Last Christmas, Drexel sophomore David Hunt had an innovative gift idea for his friends: shares in his emerging clothing company Katuffa, which he describes as a sophisticated option for the collegiate man.
“I thought about gift cards and all the tangible gifts that usually people get, and I felt like those would be gone in a week or so,” Hunt said. “Instead, I tried to give them something sustainable.”
His idea recently came to fruition Aug. 1, with the launch of his inaugural website and his initial line of clothing. Comprised of just nine items, the online store is in the “pre-selling” stage, with shipping starting mid-September.
“It’s really about trying to inspire people to dress to embody who they really are and acknowledge that they’re amazing. We want the clothes to support that,” Hunt explained.
According to Hunt, a finance and entrepreneurship major currently on co-op at Johnson & Johnson, the brand essentially came together in the last six months. Hunt said his first step was speaking with friend and designer Chesna Middleton from his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., about designing for his company. Middleton agreed.
“I give the designers pretty much free reign, I just tell them what I want to convey – something that’s unique, inspirational and classy,” Hunt said. “You don’t want to ever limit someone’s artistic ability.”
While the website is still new, Hunt said he’s already received positive feedback about his clothing, all of which is made in China. Hunt made the decision to go international after being frustrated with Philadelphia tailors not being able to accommodate his timeline.
“The timeline was really short, and they would say they couldn’t do it or it would be more expensive,” he said.
Through global trade center Alibaba.com, Hunt discovered his current producers, who he corresponded with in the initial stages of production.
“I sent them designs and cuts of fabric and basically asked them ‘can you do this?’ and they said yes,” Hunt explained. “They ended up sending samples back here, and then we coordinated back and forth.”
After getting sample pieces back from China, Hunt says he and his team scrambled to put together a photo shoot in time for the website launch.
“Now we’re working on the promotional planning. We’re trying to do print media by reaching out to a lot of news avenues and some digital campaigns that we plan to launch,” he said. “Whatever environment our target market is in, that’s where we want to go.”
According to Hunt, the brand name “Katuffa” was borrowed from Drexel Business and Law professor Steven Sher.
“Instead of using the word ‘widget,’ he used the word katuffa. So I asked him one day as a joke ‘If I made a company called Katuffa, would you sue me?’ and he said he wouldn’t, so I said ‘okay’,” Hunt recalled.
The company is currently in the middle of a busy promotional week, Hunt said, trying to create buzz about the website and the clothing. Hunt plans to analyze Katuffa’s feedback as the website gets more traffic.
Hunt has big plans for the future of his company, ultimately hoping to be featured in magazines such as Billboard and national television ads. In addition, he plans to develop a competition for Drexel students to design their own clothing line for the brand.
“If they can design it, we’ll pay to get it produced and feature it on our site,” Hunt said.
To learn more about Katuffa, visit the company’s webpage at Katuffa.com.