Patrick Liberty of Akomplice Clothing tells us what kind of balls it takes to run your own business
Ten years after Patrick Liberty and his brother Mike founded Akomplice Clothing, the company has morphed into a leading clothing brand, forging a path all its own. We talked with Liberty about his accomplishments, business lessons and what he’s learned from his time in the business.
What's the biggest myth in business?
"In the clothing business, it's a myth that it's not a lot of hard work or tedious at times. People think all we do is design. Designing is actually in part the easier side. Making sure you get paid, making sure stuff is delivered on time, making sure employees are motivated, and a million other things."
Gut instinct vs. experience: Which is more important?
"For me, probably gut instinct, but they might just be equal."
How do you measure success?
"Through the amount of unconditional love you have for yourself, and through your ability to live up to your potential and fulfill your destiny."
What's the toughest part of being in charge?
"Anything that goes wrong is my fault. Second hardest thing is everyone thinks you should have all the answers, but no matter who you are, you're just human."
What was the hardest lesson you learned during your first year of business?
"I can't remember as that was 10 years ago, but one of the things I remember was learning that even though all people may not return your phone calls and emails, it doesn't mean they don't want to do business."
What have you sacrificed for success?
"A ton. I remember frequently my friends would go out to parties or shows and my brother and I would have to stay back and work through the weekend."
What have you learned about yourself while running your business?
"I've learned the ways in which I'm different and unique from others in my weaknesses and my strengths, among so many other things."
What advice do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
"Make sure the plan makes mathematical sense before you invest your money. Make sure you see realistically how and when the money's going to come back before you invest the money. Bonus tip: Create
a margin of expected error in problems into your equations. You're working with a human society, after all."
What's the toughest challenge you face being in the fashion industry?
"There are many, but one off the top of my head is that we must come out with completely new products multiple times a year. Other companies may have it easier because they find one product that they just keep reproducing, refining and spending all their money on marketing and sales. In this clothing company, we spend so much time sourcing and creating new items and then moving on to the next."
Which item of clothing, accessory, etc. do you think is most important to an outfit?
"Depends on the outfit. Shoes or shirt probably though."
Where do you draw your creative inspiration?
"From this beautiful life experience."
What's the mission statement for Akomplice?
"Evolution through innovation. Following the love inherent in each individual moment."
Where do you see the company in five years?
"With how fast the world changes, and since we stand for change and innovation, I really couldn't tell you as we are always doing crazy stuff I never would have expected five years ago."