Meet Sebastian Rodriguez. Co-founder of Saibu no Akuma, which when loosely translated from Japanese means “Devil in the Details”. Saibu no Akuma is a high-end tailoring brand which fuses menswear and streetwear to create a unique shopping experience for their cult following. This is his entrepreneurial story.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
The idea for our business came as a direct result of a small peer group founded whilst studying Entrepreneurship together at RMIT. Our time creating new ventures in this course really set the tone for us to explore the opportunities that came our way as a collective. One of these opportunities we tested out was a small tailoring service. We began running this business seasonally and marketing to our database of the local community. We were not happy with the relationship we had with our supplier in the first relationship and the model under which we were operating, so we ended the venture. After reflecting on what we could actually salvage and use from our first operation, an idea came to us that we could be our own brand we are today.
How did you get your business started?
Our current clothing brand came as an organic development from an old venture we decided to remodel. Through the experience of our previous tailoring venture, we began looking toward building our own clothing label, one which we could be proud of and make our own. As ideas began shifting we eventually changed our entire operation, from one in which we had very little control, to one which we had complete control. At this stage we officially got our business “started” as it is now. We made the shift by taking the operations and supplier relationships into our own hands, effectively becoming tailors and designers ourselves.
What inspires you the most?
People who refuse to give up. We are surrounded by a community of people who support us for this very reason.
How important has it been for you to have a mentor?
Mentoring is key to fast-tracking learning curves and networking. Without the right mentors you don’t stand a chance in the highly competitive marketplace you find out there today. Being an entrepreneur means that you never have one single job title or task, so for us it was really beneficial to have mentors who specialized in different fields to help us get the most out of each part of our business.
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
1. Don’t chase the image, paint the picture.
2. Be ethical in all dealings, customer experience is everything.
3. Choose your business partners wisely.