If anyone has summed up Millennials perfectly, describing our strengths, weaknesses, and explaining to older generations why we are the way that we are, it is Anna Hovet. In her Tedx Talk: "The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs: Advantages of the Millennial Mindset", Anna dissects us as a generation and even more so as a movement. She paints the picture of us being a different breed of entrepreneurs, as well as human-beings altogether.
“We are a distinctly different generation from previous generations. We grew up with computers in our home. And because of the internet, we are the most highly communicative and globally cultured generation of all time.” - A.H.
She has handcrafted her own brand over time, with Jennifer Hudson ordering her entire first line of apparel. I corresponded with her for a Q and A to pick her brain and learn more about the way she thinks.
Q: How would you describe your brand?
A: Anna Hovet and HOVET are a strong fusion of designer style and streetwear comfort. I guess you could categorize them as "Street Luxe". Out best sellers are our cozy high-quality sweatshirts and our reversible dresses. We are a unique brand, in that we are using color-blocking and basic silhouettes popular in streetwear style, yet we do not use screenprinted branding and we use very high-quality sweatshirt fleece.
Q: What is your target market and how do you want them to feel when wearing your designs?
A: My target market is 25-40 year old men and women who value comfort, style, and quality. The style is progressive young contemporary, so the majority of my customers live in urban areas with quickly changing trends. Many customers who value "Made In USA" products also enjoy my garments since they are manufactured in Chicago.
Q: You're pretty young to have had so much success. What do you think attributes to this and what do you wish to communicate to consumers who wear your clothes?
A: Starting a business from nothing is a TON of work. You have to be 100% committed to it. I was 23 years old when I started this business and I was recently unemployed so I was able to dedicate my entire being to growing this company. I had the energy to work every day and night. I'm very happy my business is much more self-sustaining now, because I'm not sure I would have been able to dedicate myself to it so hard at 29.
Q: Where do you get inspiration from? Are different collections inspired from different things?
A: Everywhere. Colors anywhere can inspire me. For example, my Spring/Summer 2014 Collection color palette was inspired by a set of vintage dishes my roommate bought. My Fall/Winter 2014 Collection color palette was inspired by a home-goods catalog I randomly picked up. What inspires me the most is the women wearing my clothes. I like to think about what they need in their wardrobe and what they would feel good in physically and mentally.
Anna leaves us a final thought:
We are marketable. We are efficient. We are hustlers. We are flexible and we are passionate…So I want to leave you with this. To older generations: my generation is not a rebellious generation, we’re not trying to revolt against the man. We’re just speaking a different language. And so by taking the time to communicate and understand us, you can increase productivity in the workplace with younger employees…
And to my fellow millennials: I get your frustration. With this terrible economic hand we were dealt. I get it. You have to realize this is a huge opening for us, this is a huge opportunity for us to fill. Realize your strength. Value these characteristics we’ve developed. If you have an idea or want to start a new business, or you just want to be self-employed, you can do it! Make a solid plan, get over your fear of failure, and work really hard. Because today is a perfect day to create your own success.