In this particular interview, we sat down with Tony D as he gave us both a view into his personal life as well as insight into his company Sample Industries. Starting with a good friend, an avid social media following, and a dream, he was able to overcome adversity and establish a successful business.
Originally from Watts, California, Tony D moved to Decatur, Georgia when he was only 3 years old and has been there ever since. Now attending Georgia Perimeter College, (recently incorporated into Georgia State this past January), he balances the immense workload of college while maintaining the high demands of running a business.
He and fellow co-founder Christian (“Bull”) Bright were originally making videos and reviews on youtube as well as other social media platforms for bigger more well known brands. After realizing how in depth their own style was and the influence they had in to industry, Tony D and Bull decided to make their own clothing line. They duo put their collective minds together in order to begin their designs for the fashion forward and, in doing so, their business began.
However, they still needed a name and they wanted something that defined them and their product in the most paramount way, a name that matched their uniqueness as well as their perspective on clothing. That is when “Sample” came to mind. Tony states that they chose the name because “when you think of sample, you think one of a kind”. Sticking to their name “Sample,” Tony says that their vision is not to mass produce a piece to where it becomes diluted, but rather have limited quantities and drop multiple pieces at a time. In doing so, this creates a “one of a kind/limited edition” sense to their consumer in which it establishes an interpersonal connection with their brand. In layman’s terms, it’s like they’re making the product specifically for you. Tony says “[we don’t do restocks, that’s what the brand is about, just dropping pieces and keeping it moving].” He relates this to a factory to where “their pushing out samples” constantly and not looking back.
Also, this technique saves money and gives them a base analysis on what their consumer likes without taking a major hit when something doesn’t sell out. This is quite a business-savvy idea and it is clearly working as nearly everything on their website is either sold out or low quantity. This opens up storage space so they’re able to output new product quicker and keep their business growing at a faster rate.
As it relates to the future, Tony’s vision for this upcoming year is to keep expanding and hopefully get employees to match the growing demand of their sales. His ultimate goal is to either have a storefront in Atlanta or Virginia.
When asked about his thoughts on the prices on brands such as Fear of God, John Elliot, and Yeezy:
“I feel like when you’re an artist you can do that, [as long as your quality matches up with your price point]…When I was 12-18 years old it was all about the brand. Now in this day in age with all these different brands it’s more about the design if anything. You don’t have to have the big brands on your body to be cool. You can rock something that no one even knows what it is and people still would be like ‘damn what is that?’ because it has a nice design to it. [Also], even with the bigger brands they have to be more innovative now. They can’t just put the same things out ‘cause there’s too much competition in this industry and there’s other brands that would sell it for cheaper.”
When asked if there’s anyone that he would want to do a collaboration with:
“I would love to do a collab with Saucony in the future, haven’t really brought it up but it is something I would like to do, like a collab on a shoe. Also, Hypland is a very dope brand as well and we talked many times before on the possibility of collaborating, so that could be a possibility.
“Maroon 6s, very basic but burgundy is my favorite color and they came out around the same time I was born and I like the 6 silhouette so I’m going to have to go with those.”
One thing in your closet you can’t do without:
“I would have to say basic tees, they just go good with layering and you need it in every outfit.”
A true designer for the normal consumer, he does videography and photography as well, with all the pictures for the SMPLIND website being shot by him. His drive and open mindedness will be a catalyst for their company’s success and it is only a matter of time before he is mentioned in the same breath as some of his idols.