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E-Commerce Insights: UGLYDUKLYN's Story of Inspiration and Growth

Francis London , Creative Director at UGLYDUKLYN CLOTHING

Explore the captivating story of UGLYDUKLYN in a concise Wytlabs podcast episode with host Stephen Bland and creative director of UGLYDUKLYN, Francis London. From the brand’s roots inspired by personal experiences to its current status as a symbol of understanding, God’s love, and distinctive fashion, this brief yet insightful conversation delves into the unique journey and philosophy that define UGLYDUKLYN. Discover the deliberate fusion of personal experiences, high-quality materials, and storytelling that sets UGLYDUKLYN apart in the world of premium streetwear.

UGLYDUKLYN is a  premium streetwear brand blending authenticity, high-quality materials, and personal storytelling to inspire understanding and self-expression.

Francis London
Creative Director at UGLYDUKLYN CLOTHING

Hello everyone, welcome to our latest podcast. I’m Stephen Bland, your host with Wytlabs an internet marketing agency specializing in e-commerce. I have Francis with me here today.

Francis, go ahead and tell our viewers a little bit more about yourself and tell us about your background here.

Okay, my name is Francis London. I am a creative director for a brand, UGLYDUKLYN It’s a premium streetwear brand. I’ve been holding that position now for about 14 years. But I got into designing very young. My mother was a seamstress in London, England. So when she would, she didn’t have any babysitters, she would take me with her and I would get to see her working in the factories and that day well just going from the factories where I fell in love with design so that’s how I started UGLYDUKLYN.

Tell me more about your brand

The ugly stands for understanding. God loves you. It’s a streetwear brand premium streetwear brand where we deal with premium, um, materials, high-quality materials. We w we started in 2006, but officially we became a brand in 2009. So we started in 2006.

So what inspired you to get into the e-commerce business?

Well, our attendant project, the Vegas project, basically has a convention twice a year in Vegas, in New York. And when we went there, we saw the importance of e-commerce. We did a lot of direct-to-sales, but we saw that we needed to get online, direct-to-consumer. And once we did that, our brand just shot right up. So, it’s important, very important.

That’s great. So what’s your target audience and what is your target audience?

My target audience is about 24 to 45, someone with disposable income, but understands and remembers how they were growing up, like, you know, not conformant to conformity, being different, and that’s what our brand represents, somebody that’s different, wants to be heard, someone that’s unseen. You know, so that’s who we cater to.

Got you. So who are your competitors and not who your competitors are? Why are you better than your competitors?

I wouldn’t say better, but, um, one thing about our brand, um, it aligns with the name, like it’s purposely for the people, um, you know, some brands there’s no story behind it. Ours is a genuine story. I came up with UGLYDUKLYN in 11th grade. Being West African and coming to America, um, when I was 10 years old, I got picked on a lot. I was called an African booty scratcher.

 

I was called Kuta Kente. So in 11th grade, I was in study hall and I had to go get a book just to, you know, waste some time. And when I read the book, well, I just saw a book in a study hall. So I was like trying to find a book with pictures that I could just, you know, waste my time and get up out of there. Found the book, UGLYDUKLYN. And when I looked in there and read the story, it resembled my lifestyle or my how I was raised. So that resonated with me right there. And that’s how I came up with the brand UGLYDUKLYN. 

That’s great, man. It’s inspiring. I appreciate your sharing. So what, what are your best-selling products at this point?

Thank you.

 

Right now, our best-selling product is the Swan Lake duffel bag and wallet. I created that, shoot, like 12 years ago when my dad was going to Ghana on a trip, he had a duffel bag. It was a nice suede leather duffel bag, plain canvas. And I asked him if I could take it and design something for him. So when he traveled, he traveled with style and I drew on it and he loved it and a lot of people loved it. That’s how I was able to produce our duffel bag and wow. And it’s been doing good. Doing good.

That’s great. That’s great. So what’s your plan with UGLYDUKLYN?

Well, to grow the brand, we’ve been on Cosmopolitan Romania, we’ve been on Bello Mag, Vulcan Mag, we were in a, we sponsored the Shy Season Six, we were on there. So I want to keep getting the brand awareness and you know, growing the brand.

Sounds great. What are some marketing strategies you’re doing besides that? What are you doing with your website? What are you doing online?

Well, as far as online, what I do is we have our YouTube channel. We do short films. We like to tell our story through film. , I’m an avid believer in, um, storytelling growing up as a kid. All my favorite brands always told a story. For example, the Jordan sneaker, you know, Jordan will come out with a sneaker called the Rookie, the year of the Rookie. And it’s based on how when he was a rookie. What he went through in a colorway. So that’s what we do. We have our YouTube channel, UGLYDUKLYN Clothing on YouTube, and we have about four short films. So I’m working on a new short film for the summer, for the summer 24.

Do you have a brick-and-mortar location?

Yes, we do. We have it in Philly. It’s called Lapstone and Hammer off of Chestnut. We’ve been there a year now.

Okay. How long have you had that?

We’ve been there for a year and a half.

Okay.

So tell me more, tell me anything that you want our listeners to know about the brand that I haven’t asked. I mean it’s great, it looks like high-end streetwear, right?

Yes, very high-end. The reason why we don’t say luxury is because we know what luxury means. You have to be a legacy brand of at least 60 years, and we’re new, so we’ve been with premium apparel. The reason why I came up with a premium streetwear brand is because when I go to a project or we do magic there are only a few brands that represent the premium space that look like us. So we knew that that’s what we like to wear. We like to wear premium goods. Like, you know, I’m a very, I’m an avid fan of Kiff, Supreme, Coach. So I wanted to make something along those lines. As you say, my competitors, I look at Kiff and Coach as my competitors.

Got you. Makes sense. So what are some challenges that you have now that you’ve been able to overcome? I know COVID and a couple of other things, what are some challenges that you’ve had to overcome and where are you at now?

Well, we’re working through this recession. I don’t know if anybody knows, but we are going through a recession currently. money is drawing up, people are not spending. And, you know, when we have prices at our price point, you know, it’s hard because, you know, as I said, our consumer has disposable income, but even those consumers are finding it hard to spend. So we’re just dealing with that. Where our sales went down a little bit. And I wanna be transparent, but we’re still doing good and maintaining.

That’s good. I mean, even if you have a lot of disposable income, it’s still less disposable today, right? I mean, it’s not, some things are going around.

Yes.

Well, Francis, I appreciate you coming on. I appreciate your time and I appreciate everything you had to say and thank you so much for coming on.

Okay.

 

No problem. Thank you for allowing me this platform. Before I go, I’d like to say please follow us on UGLYDUKLYN Clothing on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. UGLYDUKLYN, we spell it U-G-L-Y-D-U-K-L-Y-N. UGLYDUKLYN.

And it’s also the same thing.com is the website too. Correct?

Same as the website.

Perfect. Thank you so much, Francis. Thank you for your time.

Thank you. All right.

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