existence. Dre-T likes to move in silence, but recently has resurfaced as the primary spokesperson of LAYOP. Our brand is at our best when Dre-T and myself convey the LAYOP message in our own unique ways. It shows people that confidence and uniqueness never go out of style.
LAYOP is an interesting name, how did you come up with it?The original name of the brand was Simple & Plain, but the motto has always been “Live At Your Own Pace.” Thomas and his friends lived by that philosophy daily and truly believed that anything else was unacceptable. Living at your own pace is all about self-confidence and longevity. If you believe in yourself, you have the ability to just be you at all times: do your own thing at your own speed. LAYOP is a lifestyle. It’s a motto. It’s a philosophy. It’s a culture. We really want people to understand the power and purpose behind the meaning. It’s bigger than the clothes we sell. It’s more about the attitude we influence. It’s more about the positivity we embrace. We want to help you move today, feel confident and love life.
What have you learned about entrepreneurship since you launched it?We’ve learned a lot about entrepreneurship since we officially launched the company in 2001. At first, the business was simply a hustle. Now, the business is a corporation. Entrepreneurship is a full-time grind = a lifestyle. There’s nothing like it. Working on your business is like raising a kid. It’s always by your side. You must feed it daily so it can grow and become productive. It’s a big part of who you are and what you will become. Welcome mistakes and failures. Learn from them. Evaluate each outcome. Don’t cheat the grind. Even though the journey to success takes time, it’s so worth waiting for. Freedom and independence is everything.
How have failures helped you succeed?I believe the failures throughout the years have helped us appreciate the process more and gain a deeper purpose on what an entrepreneur is all about. When you fail at something you’re excited about, the blow can be devastating. When things haven’t gone our way in the past, we’ve learned to keep pushing and stay the course. There’s no need to panic, press or pout. Failures have also taught us the lessons of perseverance and patience. We’ve heard thousands of “NOs” before and we’re still here. Failures help breed toughness and character. They’re really setups for the next “YES.”
You are from Michigan so why Las Vegas?In 2007, we decided that it was time to relocate. We were all from Michigan (Flint/Detroit/Saginaw) and loved living in Ann Arbor (most of us graduated from the University of Michigan), but felt it was necessary to spread our wings and leave home base. At this time, the automotive industry crashed and we felt it was a good time to move. Our top 5 choices were NYC, LA, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. Vegas wasn’t even an option initially. NYC and LA were too expensive. Chicago was still in the Midwest. We didn’t know the Miami market. Dre-T and myself both wanted Atlanta, but felt the Atlanta fashion industry was a little saturated. So, as a joke, someone said “Let’s move to Vegas!” After we researched Vegas, it made business sense. Everyone comes to Vegas. People come for work, travel and/or play. So, we made the decision to relocate to Vegas and I moved two weeks later. On my first day moving to Vegas, I met some people who would eventually change my life and help LAYOP make our mark on the Las Vegas Strip. God is good!
How do you plan to grow your brand further?Our plan is to continue to grow our brand by receiving strong website sales (LAYOP.com) and flagship store sales (located inside Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas). As we increase brand awareness, we believe sales will also increase. Our goal is always to get more eyes on the brand. We truly want people to understand what the LAYOP lifestyle represents and how it can change lives. The more people who know about LAYOP, the better opportunity we will have to grow the brand exponentially. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs with the dream of launching a clothing brand? Believe in yourself wholeheartedly. Research your industry thoroughly. Identify qualified role models and mentors. Embrace mistakes and failures. Build a good team around you. Develop tough skin and smooth networking skills. Shoot your shot. Again and again.
Call to ActionSupport LAYOP by stopping by the store on the strip when you visit Las Vegas or by ordering clothing off the website. https://layop.com/
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