"Seeing as though this is my first business, its all one big learning experience"
Welcome to the District of Columbia, where struggle turns into motivation and success stems from dedication. Talent is inevitably visible in the nations capital and the youth are capitalizing off their skills. What's a better way to make money, than by dong something you love? Lester "Les" Coffield (@saylessking), 23, D.C. native, is the creative genius behind the infamous SAY LESS brand, which was established in 2014 and has been booming ever since.
The SAY LESS brand is not only printing logos on shirts, it's a lifestyle. From music to organizing community events, Lester is a man of many hats. The SAY LESS brand can be described in 4 words, "Sayless and Do More," which embodies the principle of making moves in silence. People are always discussing their ideas and rarely discusss their plans to execute said ideas. Lester is all about giving people incentive to go out and accomplish their dreams. He sets an example for those who look up to him and those who keep a watchful eye. Lester says with him recently having a baby girl, he's extra careful with his company and his image. Lester continues, "I wanna raise her to be a very knowledgeable, aware, well-rounded lady. I want her to understand her value as a Woman and know that she doesn't need to prove anything to anyone except the higher power. Not even to me. I accept you as you are. I want her to discover knowledge of self so she can know that she is a Black Queen and she comes from Royalty. She is Mother Earth and I want her to understand that in full. My daughter is definitely the best thing to happen to my spirit and it's a privilege to be her #1 Man." Lester projects the qualities of a leader, striving to the best business man and father.
"SAY LESS simply means don't tell me about your actions and plans, just make them happen."
The foundation of the brand comes from the support of others and having faith in yourself. Being that Lester runs his company all by hisself, it's important to him that he supports others who support him. That support has not only made him really popular in the District, travel further south and you can catch some very well quoted mannequins galavanting the streets of NC. You can also catch the shirts all over your IG newsfeed.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lester and getting to know him more on a personal level. We discussed his brand, music and ultimately where he sees hisself in the future:
- What inspired the SAY LESS brand?: Struggle and Initiative. When I came home from school in 2014 I was in a really dark place. I had kinda lost my creativity because I wasn't in school and didn't have a job. I started going back to my old ways of providing and realized that wasn't long term. I needed something worthwhile. I would always get people coming to me telling me about things they had in the "works" and then when I would ask them about it, I would always get an excuse. Eventually I just got tired of it and wanted to create something that could be both stylish and motivational. "SAY LESS" simply means don't tell me about your actions and plans, just make them happen. You don't have to prove anything to anybody but yourself so let your work speak for itself. Do more, say lesser.
- What challenges have you faced running your own brand?: People don't see the behind the scenes shenanigans that go on so it's alot. Also, seeing as though this is my first business, its all one big learning experience. Putting your own money up is the first thing you have to get comfortable with as an Entrepreneur. You have to change your mindset if you're gonna go into business for yourself. You have to get comfortable trusting people. You have to LEARN to EMBRACE the struggle because its gonna be tough. The biggest challenge will be support. People who say they love you dearly and call you "family" will NOT support you wholeheartedly and you have to be resilient enough to withstand all of that and keep it moving. Remember this is your dream, not theirs.
- Who is your style icon?: My older cousin Aaron shoutout to him he the flyest ever.
- What sets you apart from other local brands?: The fact that we all don't just do one thing. Yeah we sell clothes and Very Well Quoted is the Clothing Line but we have a whole music aspect of SAY LESS thats also booming. "B-Jay Banks" from UpTown who just opened up for MoneyBaggYo a month ago released his latest project on Apple Music "The Rackz Tape" and he also makes beats and helps me with artist development. "ANKHLEJOHN" from the SouthSide (pronounced aunk-el-jon) whose VERY underrated in this area's music scene is dropping his VERY VERY anticipated album "The Red Room" in July and he also is a GREAT videographer. "Dell Fargo" from NorthEast whose an up and coming lyricist dropped "The SHWEALTH EP" back in October and also he just recently graduated from FAMU with a degree in business. "DammitMitch" one of our producers just dropped "For The Culture",his first project on Apple Music and he also shoots videos and DJ's. "ShadSpitta" from SouthEast recently dropped a visual for the Brand's THEME SONG "SAY LESS" and he also is a screenplay writer. "Da Foolz" who I think are the DC version of Migos dropped their first tape "Foolish Dreamz" and have a series of visuals dropping which they helped produce. We ain't no one trick ponies over here and I make it my business to surround myself with those that are multitalented like myself.
- What other business ventures are you involved in?: Besides fashion, I manage and do consulting for artists throughout the area, Club Promotion, Marketing, Event Planning, Hosting and DJ'ing.
- What are your techniques in using social media as a marketing tool?: I can't give you ALL of my techniques but I can say it's all about what you show the people and when you show them. Every social media outlet has a "analytics" section. Find it and do the knowledge to it. It will save you a lot of time.
- How do you balance your personal life and business?: Im still learning how to be honest. It be so much negative in my personal life sometimes that the business actually balances it out.
- Where do you see your clothing line going in the next 5 years?: I see SAY LESS being one of the most prominent brands from DC still thriving. I see it being international reaching its highest potential on a worldwide status. I wanna be able to go to Fashion Week showcasing my line and things like that. I wanna really dwell in the independent fashion world and show youth that the entrepreneurial path is rough but has a great big payoff.
- What surprises are in store for the brand in the next few months?: Gotta watch the movie and find out. Very exciting though.
- What advice do you have for someone looking to get into your field?: START NOW! Don't focus on the money, don't compromise your brand for nobody's satisfaction, and don't be afraid to take risks and take L's. Two L's equal a W every time.
- What's a quote that you live by?: I live my WHOLE LIFE based on quotes. One quote I like is "The more smarter you get the less excuses you can make"
- What song gets you hype and ready for the day?: It changes every week or two. If it ain't DIFFERENT by ANKHLEJOHN it gotta be "Came From" by Supa Trippa.