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Tiffany Montgomery
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Sullen outgrows warehouse, orders way up

By Tiffany Montgomery
October 10, 2007 5:53 AM

I received an interesting e-mail from Sullen Clothing in Irvine about the great show they had at ASR in September.

I don't know those guys, so I called Co-Founder Jeremy Hanna to find out more. I asked him to talk about stores that picked up the brand and to give an update on what's happening with the company.

Jeremy was reluctant to name some of the new mall-based accounts because, in part, some of the orders have not been finalized. Here's what he had to say:

sullen graphicSullen's edgy graphics.

"I do not want to state any of the chains that we got into, but let's just say that we got into some very large chain accounts, and scored a substantial amount of core Ma and Pa accounts such as Identity Boardshop, Tsunami Boardshop, Hot Cats of Nevada, and Motoworld of San Diego.

"We also signed contracts with a Canadian Distribution company of 70 accounts, South African Distribution of 40 accounts, and a six-figure agreement with a European Distribution company that we are excited about. Our prebooks were through the roof compared to the last two seasons, growing 500% in orders compared to a year ago.

"Ryan Smith and I started this company out of our apartment in Huntington Beach six years ago. We sold $36,000 worth of product to friends and friends of friends. Even though we were told numerous times to give up, we continued to more then double our sales every year.

"We just moved into our new two-story warehouse seven months ago and we already have grown out of it. We are looking for a much larger warehouse right now. Right now we have seven people employed full time and I am looking to bring on about three more.

"Since my partner, Ryan, is a tattoo artist by trade, a lot of our graphics are pretty hardcore to some of the surf and skate shops. We battled our image for our entire existence. We thought that maybe we should have went after the skate market only, or only surf or only moto.

"But Sullen is truly a West Coast, lifestyle company. We stayed true to our roots even though a lot of accounts told us we should soften our image. And every time we softened it up a little bit, that T-shirt sat on the racks.

"Now everybody is starting to embrace the lifestyle market and we are noticing a lot of the bigger companies starting to look a little bit more like us rather than us trying to look like them. I do not want to jump ahead of myself, but we feel like our time has come.

"And we deserve it.

"We average 60 - 70 hour weeks and I am now married with children and Ryan is engaged so we are definitely taking it more serious then ever. Hopefully a year from now I will have many more positive stories that I can talk about. But until then, Sullen is still the little guy, and we are fine with that."

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