By Kianna Fernandez
Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) This article takes a look at small business owner Hailey Nelson. She has created a unique country western style clothing brand. For Nelson, this is a homegrown business, all of her products are purchased through domestic manufacturers and her T-shirts are locally screen-printed at a local mom-and-pop shop.
Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.
Working as a graphic designer for a few years, Nelson had completed contract work for large companies when she realized she wanted to design her own T-shirts.
“I’ve been searching for tees that fit my vintage and western style and after coming up short, I decided, ‘heck, I could do this,'” Nelson said.
From there, she jumped into a competitive market and created a clothing line catered to consumers with a country western style. Western and Co.’s T-shirt line launched in January and is an all-American based brand.
Starting her own business was not without its challenges as Nelson worked to create a larger consumer base for her products.
During the creation of her own business she turned to her favorite quote: “The only failure is quitting; everything else is just gathering information.”
Nelson worked to continually gain feedback, followers, and support through her use of social media as an outlet to get her products recognized.
“I have found that you have to believe in what you’re making or doing,” Nelson said.
Specifically, Nelson is proud to be one of the very few businesses that are completely U.S.-based from start to finish.
All her products are purchased through domestic manufacturers and her T-shirts are locally screen-printed at a mom-and-pop shop in Lockeford called Central Valley Custom Design.
It was this drive to bring her own style to the competitive T-shirt industry that led her to keep producing more designs and create a chatter about her products.
Nelson works as an accessory designer as well and focused primarily on creating jewelry before deciding that her passion lies in the T-shirt industry.
Thanks to social media, Nelson’s T-shirt and jewelry designs caught the eye of NBC reality show “The Voice” winner Alison Porter and country music singers Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Jessie James Decker.
Specifically, Musgraves reached out to Nelson on Instagram about needing one of her necklaces fixed.
“When I received (Musgrave’s) package, it had a hand-written tag on the front with horseshoe and star doodles,” Nelson said. “Inside, I found her high-dollar necklace wrapped up in an old crinkled-up Walgreen’s shopping bag. Zero bubble wrap, no packing material.”
It was this experience when Nelson realized how down to earth even big-name, high-profile singers can be. Regardless of the level of fame her customers have, Nelson gets giddy knowing people are interested in her products.
“I absolutely love seeing my clients wear my tee designs,” Nelson said. “Whether it’s on social media, in person, or by word of mouth, seeing and hearing about my T-shirts out in action gets me incredibly excited.”
With the success she has had thanks to social media, Nelson is excited to launch her own website, shopwesternandco.com, on Aug. 15. For now, customers can follow her on Instagram at @westernandco and facebook.com/ShopWesternAndCo.
With shops and boutiques looking for unique, different products that are not typically found in large department stores, Nelson found success.
Now, customers seeing her work online have reached out and are carrying her brand in their stores. Western and Co. is now carried from coast to coast as she has items in stores from Florida to right here in Northern California in Racho Murieta.
Breaking into a competitive market is not always easy, but it is through Nelson’s continually growing fan base that she has found success and support.
“I grabbed a hold of what really drove me, what really got me excited and started to create and sell what I loved,” Nelson said. “If I could give any advice, it would be to never give up and understand that everyone has failed a time or two. Your business will always evolve.”
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