17-year-old Eli Zied(right) and his 21-year-old brother, Spencer Zied(left), are a couple of teenagers who are disrupting the modern apparel industry.
Two and a half years ago, Eli founded Habits 365, a lifestyle brand that deals in trendy fashion and clothing accessories. And So far, Habits 365 has achieved nothing but success.
I spoke with Eli a couple of days ago concerning his Journey as a 17-year-old entrepreneur and how he’s taken his brand to unimaginable heights.
Can you tell me a little about your brand and yourself?
My name is Eli Zied, and I am 17 years old and the Founder/CEO of the lifestyle brand Habits 365. In August 2017, after studying business and marketing in a summer program (after my freshman year in high school), I decided to create a lifestyle brand everyone could relate to and build it around the word “habits.”
Everyone has habits, but not all of them are necessarily positive. Habits dictate your life, and the better your habits are, the more successful you will be in the long run. We wanted the brand name to be action-oriented and motivating, so we chose Habits 365 to emphasize positive daily habits year-round.
I felt that customers would respond positively to a lifestyle brand that both motivated and challenged them. I run this with my brother Spencer, who is currently a Junior at the University of Miami.
What inspired you to create Habits 365?
I have been an entrepreneur since the age of 12, when I started buying and reselling sneakers. This activity led me to start following streetwear fashion brands like Supreme and Bape, which set the tone for the style my brand would embody. I started building a business mindset, followed a lot of brands on social media, and I spent a lot of time thinking about starting a brand someday.
What challenges did you face during the early stages of your business, and how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge was getting comfortable ordering large quantities of our initial products. The screen printers give much better pricing for larger orders, so we had to be very confident that people would like our products, and we would be able to sell out.
We ran online polls among our initial followers to get a better sense of what they wanted. This inexpensive market research gave us more confidence to place large initial orders of the product so we could be cost-efficient.
Another big challenge was exposure – how would potential customers find us and follow our brand? Through Instagram, I reached out to athletes, musicians, agents, trainers, YouTube dancers, and comedians with offers of free merchandise in exchange for a picture and a post if possible.
More people than I expected responded – they loved the fact that I was a young entrepreneur with a positive brand message. While we started with a few hundred friends and family followers, these influencers helped us grow steadily to over 110,000 followers today on Instagram.
How has your brand helped individuals?
We start by recognizing that good habits can require focus, restraint, discipline, and hard work. For many people, bad habits are more natural, more fun, and require less effort. So the goal of creating a community around good habits is to make hard work and discipline a shared experience – it’s easy to accept hard work and discipline when you have role models and feel a part of a large community with a similar focus.
Habits 365 offers trendy, aspirational merchandise and includes fit, healthy models to make it more attractive for followers to see the benefits of a lifestyle that involves a focus on positive habits.
People who buy habits merchandise and follow us on social media will feel like they are surrounded by a community of trendy, cool people that share their outlook and value hard work and discipline.
Our brand ambassador program has also helped tons of individuals – they gain all of the benefits mentioned previously, but we allow them to build their own business out of promoting and helping us sell habits gear. They can do as much or as little as they want, and they can also focus on their areas of strength, whether that’s designing clothes, running online campaigns, or selling merchandise directly to their friends and peers.
What values and principles did you and your brother observe to achieve success in business.
Transparency, inclusion, and appreciation are the fundamental principles that have led to our success. When we first approached athletes and influencers, we were straight forward about who we were, what the brand stood for, and why we wanted their participation.
For those who received free gear and sent us pictures, we showed our appreciation by following up and often sending additional gear for their partners or kids.
Our ambassador program also exhibits these values. We have accepted a wide range of individuals into our brand and want people of all shapes, sizes, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds to feel like they can all be significant contributors to the Habits 365 growth story. Our ambassador of the month program is one of the ways we show appreciation for those individuals that do the most to build and grow our brand.
Ambassadors have designed several of our products, and one of our most successful products was designed by a 12-year-old who has a keen eye for style. We don’t make unrealistic promises – but we do promise that the more an ambassador puts in, the more they will get out of Habits – whether that’s monetary or through recognition on social media.
Any words of advice for young individuals wanting to start a successful brand.
It has been a challenge to keep up good grades in school while running a growing business. I have a daily routine, a “habit” of allocating time each day for both Habits 365 and my school work.
As a student entrepreneur, the best thing to do is understand time is limited, and you have to budget your time to get the best results in business and school.
Personally, I do homework and study for exams when I first get home from school and work on the business at the end of the day after I’ve finished my school work since that is still the priority.
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