Fashion is everywhere. What you wear and how you choose to present yourself is considered a window into your personality. Donning a pair of ripped jeans might mean that you’re edgy. Those new Vans might mean that you like comfort. How you choose to dress can say a lot about you! But who are the people behind the scenes that are dictating fashion trends, and creating the next Jordans or Gucci belt? Matthew Wolfhardt, creator and designer at WOLFHARDT, is certainly a trendsetter, not only through the way that he designs products, but also through the way he manages his businesses.

WOLFHARDT creates high-quality, trend-setting, men’s and women’s leather accessories that range from cuffs to purses. WOLFHARDT was created ten years ago out of a passion to be different from many of the common brands that saturate the market. Prior to WOLFHARDT, Matthew was fashioning his own cuffs from leather that he retrieved from the garbage. When people wanted to know where he purchased them, he knew he had talent.

Individuals concerned about needing a little extra help with learning the ins and outs of their business may find comfort in the fact that there are government agencies that exist to help! The Small Business Development Center (SBCD) has been a tremendous help to Matthew. SBCD is a nationwide service that provides small business assistance to new and existing business owners. Anyone can take advantage of their free one-hour training sessions and consultations.

Students interested in potentially breaking into the fashion industry should expect to wear many hats. While it is possible to outsource things like marketing, design, and other services that comprise a successful business, doing it yourself is also an option. For example, one thing in particular that companies should have is an investor deck, which is a presentation that summarizes your business. This deck should have strong and consistent branding.

Matthew not only created WOLFHARDT, but after realizing that his growth potential was becoming limited, he decided to expand into marketing as well. Matthew’s other business, Black Market, focuses on branding, trend research, Search Channel Optimization (SCO), website development, and market research.

Matthew admits that jobs are hard to come by in the fashion industry, so being able to pivot and make yourself more desirable to potential clients, or even creating your own job, is a plus. Being your own boss also means needing to know how to balance your time. Projects can take hours, so Matthew spends three hours a day on each project.

Working for yourself certainly has its rewards, but you have to account for every minute of your time so you don’t get behind. Organizational skills are a must! Matthew dislikes Excel spreadsheets, but finds himself using them to track his finances. He warns that if you are not detail-oriented, clients won’t want to work with you.

A typical day for Matthew may consist of managing WOLFHARDT’s social media and building his brand’s audience. To do this, he makes plans for 2 or 3 months down the line.

WOLFHARDT has an upcoming photo-shoot and is launching a new line of leather accessories in the near future.

Interested in the fashion industry? Consider getting an Associate of Arts degree in fashion design, like Matthew did. Also, consider majoring or taking a course in business management.

What’s something you can do now to prepare yourself for your future business? Matthew suggests working on negotiating skills. People may say no, but a good salesperson may be able to convince them otherwise. It’s also a good idea to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world. Just because your business may operate in the U.S. doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay on top of international trends and happenings.

To learn more about career pathways in Business and Entrepreneurship with California Community Colleges, click here.

Resource Hub:

Wolfhardt: Instagram

Black-Markt: Instagram

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