We had the good fortune of connecting with Robert Sung and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robert, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I started working in the denim industry in 1994 and opened my own denim manufacturing company in 1997. I’ve worked with hundreds of companies ranging from budget lines to high end collections. In 2010 I stared doing CrossFit and fell in love. The intensity, comradery, and health gains were addicting. After lifting for a while, I noticed that my clothes no longer fit the way they used to, especially jeans. I went to the stores to find something that fit correctly but was amazed that no one catered to the athletic fit market. In my 16 years in denim, I never imagined that an untouched niche existed. Did some research and found that the demand was there. Started looking for fit models by contacting fit model agencies. NO ONE had fit models for the jeans we wanted to make. Myself and my designer decided to go to a large CrossFit competition called OC Throwdown to find people to measure and get a baseline for the fit. We approached random people asking them if we could measure them, you should have seen the looks on their faces, lol. Most were pretty cool after we explained but some looked at us as if we were crazy. This was in January 2013. After making dozens of samples and testing just as many fabrics, we finally came up with our fist jean. We officially launched in August 2013.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I closed my manufacturing business just as I launched Fran Denim. Almost went into bankruptcy and worked out of my garage for the first 3 years. I did CrossFit events every weekend for two years straight; traveling all over the west coast in a van packed with jeans and selling out of a tent. I can’t tell you how may times I considered giving up. It was a lot of hard work, many times disappointing but ended up meeting a lot of good people. Customers started telling their gym friends about us and started building a little brand recognition. This got the ball rolling. It took a lot of hard work, God’s grace, and believing in your product. I knew that we had a good product and knew that it filled a huge hole in the market.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a boring person, I would just hang out at my house and feed them a lot, lol.
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?