SSD Co-Founder Lee Powers – Interview
‘What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?’
Here at Super Super Dope we absolutely love to work, design, produce and hustle, the thought of creating something new, something that didn’t exist yesterday, a new product, a new photograph, a new piece of design is super exciting and motivating for us.
Why did you start Super Super Dope?
Thats an interesting question, essentially I prefer to work for myself and am enjoying a long career as a Fashion and Advertising Photographer / Creative Director, and constantly seeking fresh challenges within the creative space and therefore we founded the company.
A fortunate meeting at co-working space with cool guy named Marcus, owner of an awesome business Paradigm Art , this dude is selling dope digital downloads on Etsy. Sharing a coffee we would constantly be interrupted by new orders beeping through on his cell phone, I liked the look of this 😉
After a while selling a few downloads on the Super Super Dope Etsy store, we just sort of tuned out, the reason being for many years, our art is protected by copyright and we felt allowing people to download your art was like giving your craft away.
So we moved on onto designing physical posters and apparel, but was really just randomly collecting words and phrases and the Super Super Dope offering was a complete mish-mash of styles and genres.
Inspiration and clarity came whilst on a family holiday to Bali, we stayed at a gorgeous hotel called The Slow, its offering was just so tight, from the design, music, food, decor and even to what the owners wore everyday, the general ‘California Cool’ vibe was so consistent. We soon realised that Super Super Dope really needed to focus into one style and genre.
And so we found ourself in the ‘Hustle’ space. I guess I’ve always hustled, even before hustling was a thing! The design and creative wordplay we use everyday feels honest and natural and we enjoy being in this space.
‘What does an average day look like at Super Super Dope?’
Things start early for us, first job after showering is to take our West Highland Terrier for a quick wee and walk, grabbing a coffee whilst checking the overnight orders have been processed and sent to our production partners for printing and fulfilment. Then its (more) coffee and breakfast with the family, getting our daughter ready and dropping her off at school.
Working in our home studio 3 days a week which means I can catch an early Yoga class, before moving on tothe fun part of the day, designing our new products, uploading to the website and sharing on the Super Super Dope Instagram page.
Tuesdays and Thursdays we head to a co-working space, catching up on administrative work that can be done on the laptop as designing is restricted to a large monitor with design refs + inspiration to hand. The co-work space allows us a change of scene, as well as meeting up with clients and other hustlers.
What inspires you?
Inspiration arrives from traditional areas, such as film, music, social media and surfing the internet etc, however my wife is an amazing source of inspiration, everyday she sends me great design she’s discovering through Social Media + Surfing. I find taking a solo bus ride, clears my mind of distractions, disconnecting and gazing out the window finding inspiration from the world around, people watching (and of course staring at their t-shirts).
What do you enjoy most with running your own hustle?
There is a really the sense of achievement when something goes right, we get enormous satisfaction every time we sell a product, its a simple validation of our decisions, our ideas, our designs and of course our hustle and grind.
Was there a time when you almost gave up, how you felt about that, and what you did instead of giving up?
Super Super Dope has gone through many phases of what it’s about, we have made a ton of errors with poor designs, stupid quotes and ugly website decisions and we just felt it wasn’t going to work out, but then a sale comes in or you wear a Super Super Dope t-shirt and receive a positive comment and it kind of puts you back together again and you feel that the project does have merit and it motivates us to work harder, keep researching, experimenting and designing.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for Super Super Dope?
Thats easy to answer and its sales. A simple internet search kind of leads us to believe, “hey set up an e-comm business, work your own hours and make a ton of money!” But really, as the barriers to entry are so low, its a busy space and lots of people are having a go.
Its possible build a simple Wix Website in little over a day, set up an Etsy store in a matter of minutes, but can you get any sales? Its super challenging to get traffic to an online store, reading recently that only 5% of visitors lead to a conversions!!
Any advice for your previous boss?
Urm, not really, being a boss is tough, especially trying to manage someone like me, so probably ‘Sorry’!!
Are there any brands, business’ or business leaders that you admire?
Net A Porter / Mr Porter are brands we have enjoyed seeing grow over the years, moving from an online store to an online magazine / content portal / e-comm site, you read an article and end up buying a new pair of shoes!!
What would you like to achieve Professionally in 6 months / 1 year / 5 years?
In the next 6 months we will be very happy if Super Super Dope can continue to inspire and gain traction / sales within the hustle apparel space.
After a year to 5 years we would love to making collaborations with other design houses and artists, we always enjoy the creative disruption that happens when multiple minds get together!! Hey want to work with us? Send us a message firstname.lastname@example.org
Any advice for talent looking to set up their own hustle?
‘Why Not’ is a phrase we keep coming back to. However, just because one believes ‘it will happen‘, thats definitely not enough. Keep the overheads down, surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and can subjectively analyse the business. If possible keep your day job and make the break when the business can financially support itself or if you get funding, of course, treat any capital like your own money and don’t piss it away 😉
And subscribe to Gary Vaynerchuk.
What is your favourite quote?
Of course we love words and quotes and have many posted up around the studio, we don’t really have a favourite quote, however here is one we discovered recently.
‘What matters is this: Being fearless of failure arms you to break the rules. In doing so, you may change the culture and just possibly, for a moment, change life itself.’
Thank you!! Malcolm Mclaren