By: Nicholas Long
Introduction to Business 201-3,
Is it possible for a small skateboard shop on Lafayette St. in New York City to become a large, iconic clothing brand and take over the street-wear scene? For the boys over at Supreme it is possible, and it has been done. James Jebbia, the founder and owner of Supreme, opened the doors of his little skate shop in downtown Manhattan in April 1994. The shop attracted the rebellious skaters and artists of New York but never exploded the way James wanted it to. He decided to establish his own brand within the store with the original red box logo, by printing it onto t-shirts and sweaters. Supreme boomed into the must have street wear clothing. James attracted artists to paint designs for the brand and every rapper wanted to be seen in his t-shirts. As the years went on and the brand started to grow, many different articles of clothing and accessories were added to Supreme’s inventory. Button-up shirts, work pants, rain coats, backpacks, hats, and other articles of clothing that weren’t normally sold by a skate shop were seen coming out of Supreme. Since that boom, there has been no other clothing brand that comes close to Supreme when charisma and exclusivity are mentioned. Supreme will now and forever be known for its “I don’t give a crap” attitude, quality, and authenticity.
The one thing Supreme is mostly known for is its product. James and the guys at Supreme have always strived to bring their customers top quality products that can’t be found anywhere else. They’ve changed the image of a skate shop into a high end clothing boutique. Skate shops are known to sell skateboards, punk clothing, and other accessories such as pads and sunglasses. This isn’t found in any of the Supreme boutiques. Their inventory includes button up shirts, trench coats, cardigans, work pants, traveling bags, professionally screen-printed t-shirts, hats, scarves, gloves, and many other articles of clothing that are rarely found in any kind of store. James made sure that his brand held on to its skateboarding roots by selling skateboard Nicholas 2
decks but he has changed the image of a skate shop. Not only are their products unique, the quality is extraordinary. This includes, corduroy shirts, finely stitched jackets, 100 percent wool scarves, leather hats, and to top it off, James made sure that every piece of his clothing is made and assembled in North America. Supreme has taken over the hat business with its iconic camp hat. This simple hat that resembles what the Korean army would wear in the early 1900s is the most desirable hat in the clothing scene. Every month or so, James will come out with a new style of camp hat and they are gone in the blink of an eye. Supreme takes pride in its one of kind, exclusive clothing, and these qualities are the barrier between it and other street-wear clothing brands.
Many critics and clothing enthusiasts may say that Supreme’s biggest weakness is its price. High quality and exclusivity call for extremely high prices that many people can’t afford. Their shirts range from ninety dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars which is highly more expensive than one of their competitors such as Stussy that will sell their shirts for sixty dollars. Jackets and other fine coats will range from two hundred dollars all the way to three hundred and fifty dollars. These extremely high prices push their customers away from buying their clothing which leaves them to go the cheaper route by buying their competitor’s clothing. When it comes to t-shirts, the prices are more reasonable and they resemble their competitor’s. For example, the average price of a t-shirt coming from any street-wear brand is thirty two dollars before tax. Every one of Supreme’s screen printed t-shirts are priced at thirty dollars while Diamond Supply Co.’s shirts are thirty four dollars. The average person finds it to be a bonus...
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