T.B.N Interviews: Danny Wong

Mens Fashion these days is becoming increasingly revolutionary and groundbreaking, with new silhouettes from designers such as Thom Browne and Phillip Lim, to the re-invention of stodgy english dress shoes, courtesy of Barker Black. Today we interview Danny Wong of Blank-Label.com, a Boston-based online mens clothing company, specializing in customizable and affordably cool mens design-it-yourself dress shirts. We ask Danny about his goals, inspirations and the Blank-Label customer, and how he feels mens fashion is truly changing.

Danny Wong Of Blank-Label.com

Danny Wong Of Blank-Label.com

T.B.N: So Danny, Blank-Label.com is your online men’s clothing shop, what drove you to create it?

Danny: Well, it all began with my love for fashion. I used to be a big street wear person when I first started my interest in fashion and style, and I used to rip holes into and splash paint on my jeans, and create designs for t-shirts. I was a Do It Yourself kinda guy. This year, I came upon Fan Bi, Blank Label’s CEO, who had an interesting opportunity at the company, which was selling custom men’s corporatewear at the time. I thought the concept was intriguing enough that I jumped on-board. Ultimately, the idea of selling custom suits and dress shirts wasn’t sexy enough for the company to continue moving forward. So Fan and I co-founded a new business, which is still known as Blank Label, but this time around we were producing custom men’s dress shirts. We fell in love with the idea of providing a custom product that was about customizing your own style. We created it because Fan and I consider ourselves trendy males, who are tired of paying overpriced “designers” to create shirts that we might not even like, or shirts that we kind of like, but notice there is one unbearable detail about the shirt that just ruins the whole piece! Blank Label solves the problem pain of going into a store and never finding something you like, or finding something you like, with that one detail missing. Another problem we wanted to solve for consumers was finding the RIGHT SIZE. With our online custom dress shirt shop, you can get the size YOU want, because every piece of product is individually made, never mass-produced, and we will ALWAYS have your size.

T.B.N: What do you love most about men’s fashion?

Danny: I love how simply complex it is. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s the best way to describe how amazing men’s fashion is! We don’t have as many crazy styles as women do, but we can amend very small details in our outfits to make them more exciting, more different.

T.B.N: What do you love most about what you do?

Danny: What I love most about what I do is being able to really affect an organization. I carry an anti-corporate sentiment in that I would rather be an entrepreneur and be an under 25 top-ranking officer in an organization over starting entry-level at a corporation and working 7 long years to climb the corporate ladder, before I can actually make a difference. I love having the power to make decisions, to be part of the decision-making process with my team members, and to see the fruits AND the horrors of my decisions. The positive results I create are certainly fulfilling, but I always learn the most from the terrible decisions I make, which provides for a steeper learning curve, allowing me to have exponential growth as a professional and a worker.

T.B.N: What or who motivates you?

Danny: What motivates me is the passion I have for Blank Label. I have adopted the business as my baby, and am giving my all to nurture it and watch it develop. I get out of it what I put into it, and the results are always 10-fold, even if the results do not come in the form of a heavy paycheck. What motivates me every day is being able to do something amazing with amazing people.

T.B.N: What was the hardest part about starting your label?

Danny: The hardest part about starting Blank Label was finding a great team to support the brand. Sure, we can have a great idea and a great business model, but ultimately, it comes down to execution. How can we get it done? Who can get it done for us? Finding the right people was hard, but we are confident we have a strong enough team to carry us through the new journey Blank Label is on.

T.B.N: What’s you favorite decade of men’s fashion?

Danny: I definitely have to say the 1960’s. Hippie fashion was AMAZING and revolutionary. Their style was one way of going against traditional conventions, and that’s what I’m all about: breaking rules, having no remorse, and just being a leader, especially in fashion.

T.B.N: Where is Blank Label based?

Danny: We are based right outside of Boston; our office is currently located in Wellesley, which is only 20 minutes from the city. Originally we spawned from Sydney, Australia and then set-up satellite offices in Boston and Atlanta, but are now only based in Boston.

T.B.N: Who is the Blank Label customer?

Danny: A trendy, fashionable male. He’s the guy that likes to look stylish and be his OWN person. He’s a trend setter, not a follower. He is creative with outfits, and sometimes likes to break conventions. Ultimately, I would identify our consumer as an Urban Outfitters, H&M, Zara, American Apparel shopper. Our consumer fits several profiles. He can be the guy with the cropped pants and boat shoes, the guy with skinny jeans and loafers, or the guy with straight leg ripped jeans and sneakers. He is a guy that cares about the clothes that he buys and certainly does NOT dress in the dark. He has a great appreciation that expensive does not necessarily mean fashionable, but can admire a nice leather messenger bag.

T.B.N: How do you separate your brand from other brands?

Danny: Blank Label is different from other brands because we really connect with our consumer. We’re a small business and are open to talking to our loyal customers. We’ve got a Twitter account and Facebook page if you don’t believe it! We won’t forward you to an offshore call center or create a robot to be able to properly respond to you. Also, we are the consumer that we are selling to. We shop at the same places you do, dress similarly, and style ourselves in ways that show our uniqueness.

T.B.N: What advice would you give future entrepreneurs and business owners?

Danny: Have the risk-tolerance to fight through the bad times to get to the good. But when the bad times come back around, don’t lose your cool and wimp out. Being an entrepreneur certainly doesn’t mean “getting rich quick and easy” or having an awesome business that just continues to see positive growth. Being an entrepreneur means long nights (it’s 4am right now as I am responding to these questions), hard mornings (I will be getting up in a few hours, if I decide to go to bed at all), and having hard brick walls constantly getting in the way. To be an entrepreneur you have to really have passion for what you are doing because if you don’t, then you won’t be successful. That’s one virtue in life and entrepreneurship. You cannot be truly successful at something if you are not truly passionate about it. Note that success is not measured in dollar ($) figures either.

T.B.N: Finally, in 5 years time what does the future look like for Blank-Label.com?

Danny: The future seems positive! 5 years is certainly a long time from now, especially since we are only a 1 year old company. But prospects for the future are confidential at the moment (sorry!), and they are certainly unclear as well. Who knows? Maybe we will get acquired by Limited Brands, which owns stores like Express and Victoria’s Secret. Or perhaps we will acquire the retail giant H&M. Who knows? (Acquiring H&M is a lofty goal, we know!)

Lastly, please feel free to check out Blank Label’s website now to get 20% off your first purchase by signing up before they officially launch on Oct 30th! Then stay tuned for their new website launch on Oct 30th, which will include a customizable dress shirt application which will allow you to design your own dress shirt.

You can find a few of Danny Wong’s fashion musings on Blank Label’s Men’s Fashion Blog and he can be reached via Twitter at @dannywong1190.

Thank you so much for your time Danny.

By: James Field for The Black Nouveau


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