We had the good fortune of connecting with Emile Johannes & Leonardo Mocci and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emile & Leonardo, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
We have known each other for about five years, we were introduced by a mutual friend of ours, and over time became good friends. We are both into sneakers, fashion and anything with an engine.

Emile always planned to start a business of his own, previous generations in his family had always ran their own businesses, from hotels in southeast Asia, to artisanal and factory bakeries in the east of the Netherlands. He was just waiting for the right idea and partner to get started.

Leo had been creating more and more art over time, experimenting with all kinds of techniques. He had been trying to figure out how he could focus his time on creating art and eventually make income out of it. Therefore being able to quit his 9 to 5 as an engineer.

In the summer of 2021, on a sunny day we were hanging out at the park discussing another dope tee that Emile got, but after a couple washes the print started fading and the tee was losing quality. We both agreed it can be done better and it hit us, we were going to start a fashion brand focussing on quality garments with prints you can get lost in.

Leo came up with the name Saygon and we went from there. Leo was trying out a new technique and out of this came the painting now known as “Society”. We both instantly saw something in it. We quickly connected the dots and decided Society would be the first print we did.

After we realised how passionate we both were about this concept it ignited a fire in us to follow through. Within 2 months of research and testing, we had created mock-ups of the first t-shirt. Then we found a co-packer that was able to put our idea on cotton. With them we ordered our first drop of 15 shirts. Last week, we ordered our second drop of 75 shirts. It’s going fast and we can’t wait to see where this ride is going to take us.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? Considering we started working on our concept six months ago we feel we have gotten quite far. We have now officially registered with the Dutch chamber of commerce and have an EU business registration. This was a surprisingly easy process, and we both agreed our smoothest experience with the Dutch government. It really feels like they want people to start a business in the Netherlands.

What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
One lesson that is probably a recurring one in everyone’s life is that when in doubt try it out! Everytime we have an idea for something we want to add or change about our branding, tees and other products we just try it out. Look at the result and then decide if it works or not. As big as our imaginations are, you only really know when you try it out.

What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Our brand is for all the creatives and art connoisseurs out there, for the people that want to acquire a beautiful piece of clothing that will last them for years. Besides this every piece of art that we use in our clothing, we also mint an NFT of. This way people can also own the carbon copy of a piece of Saygon art.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Breakfast Breadwinner Bakery – contact @breadwinner on instagram and get a half dozen delicious bagels – Emile recommends the jalapeno cheddar
Omelegg – Some of the best eggs in town

Dinner Places
Mangia (Pizzeria)
Hakata Senpachi (japanese) – Traditional hibachi place of re
Cafe Amoi (Indonesian) – Go here for authentic indonesian food and great vibes. Emile recommends the Sate Kambing (goat skewer)

Lunch Places
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx – The best Belgian fries in town
Homemade Dutch Deli – Fresh and tasty sandwiches and juices
Casa Deli – A local deli with fresh bread daily, go here for an amazing sandwich
Burger Bar – Go here for a great and tasty burger
De Laatste Kruimel – Great sandiwiches
Galette – Go here for savory style crepes

Kampai! – Amazing cocktails and delicious Dim Sum
Calle Ocho (cocktail bar) – Go for a Freaky Tiki
Rooftop Bar at W Amsterdam – Go here for an amazing view
Bierfabriek – Leo recommends their homemade brews

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In terms of recognising others, both of our families have been very supportive of us starting our own business. Besides this our friend Flo inspired us and convinced us how easy it was to start a business. He himself co-founder of a tech company, Uizard had a lot of experience and helped us understand the key parts we had to get sorted. Besides this he was one of our first customers! Massive shoutout to Flo and our families! Finally we are very grateful to each other as together we have gotten to where we are and see much potential for our futures.

Website: www.saygonmafia.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saygon.mafia/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/saygon-mafia/

Twitter: twitter.com/saygon_mafia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Saygonmafia-100956725675084/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.