A new fashion brand that was started during the COVID19 pandemic has beaten the odds to become a firm favourite with young fashion lovers. While some fashion brands have struggled to survive, one man decided to take the unusual step to start his fashion business while so many were closing.
Jordan Wilson, the founder of STIGMA not only beat the odds to start a fashion business during an economic meltdown, but he also launched the business against the odds due to his health problems.
His story of how he started his business has caused huge exposure around the UK and the world, and as such he has given inspiration to so many who suffer from mental health issues.
STIGMA is aimed at those young people who love fashion and who want to look trendy and feel confident. The fashion range is flying off the shelves, which is a credit to Jordan Wilson.
I decided to sit down with Jordan Wilson and learn more about his fashion business STIGMA and find out the story behind the business. This is what he had to say.
First of all, please introduce yourself?
I’m Jordan Wilson, CEO of STIGMA Clothing,
Is it true that you have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and ADHD?
YES. I have struggled with my mental health ever since I was a teenager. In 2018, this all took a serious turn for a worse when I couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and I unsuccessfully attempted to take my own life. I had hit rock bottom and I didn’t know which way to go. I was screaming for help but there was nobody who could help me. I’d had enough, I couldn’t go on the way I was living. I made a decision that no matter how long it would take me or how many times I failed I would just keep going. Keep trying, keep make tiny steps. Here I am today still trying, still going still taking small steps.
You have started a new fashion, which is one of the hardest industries to break into, why did you decide to start the new brand?
I have not always been into fashion, being quite honest there were times in my life when I didn’t look after myself at all. I decided to start the brand STIGMA not only as a fashion statement but also for a statement of intent. There are millions of people in this world just like me. Not just suffering with mental health issues but also being made to feel outcast, feeling alone and feeling like they will never amount to anything. STIGMA is building a family, a family where nobody will be made to feel like they aren’t good enough.
How did you come up with the name STIGMA?
When I first wanted to start a fashion range, I wanted it to be called ‘Disorder’, however I quickly found out that this was already trademarked and a brand already. Then STIGMA out of nowhere really. I thought what a rubbish word! I’d seen it branded all over the place. “Break the stigma”, “end stigma!” and that’s when I thought, why not just make it a better definition? Why not just turn a negative into a positive? Let’s give STIGMA an attitude, an attitude that won’t be defeated, an attitude that says,” I’m here, this is me!” There are millions of others who want to lead from the front just like me. There are millions of others who feel outcast just like me. That is what STIGMA is all about.
Before we talk more about the success of STIGMA, lets talk about the steps you started to launch the business. What capital did you start the business with, and what research did you do to make sure that your brand is what the consumer wanted?
I started stigma £8,500 in debt after the pandemic. I didn’t have a penny to my name, I work out of my spare room in my top floor flat. It can be hard getting deliveries up and down the stairs. (haha). I’m nothing special. I’m a working-class man from Preston, Lancashire and I always will be no matter what. The funny thing with research here is that I didn’t do any at all. I just wanted to start adding value into peoples lives through being a good person and doing what I believed to be kind gestures.
Your mission statement says STIGMA is designed for the outcasts, the leaders and the game changers. As a brand our mission is to add value into people’s lives through building a family. It also says that STIGMA is designed to show leadership, strength and courage. Can you explain what you mean by that?
When I first started out in business, I asked a man who I knew who had what I’d class as a successful business a question. The question was, how do I do this? He said to me plain and simple, if you base your business around earning as much money as you can you will fail, you will end up with no business. If you base your business around adding value into other peoples lives then you will be far more successful than you can ever imagine. This is what I set out to do and who I wanted to become, we’ve already donated to different charities, we’ve given free clothing to people who need it more than us and I constantly portray my adding value to others lives on social media. I cannot change the world but I can change someone’s world and so can they therefore we have a chain effect. How many people does it take to change the world?
Adding value into peoples lives is the most important thing for me, it will take people to stand up and say I want this too and that’s where the leadership, strength and courage comes into play.
So, how is your fashion brand different from the many others on the market?
Clothing wise, we aren’t. How many more brands can say, we are better than X because we have better clothing. There is only so far you can go with that message. We build a family, a network of people. People who want to inspire, we aren’t subject to one industry like gym goers for example. We are open to everything and everyone. STIGMA can give hope into peoples lives though the power of a brand alone.
Your clothing designs really stand out, who are behind the designs of your clothing line?
I do everything right now. Believe me everything, from accounts to design. I couldn’t afford to pay anyone so I have learnt to do everything myself. I designed the website, I run social media, I run a podcast, I run customer service, I print and I package. It’s hard however what an invigorating feeling. 3 years ago, I didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t want to live. Now I have so much purpose to live and I want to get across that hope to other people.
How much thought went into the designs?
A lot, I struggle sleeping a lot with my conditions and believe me when I say I have gone nights with no sleep powering through all my negative thoughts and emotions to just get it done. I ask for help off my fiancé every now and then and she’s such a huge help with me mentally however she also has her own career and I try to let her get on with that as much as possible.
One thing I did notice, is that your clothing only goes up to 2XL, do you plan to offer your clothing to people who wear 3XL and even 4XL clothing?
Absolutely, funny really because I’m a 3XL man myself (haha) It’s been down to budgets and time allowance so far, I am one man. I will make mistakes and I wont be able to satisfy everyone always but I promise that I will always improve on anything where I fall short.
You sell women’s clothing, and men’s clothing, but do you intend to move into the teenage market?
Most definitely, once again it’s a matter of resources and time, we plan to take the market by storm as much as we can. I feel like in the teenage market I may need a little input as potentially I’m not as ‘down with the kids’ as I once was.
I have looked at the quality of your clothing line and compared them to other brands, and what does shock me is how affordable your clothing line is, so my question to you is, what is the secret, how have you managed to keep your prices so low?
I started this business skint. I know what it’s like to be skint. I want everyone to feel involved. I want everyone to have a chance at owning a stigma t-shirt or a piece of merchandise. We will always bring out different ranges and maybe sometimes things will be a higher price however like I say moving forward we are always learning, working out our market and hoping to add value where we can.
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about what is known as throw away clothing causing damage to the environment, do you plan in looking into producing environmental clothing in the future?
We already do, we have a range of t-shirts and hoodies that are PETA approved made from sustainable and organic material. We also know that sustainable doesn’t have to be expensive and the t-shirts are priced at just £19.99.
You have launched your winter clothing line, so what can we expect from your winter collection?
Layers! There’s nothing more I love than being wrapped up in the winter, big coats, big hoodies…comfort, comfort and more comfort.
What are the future plans for STIGMA?
I started this with no plan. I still have no plan. I roll with the punches. I never every thought I would own my own fashion brand but I do and it’s going well. My plan is to become the best person I can be and hopefully the business will always follow that suit.
To learn more about STIGMA, please visit https://stigmaclothing.co.uk