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Meet Demi Marchese of 12th Tribe in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Demi Marchese.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
From a young age I’ve loved the fashion industry. I grew up laying out my outfits, getting dressed up, and felt inspired from clothing. When I was 14, I had a position on the Nordstrom’s Fashion Board. Before 15 I was working on the floor in BP – excited and eager to be in the world of retail. Throughout High School I tried hard to find focus in my school work, but I was creatively inspired and introduced to business rather young. My first Trade Show was at the age of 16. I was pulled from school to attend MAGIC in Las Vegas – I made my first business card and found myself about 10-15 years younger than just about everyone in the convention center. Talk about nervous. Fast forward a few years, I graduated from San Diego State University with a Communication Degree. With a love for the industry still remaining, I worked on landing a job with a large corporate company. That’s what I heard I was suppose to do with a diploma, and needless to say I was confused and very conflicted. I found myself side tracked, fixed on inspiration and ideas that kept me up at night. Having extra time at home after graduating, I found myself learning to code, sourcing one of a kind items at 6am in the City of SF, and played around with styling my friends. Within a few days, I had a fully built website.

I took the few hundred dollars I had from my graduation and before I knew it my mom’s kitchen was full of eclectic items. I looked like a hoarder. Within a few weeks, my website went live and those items I “hoarded” went faster than I could blink. Within the next 4 months I took the global inspiration I had instilled in the brand, traveled to Asia and started my first buying trip. At 22 years old, I launched 12th Tribe and 3.5 years later, the few hundred dollar business has grown to a humbling 7 figures with the pleasure of dressing women around the entire world. From my mom’s kitchen, to girls shopping in my apartment and out of my car, 12th Tribe has expanded to a 3000 SQ ft warehouse in both Los Angeles and Kentucky.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If I said it was easy, I don’t think I’d be doing anything right. One thing I love about building a business, are the constant challenges I face. Nothing is easy and when it does get easy I know we are getting a little too comfortable. I have had a lot of failures, many successes and every day I have moments that are hard. All of it though, has made me stronger.  I love the quote from J.K Rowling – “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” I fail a lot, but without the failures and hard times  I would never appreciate those “easy” moments.

When it come’s to the difficulties being a young entrepreneur can be a double edge sword. I love having an impact at a young age, but other than my job with Nordstrom and a few internships, I haven’t truly worked for someone else. I have never been in a corporate setting and/or worked at a company to see how it’s done. I am learning EVERYTHING as I go and when I learn one thing, it’s time to learn the next. I am fortunate for many of the experiences in my life as I have started the business, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy:)

So, as you know, we’re impressed with the 12th tribe – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The entry to barrier in the e-commerce space is very low right now. Many stores are popping up and competition continues to rise. I know our customers have a lot of options when it comes to shopping, but I believe strongly in story telling, customer service, the meaning of “a tribe”, quality, and communication.

When I started 12th Tribe, it was just me. It’s lonely starting a business by yourself, but social media was a saving grace. I used the outlet to share my story of starting my business in my room, the real struggles I faced, and the victories I had. I created a relationship with my followers showing them behind the scenes moments, authentic branding and the process of business building. My followers saw me counting inventory in my living room, they were there when I moved into my first 100 sq ft office, the next office, and through all of the travels. I believe that has allowed us to have a strong, authentic and meaningful relationship with our followers, aka tribe.  I truly believe that a brand is all about story telling and ours is a story about young people building a fashion brand that will one day change the world.

Customer service is another very important part of this brand. I have all the opportunity in the world to outsource this like many other companies, however we know our customer like no one else. We talk to them through social media, instagram stories, Facebook, Live Chat, E-mails, you name it. We talk to them like they are our best friend and work hard to go above and beyond to make sure all of their needs are met. We truly consider the people behind the brand like family and I believe that strongly contributes.

Lastly, we work hard on creating a brand experience that allows visuals, creatives and styles that are different from anyone else. We don’t just sell clothes, we sell an entire look and inspire the women wearing it to walk with ambition, confidence and adventure.

I can go on, but I don’t want to give it all away. Join the Tribe and you’ll start to see how we are different from the rest:)

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
2018 is coming to close and I cannot believe it! We are excited to continue growing the tribe around the world. One of my personal goals is to visit the people who represent the brand, also known as our ambassadors, in person and bring them together.  Face to face interaction is so important with the people who are supporting your brand and somewhat lost with social media and the internet. I am passionate about instilling a feeling of being a part of something, such as this tribe, and I hope to see young women around the world connecting from it.

Another big time of year for us is Festival season. It comes up quick after the new year and we are one of the top destinations for Coachella Fashion. We have some exciting plans for the season that I can’t wait to share. 🙂

 Contact Info:

Image Credit:
John Schell, Felicia

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