No matter how much experience or industry knowledge one has, starting a business can be scary. However, starting a business straight out of high-school can, to some people, seem downright crazy. That’s exactly what GIG Seeker, Anthony Mellor, found when he first started his business White2Label Manufacturing – a bespoke sportswear branding service.
Even with a passion for fitness, design and fashionable sportswear, Anthony found that his age and lack of experience saw him cast aside as just a naïve kid with a pipe dream. But as Anthony protests: “in this day and age of technology, a kid sitting in his room has the potential to reach the entire globe”. It was a simple thought that set him off on his journey and instilled a resilience that’s required in the business world.
As a way to help build his business, earn a bit of extra income and remain flexible, Anthony ventured into the world of flexible shift work with GIG earlier this year. With an entrepreneurial mindset, he encapsulates the very spirit of a GIG Seeker and defines the term ‘earn on your own terms’.
Therefore, we sat down with Anthony to reflect on his journey, the challenges he’s faced and why flexibility has been so important for business.
Why did you start WHITE2LABEL?
I started White2Label two years after launching my independent sportswear label, Absolute Fitness Apparel. In running AFA, I would often run away with designs, ideas and products that had to balance with minimum order quantities (MOQ’s) and the business bank balance.
I’d heard of white labelling and how a lot of skincare brands used this method but I didn’t understand why a business couldn’t do the same for sportswear. The products are simple - no branding, basic design yet high-quality. That’s why I launched White2Label Manufacturing in 2018, specialising in the creation of sportswear garments through both white label and bespoke manufacturing methods.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a young entrepreneur?
I have faced many challenges as a young entrepreneur but I think the biggest issue I faced when starting out was lack of support. Having launched my first business fresh out of doing my A levels, no one at my school (teachers, friends or even family) encouraged the idea of running my own business.
In this day and age of technology, especially with the rise of social media, a kid sitting in his room has the potential to reach the entire globe, so why can’t they start a business or make a brand? It’s not easy, and there’s plenty of bumps along the road so far – both emotionally and financially/strategically - but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.
What are you most passionate about when it comes to running your business?
I love design. The feeling of taking something from concept to market is a feeling like nothing else - the headache, logistical issues, design flaws, stress, time-management and sheer frustration all becomes worth it when that item hits the market and that’s largely why I am so invested into White2Label now, because I get to experience that but for other people too.
My entire business is predicated on the following: quality, reliability and communication. As cliché as it sounds, I am very passionate about customer service. My customers pay my bills and I if I don’t look after every single one of them to the best of my ability, then I might as well give up now.
How important has it been to be flexible in your day-to-day running of the business?
Flexibility is paramount. Gary Vee describes being the CEO of a business as “being a fireman and putting out fires” and it’s the best analogy I’ve ever heard. Therefore, it’s very likely that I will get a phone call at midday from a client that will take me 2 hours to deal with.
In addition to this, I have the flexibility to work when I want. I wake up at 6:30 am and get essential work finished, such as emails, requesting reports, checking sales data etc. I then fizzle my work out throughout the day. Some days are much busier than others, it all depends on what the day brings.
How has finding work through the GIG app helped?
GIG has helped because I can go on the app and select a shift as and when I feel getting out, keeping busy and earning a bit of extra money. I can either select a morning, or evening shift depending on what I need and what my day looks like and that allows me to plan my workload.
Regardless of what people assume about working for yourself, nothing is guaranteed and it’s nice to have some form of financial stability through GIG whilst also getting the flexibility to run a growing business.
What’s in store for the future of WHITE2LABEL?
So much! We are weeks away from launching our entire white label service which has been in the works since November, so that’s stressful but very exciting. One of the biggest plans I have is to implement international sales funnels so we can tackle clients in foreign countries like the US and Germany.
My long-term plan is to offer an extended service - covering design, brand consultancy, manufacturing and then diversifying our services to help brands maximise their chance of succeeding in the market after purchase.