From Homeless Shelter to $100k MRR: The Story of Richfresh

Watch: From Homeless Shelter to $100k MRR: The Story of Richfresh

Joe (01:02):

So today we have Fresh with Henry Fresh. Thanks for joining us. 

Richfresh (01:04):

Thank you so much. 

Joe (1:05):

How's everything going over there? You're in LA today.

Richfresh (01:08):

Everything is great. Everything is a dream.

Joe (01:11):

Yeah, you have one of the more interesting backgrounds. I'd love to hear a little bit more about how you got started. Um, if you want to give us the kind of two minute elevator pitch, that'd be great for our listeners.

Richfresh (01:22):

Two minute. Wow. Can I do this in two minutes? You know, um, I'm just a kid that just always loved fashion. I just think fashion is the coolest thing ever. You know, I found it when I was really young. So back when I was super innocent and you just a kid that has hobbies, you know, all kids have hobbies, some kids fly kites and some kids play video games. I just thought that this fashion thing was like super cool. Uh, so, you know, I just kind of stuck with that and then got fascinated with it. Uh, in high school, I was like, man, I really want to do this one day for a living. And just decided to just like stick with that mindset. So I didn't do the, you know, your standard college thing. I didn't go to fashion school. Uh didn't do any of those. Um, I just really obsessed about it. I said, man, I don't care what happens. I'm going to end up being the success just because I want to. And so, um, you know, I'm from Memphis. I was in Memphis for a long time and then moved to New York for a while and then eventually moved to Los Angeles.

Richfresh (02:25):

And um, you know, you just get every, you get every obstacle that you can possibly get to divert you off the path because you know, that sweet spot isn't for everybody. There's only so many people that can be in the sweet spot. So I always have this mindset of only one person can get first place. You gotta really work hard to get there. You can't complain about the obstacles because everyone’s trying to get it, but only one person can get it. So you just come to LA and you know, things aren't as easy as you think they’ll be. But if you stick to a vision or an objective or this ideal, eventually now, sometimes, sometimes magical things can happen. I think my story is just a story of like a guy that stuck to it and magical shit happened.

Joe (03:16):

So, let me ask you this. Um, where did you get this drive to have this long-term vision? Because you kind of touched upon, like, you're not gonna immediately go straight to the top. You have to get there. Like what, where did that inner drive come from?

Richfresh (03:26):

I think a lot of my inner drive came from my dad. Like my dad was a very driven militant type of guy. Um, he was army, but you know, he was like very big on setting big goals for yourself and he did not do excuses. He didn't do small thinking. He didn't accept mediocrity. So we've always had this notion of you have to be greater than anyone else expects for you. You have to want more for you than anyone else could ever want for you. When you’re drilled like that your whole life, you get to a point where it's always more. Like, why would I be comfortable with a goal that I met three years ago? Why would I still be comfortable with hitting that same goal? The goal should increase. It should be somewhere further along. So I think that, you know, a lot of that just comes from him, just like not being satisfied, not settling.

Richfresh (04:20):

And just knowing that I can do more. So, you know, get it, go after it until you get it, you know, go after it until you get it. Like the difficult things do not come easily, but someone has, someone has all the things that people think is difficult. They go, oh my God, I can never get a Mercedes. You know how many people have Mercedes? Can't be that unattainable. Oh, well, you know, I can never get a- it's people that have cars that cost millions of dollars for one car. That means it's not possible- it's not impossible. It's just not easy. You may have to do more. You may have to be stronger and be smarter and move faster in order to get it. But if you want it, it's possible because someone else did it. That's the way I've always been conditioned

Joe (05:07):

You have this inner drive in you. Um, and I think when you're starting any type of company, you have to have that. What would you say to people who kind of doubt themselves early on when things obviously aren't going as well as they hoped, or they don't realize, like you have to really play the long game to be successful? You can't be successful in like a week. I always say, um, there's a lot of ten-year overnight successes that people hear about. Um, you know, what would you, what would you advise someone who's starting out?

Richfresh (05:33):

Uh, I wish I would hear someone complaining about their first month sucking. I'm like, man, you don't shut up. You shut the hell up, you sound real stupid right now. Show me anyone, pick someone, just close your eyes and pick someone. Who's the most successful person, you know? Okay. Say their name out loud. Okay. If you think that you are greater than them, let me know. You don't, you're not smarter than they are? Well, I don't get it because they had shitty years. You're talking about a shitty week. You complain about a shitty week. This person lost a billion dollars in a week. You're talking about one customer that like, you’re not thinking properly. Like everyone deals with shit. It's our ability to take shit and grow from it, which determines our success trajectory. If you can't deal with shit, you're not going anywhere. If every time you hit a yellow light, you start complaining, you're not going anywhere. You know, suck that shit up. Nobody wanna hear that shit. Keep it pushing.

Joe (06:32):

I completely agree with that. So we're talking about the lows. I'd love to hear about some of the highs. Like when were you in your, earlier in your career, you were like, like I'm onto something or like, we've got some serious momentum now, we got to keep doubling down and keep this going.

Richfresh (06:47):

Like January, January of 2018, I didn't have shit. Um, you know, I was just leaving a homeless shelter. And by July 2018, I had like my first hundred thousand dollar month. That was like, how, like, you just didn't have shit or you just didn't have enough food to eat or money to eat food. And like, you just made a hundred thousand dollars in a month. That's crazy. So I think at that point, um, I knew that this is not going to be normal. This is not going to be with anyone would have expected because I had actually asked the universe for that number. I said, I wanted to make, I wanted a hundred, you know? So I was like, oh shit. Since I want great things, even though it's what no one else would expect, just based on the circumstance I just came from, I want great things and they seem to happen because I want them. I want them fervently enough that they happen. And then, um, you know, I started setting my sights on celebrities and they would just pop up. And I think at that point, like year one is when I knew, oh yeah, man, you're never going to, you're never going to worry about money again. Like I knew you never, you never worry about money again. You're always going to be like, you, you represent something now. You're the guy that was broke, was afflicted with everything, but you figured it out and you're going to become a huge success and people are going to see it. And they're going to aspire to success because of how they see you, you know, do your thing. So I knew in year one that this was going to be, um, real special.

Joe (08:27):

That's great. So one thing I hear from a lot of like want to be entrepreneurs or wantrepreneurs is that they're not ready. They need a little bit more money. They need another 10,000. They need to go raise money from investors before they get started. What would you, what would you tell them? And what would you advise them as far as like, cause I, I have my own opinion on this, but I'd love to hear what you think when it comes to like getting started.

Richfresh (08:51):

Yeah. I'd say, you know what guys, man, you're absolutely right. You know what guys you're right. You know what, I want, you know what, for my very first investor meeting, I want a custom Tom Ford suit and I want to pull up in a Bugatti. And then when I leave, I'm going to go to my Villa that overlooks the Pacific ocean with just me and my 10 supermodel girlfriends. And then at that point, I'll be ready to do business. Man, that shit ain't real. Like, you sound stupid. So this thing that you want to do so bad, you're going to wait for someone else to feel it the same way you feel it before you actually do something with it. And that's what works? That's what makes people give you money? That's how it works? That's how people get rich, is just by waiting for someone to just come along and magically write them a check or some shit? That's not how it happens. Like everyone who's ever done anything, did it first. And then the shit comes, like, no one's coming, writing blank checks, bro. Like we can spend, they could, they could go shopping with that. No one's going to come and write you a blank check because you're cool. You have to show them your ability. It's just like back in the day, you can have a good singing voice and you could go into a record label and sing. I'm going to- my demo tape and I'm going to sing for everyone.

Richfresh (10:07):

And guess what? They’ll be like, Hey, did you hear that? Oh my God, she's going to be a star. That shit don't happen nowadays. You have to already have your own following. You have to already have your, your, your, your Instagram following up. You need to already be on Spotify. 

Joe (10:23):

Yup, that built-in audience.

Richfresh (10:24):

Right, you're going to wait until you get a record deal to go on Instagram and build your audience and do mix tapes? You're going to wait until someone gives you a check? You'll be waiting forever. It does not happen that way. Like, you know, if you don't come from a situation where you just have money thrust upon you, take what little you have and do something to get a result. People pay for a result. They pay to see that you could take a hundred and turn it into 10,000.

Joe (10:52):

Yup. Do you, so when you were getting started, cause I, I find your story really interesting and it's definitely unique. Um, did you ever have a chip on your shoulder? Because there's a saying that I've heard a lot lately is chips on shoulders, put chips in pockets. 

Richfresh (11:07):

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder.

Joe (11:08):

Yeah. Yeah, I can see that. Um, and I think that's probably part of why you're driven is like you want to make something you want to prove yourself. Would you say that's a fair assessment? 

Richfresh (11:19):

That is the most fair assessment. I was always on, I've always been a gifted kid, you know? When I was in school, I always tested gifted. I've always been gifted. So, um, I knew there was always a certain expectation. I literally came home. I can, I can tell you, I was maybe in the 10th grade, maybe the 11th grade and I came home and I showed my dad my report card. And you know, my younger brother was not doing well in school at all. And so, you know, here I am, I got the good grades. I come home and I show my dad my report card, four A's, three B's. And you know, my mom was all like, oh congratulations. I was like, oh thanks, mom. And my dad looked at it and he looked at it for a second and his face kind of got balled up.

Richfresh (12:05):

And then he looked up at me, he was like, what is this? I’m like what do you mean? He's like, what is this? It’s my report card. Like yeah, no, but what, what's wrong, what's wrong with your grades? Like what do you mean? What are these B’s? I’m like oh, those are just, it's just like high B’s it’s like, you know, a 90, you know, a 90 is still a B, it’s weird, but you know? Oh, Hm. It’s a 90. That's interesting. So no one else in your class got above a 90, I'm sure. No one in your class got an A. Well, yeah, I mean someone did. Oh, but you didn't. Okay. Bring me this back when you have A's. Don't bring me mediocrity and expect me to celebrate that. I’m not celebrating that shit. That's how I grew up. So, you know, uh, I've always had a chip cause I've always known that more is expected.

Richfresh (13:00):

Like I can't come home and tell my parents, oh, Hey, I just started this business and I make, fifty thousand dollars. They're like, okay, well now what you're gonna do? Oh nothing, hell it’s just enough money for me to just like do my thing and coast. I can't do that. My parents look at me like I was crazy. Cause they're like, no, we expect more from you. We've read books about gifted kids who do great things. You have to go do great shit, go out there. You know? So I think, um, I'm also very rebellious and I'm very, I like being the underdog because it gives me this thing. You know, this aggression that I don't otherwise have, I'm a very chill guy. But I was small when I was, when I was younger, you know, I was a short kid and I've always been slim.

Richfresh (13:46):

I just got tall real quick. So I still have, you know, small man syndrome, or little man syndrome. And I always had to prove someone wrong. If someone tells me I can't do something, I'm finna really do it. Don't ever tell me what I can’t do. Cause I had this chip and don't tell me that I can't be greater than someone else. Someone, someone said something to me before that my prices were too high. It’s like, man, it's like Gucci prices, man, I could go to Gucci. And I was like, well take your ass to Gucci and get it then. Like cause really soon, it's going to be way beyond Gucci prices, it’s going to be more like Tom Ford prices. And you won't be able to touch it. That's me like, I'm the shit. And if I think it first, the way I move, I'll make sure that you think it next.

Joe (14:28):

Perfect. So chips on shoulders put chips in pockets is a really good way to kind of describe that. Um, as far as influences, you mentioned your family, your dad specifically, are there any fashion influences that inspire you or you kind of follow or take inspiration from?

Richfresh (14:46):

Um, I've only read two fashion books ever. I read, um, and they weren't fashion books, they were biographies. I read Calvin Klein's biography and I read Ralph Lauren's biography. So I knew that what, uh, Calvin Klenets, I think that was his name because it's not Calvin Klein, that's not his real name. Uh, and then, uh, Ralph Lipschitz. Ralph Lauren. Um, I knew this when I was 13. I was like what these guys reinvented themselves, which I think is part of why I'm so ease, why I can so easily reinvent myself. I understand why people do it. Um, so like those two guys, you know, I mean I saw what they built. It’s particularly Ralph Lauren, he built an empire. Calvin Klein was just like a rockstar. He was just, back when I was a kid, everything he dropped, if it said CK on it, that was it.

Richfresh (15:35):

So those guys inspire me a lot. Um, I had one other guy, he’s a family friend, who inspired me because he did what I didn't want to do. You know, I remember talking to him when I was maybe 10. Uh, I used to draw pictures all the time of clothes and he asked me if I liked doing that stuff and told me that once upon a time he used to do fashion. But you know, then, you know, he got married and you know, he got a family. And so, I mean, I just had to put that on the back burner man and just, you know, get a real job, man. I had to go take care of my family. So man, and man, I sure do miss it, man. And I was good. And I could see like he, he got transported somewhere. He was sad as shit because he was only there for a brief second. He had to come back to his reality and I was like damn, I never want to do that. I never want to desire to be something and then not do it because I got a family or because I got older. Whatever you do, man, do that shit. Don't let any circumstance stop you from doing it. So yeah, those are my influences.

Joe (16:39):

That's great. Thanks for that. Um, as far as goals are concerned, I'd love to hear what your goals are for the next year and then the next kind of three to five years.

Richfresh (16:49):

Um, I mean the goal for the next year, obviously we're coming out of 2020. So a lot of people aren't even standing anymore. So, you know, we're fortunate to be in a position where both the Richfresh brand and the Henry brand aren't just standing, but they're flourishing. Um, and they're both independent. You know, we don't have any investors like we are self-contained, you  know, we're just an independent firm. So I think for us this next 12 months is doing what we intended to do. You know, I had big intentions for 2020 with Richfresh before pandemic hit. So now it's like just reaffirming everyone. Yes, this is a brand. No, we're not going anywhere. Yes we are the epitome of luxury. And I think for Henry it's a lot of the same. Like we made it through 2020, we're still here. We're still flourishing. Here's what we're going to do next. We're going to show you guys that we're more than just a one hit wonder, we got a whole catalog of hits and we can't wait to share with you guys. So it's just more of the same, just, you know, becoming a bigger business, becoming a smarter businessman, um, you know, more capable CEO. That's all.

Joe (18:02):

Very nice. So what's something that an outsider who doesn't know much about the fashion industry might be surprised to know?

Richfresh (18:09):

It's easier to make money in fashion than you think. People think fashion is this holy grail that only certain people can, fashion is not like that, fashion is just meeting consumer needs with a product. You know, people need a thing. And if you meet their need with the product, that's fashion, the intersection there is called fashion. If you can find a way to monetize it, that's called fashion business. You know, so it's very easy. Um, social media makes it simple. And I mean really anyone who wants to make some side money can make money, finding a product and connecting it with an audience and you can use the internet to do it. So I wouldn't feel, you know, um, threatened by fashion. I wouldn't feel intimidated by it. You know, do a little bit of research, do a little bit of studying, but you know, anybody can jump in and get their feet wet.

Joe (19:02):

Right. They got to just get started. I think too many people overanalyze things. They want to raise money. They don't actually like make the moves and put themselves out there. And I think it always goes down to people are afraid or feel a bit of fear of rejection. They want, they don't want to see like zero sales for two weeks. It's just a fear thing. So yeah, totally agree on that. What about, um, e-commerce so how does e-commerce play, uh, with either of the brands?

Richfresh (19:27):

So I was the biggest wuss on earth when it came to e-commerce. Um, this whole time with rich fresh, I didn't operate anything e-commerce it was all hand to hand. Um, but I built a, I built a very strong business doing it that way, but I kind of told myself, I kept telling myself nah, man, this is the space you have to stay in. You don't, you don't do the e-commerce shit, it’s not for you, man, you can't control that. You know, the sizing, ah nah that’s not for you. Let other people do that shit. You just keep getting all this custom money. And like, I just launched my first ready to wear collection, which is only available online. Um, and it was really to just, because I still had that thought, you know, obviously Henry started off online. We don't have any brick and mortar, Henry is all online.

Richfresh (20:16):

So I think creating Henry as an online subscription model, online distribution, was me proving to myself that we could build an e-commerce model. And then, you know, once we got to a certain point, we got to pretty much the, the year point and I turned around and I built, uh, an e-commerce model for Richfresh. And it did, it did far beyond what I thought it was going to do, like fewer hiccups than I have doing custom, you know, and it was just an easier thing. Like, wow, you waited this whole time to do this. And it was so simple and people been waiting for it. So, you know, I'm really preaching to the choir and I'm, I'm, you know, I'm saying out loud to people, what I've had to say to myself, just do it. Like I had to throw my, I had to put my ready to wear collection.

Richfresh (21:10):

I put it together in nine days from concept to completion. Concept, to samples, to models, to photo shoot, to build a website, to do the videos, to launch it. It was a nine day process because sometimes you just got to prove that you can do shit, you know? So if you have an opportunity to do some, e-commerce like, don't talk yourself out of it. There's, there's so many people that you'll never ever be able to touch, who you can connect your product to by doing the e-commerce and the other way is just slow grow. You know, you gotta do the e-commerce thing.

Joe (21:47):

Yeah. I totally agree. It's crazy that people don't realize how big some of these markets are until you get online and then you're like, wow, there are so many potential customers that we can sell to. Um, so tell me a little bit more about Henry. You touched on a little bit, but I'd love to hear more about the product and where you want to go with it.

Richfresh (22:06):

So yeah, you know, I mean, Henry, um, my brother and I, we were just solving a problem, you know. April, you know, 2020, um, I own a clothing factory as well as the actual clothing brand. So my factory makes all my clothes and we couldn't find masks for any of our tailors. We're like, yo, this is crazy. I am a tailor myself. I’ll just go down there and make a mask, this is easy. So my brother and I, we just went down, I made a mask, we showed it to a friend just later on that day, and, um, we ended up selling thousands of masks to different like factories, uh, back home in Memphis and you know, in different parts of the south because someone saw that we can make masks. And we just took in like, you know what? This could be a bigger thing than this, you know, we were making some money, but like, we could turn this into an operation, but we need to do it differently.

Richfresh (22:59):

Let's brand this and let's, let's set it up for the future. So we decided to brand it as Henry, which is our last name. Um, you know, this is a family business, our family legacy, my mom's last name is Henry. My daughter's last name is Henry. My brother's got children, their last name is Henry. We're Henrys. So we built that so that it would be something that we would make sure it goes where it's supposed to go. That's our family legacy. Um, and we decided to do it as a subscription model because the problem we were solving was masks were unavailable. There was a global shortage. If you wanted a mask, too bad, you can't get one and that to me didn’t make any sense. The medicine that we need to survive this pandemic is a mask. Why is it that people can't get one? Why is it that people might get one and not be sure they can get another one? So I said, we need to set this up as a subscription. We need to make the price affordable, you know, and we need to do it this way. And we need to have a unique aesthetic so that when people see ours, they say, wait a second, that's one of those Henry masks, isn't it? And we started with that. And, um, you know, we just, oh my God, we, we, we launched it in a weekend. We literally had the idea. We rolled it out in a weekend.

Joe (24:20):

That's yeah. So that's another good piece of advice. So one, you moved extremely fast. You weren't waiting around. You weren't going out. You knew immediately, like this is a problem. We can solve it. So there's a pain out there, there's a problem. Like we can get money to solve this problem for people. And then clearly like, there's a massive market for it. So for you, it seems like you see problems, you solve them, you don't wait around, you just start getting to work. And then you make sure you put out something that's unique because the aesthetic is very different than what people normally see with masks. And I'm starting to see it now in Brooklyn, everywhere. Because before this call, I saw them. I didn't go up close to people to read the logo, but now I'm seeing it. And then you can see, and you're like, okay, that's a Henry mask. Very cool. Last question: where can people get in contact with you and where can they find your, uh, your products? What are the domains for the websites?

Richfresh (25:09):

So, you know, the cool thing about Richfresh is how exclusive and private it is. No one, people don't even know that I'm a real person. They don't think I exist. They think I'm like, I don't know some, uh, AI, some, some people don't think I'm real. Um, because you know, I'm very off the grid. There's no storefront, there's no boutique, there's no phone number. Um, but you can go to Richfresh.com and you can actually see the product. You can see the line, you can find out more about the brand. You can also go to Henrymask.com and you can see what we're doing on the mask side. We've got the coolest mask product on the market. You know, we've got a number of collabs with cool artists and celebrities and just people who have a taste level. Um, and you know, part of this thing that we're doing with Henry, isn't just providing a mask, but it's like, it's putting smiles on people's faces during a very tough time.

Richfresh (26:05):

You know, a cool mask can make you feel better about your day. You know, being able to donate some masks to some facilities makes us feel better about the work we do. Like connecting artists with an audience so they can see their work on these masks. You know? Um, I think that that's, that's important and we've been able to do that. And, uh, yeah, I’d love people to go there and connect. On social media, you can go to Richfresh, that's Instagram, and you can go to Henrymasks, plural, and you can find out everything there is to find out.

Joe (26:38):

Perfect. Thank you so much. Fresh, great chatting with you. 

Richfresh (26:41):

Likewise.

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