We had the good fortune of connecting with Terrance Daniel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Terrance, how do you think about risk?
For me a life without taking risks is a life without much joy and excitement. There is always a certain level of risk taking that is sustainable and everyone has their own tiers and levels. For example, I’ve never been drunk, never taken any drugs, never smoked either. I’m not comfortable taking risks that are associated with my health and well being because I do believe “being a healthy person” is your greatest asset. You have to take care of yourself and “play it safe” as much as possible or your world will crumble. After graduating from The Ohio State University, I moved to Washington D.C. for two years, New York 5 years, Los Angeles 7 years, then Spain for 3 months and then eventually Miami where I’ve lived for the past few years (on and off). Moving to unfamiliar places, where you don’t have any childhood friends or family is one of greatest risks that I took early in life. I wanted to give myself the best chance at seeing as many careers and industries as possible so I would have a better idea of what I was most passionate about, which career provided me with the most energy, motivation, and enthusiasm to keep pursuing my goals. It was tough sometimes. Living in cities such as Barcelona, Spain where you don’t even speak the native language (Catalan) can be quite intimidating. Or Growing up in a small town such as Cleveland, Ohio with a population size of 400,000, to living in New York City and surrounded by nearly 9 million strangers. It was a lot to adjust to and I spent many lonely nights planning and figuring out the next move.
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 have a few businesses but the one I’m most passionate about is agembrand. We make designer hats for people who love looking good while being comfortable. I always hated seeing really nice expensive items at some of the luxury retailers, then trying them on, and it feeling like cardboard. I designed agembrand hats with the idea that you can look good (high fashion/luxury) but it should feel relaxed and comfortable on the skin and be practical. We test and wear each hat for months in different environments to ensure quality and practicality. I take looking good and dressing up very seriously. You never know how much time you have on this earth so I wear/use/buy the best stuff NOW. No regrets. The hardest part of starting agembrand is that I never started a retail company or had family members that owned their own apparel business so there was no blueprint. Growing up in the Midwest, you were always taught to “get a good job.” Therefore, when I graduated from college, I went to work for some of the best “good jobs” ever: Microsoft for Xbox Live, Sony PlayStation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Amazon, NBC Universal to name a few. After working at these amazing companies and working for two of the richest people in the world Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, I finally felt comfortable and confident that I could bring something to the table and create my own strategies and products. I read a few books also that helped guide me: Shoe Dog, The Everything Store, Steve Jobs autobiography, Little Black Strechy Pants – The lululemon story. These books provided me with the model I used to start my own brand. The most notable tactic I learned from these books, was that you have to focus on what you are most passionate about. Passion is such a buzz word so I like saying “what would you do for fun if you received no pay”. Having a shaved head always made me a hat connoisseur so I knew this would be a good business to begin with. After that, I just went to work on building the website. I was a sales guy so I had no idea how to do it but I figured it out. Then I started working with manufactures and then everything just built from there: For the marketing plan, I started working with influencers in the very beginning and they helped bring excitement and awareness to the brand very quickly. It is all very overwhelming because you have to learn every part of the business until you get to the point where you can hire other people to do what you already were doing. What I want the world to know? I would love the world to know “when you look good you feel good.” When you wear one of our hats, we want you to feel and look so good that it inspires you to pursue your biggest goals and dreams and always think BIG. Think about it, when you wear something that you love, watch an amazing TV show or movie, it inspires you. It gives you energy and makes you feel something special. That translates into action. That is what we hope you get and feel when you wear products from us. Inspiration, Motivation and Enthusiasm to pursue the toughest challenges.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For me it shouldn’t be about what I want to do but what they want to do. Many people are afraid of what is possible so they never tell you what they want or even ask. For example, my mom always wanted to go to Disneyland but she never asked, I remember hearing her say “Disney would be so cool to see” and one year for her birthday, when she flew out to LA, I surprised her and we went for the first time. It was so cool seeing her run around the park like a kid. So my itinerary is always up to what the other person really wants to do. I don’t do drink but I’ll go to every bar in the town if that’s what my bestfriend wants to do. For me though, the ideal best experiences involve nature. The best trips I’ve been on involved Shark Cage Diving, rafting the Grand Canyon and Yosemite weekend trips. What I love most about living in Miami is that its so diverse you feel like you are in 10 countries. You don’t have to go to clubs or restaurants to have a great time…just being out and feeding off the energy from all the international locals and tourists is what makes Miami so much fun and very special.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would definitely have to give a shout out to mom for teaching me how to work hard, do what you love, and never settle. As a single parent with two kids (less than 2 years apart) my mom had to do double duty being the mom and the dad. Without a college degree, my mom worked as a bus driver for almost 20 years but she loved it. She woke every morning with excitement and enthusiasm. She had many best friends that worked with her and she had so many connections all around the City from her job. Seeing this each and every day made me look at work as this exciting motivating thing that you do to provide for your family while having a great feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment each day.
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