STEPHEN HUNG

San Ramon, CA

Anyone who’s trying to create a successful business is going to encounter numerous obstacles. My clothing line is no exception to that rule. Since the inception of effulgence in 2009, I’ve faced many let downs along the way from failed collaborations, trade shows and seasonal releases. Ultimately, all of my hard work resulted in minimal growth, and I was starting to get discouraged. Fortunately, I had the mentality of persistence since I was very young, so giving up on my passion was never an option. However, in 2013, the state of my brand had convinced me that this was not enough. I hit a wall and a Google search wasn’t going to get me an answer. I needed to engulf myself in the culture and find some guidance if I wanted to reach my goals.

In 2013, I transferred to SFSU with one goal in mind, to intern at Benny Gold, my favorite clothing designer ever since I got into streetwear. The question was, how do I intern at Benny Gold when streetwear is notorious for keeping the circles of employees tight knit. Most people who work at streetwear stores have some type of personal connection to the owner. A LinkedIn profile most likely won’t get you a streetwear job. So without a position even open, I dropped off my resume off at Benny’s flagship store. But that wasn’t enough. I needed to stand out. I wanted to find Benny’s warehouse. I did some detective work and noticed an address and a unique sign that could possibly be the location of his warehouse in one of his Instagram photos. I used Google’s Street View and went down street after street until I found the matching address and sign. I found his warehouse! I visited Benny’s shop and warehouse once a week for a month inquiring about any open positions. I didn’t get anywhere until, one day, Benny came to the door and said I could come inside. It was then I gave an elevator pitch for why I wanted to intern there. He gave me the okay to help out just for that day. Pretty soon, I was officially hired as a Benny Gold intern.

I knew being at Benny Gold every day would inspire me and be able to obtain infinite amounts of knowledge. Also just the fanboy in me was excited working for one my favorite streetwear brands and being surrounded with like-minded people. I was doing your typical intern tasks whether it was stocking inventory, shipping orders or changing light bulbs around the office. Although I wasn’t working alongside the design team, I definitely made each opportunity a learning experience. I honestly didn’t expect any hook ups for my brand. I thought I got hooked up already with the internship. To my surprised almost 2 years later, I was talking to Benny about doing a pop-up shop and he offered hosting my first pop-up at his flagship store. This was a complete full circle. 5 years ago, I attended the shop’s grand opening and was to nervous to even talk to Benny. Now I’m selling effulgence for a weekend in that exact same space. It was physical manifestation of growth.

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Having a support system is key in overcoming any obstacle in life. No matter who you are, everyone that succeeds has a team of people around them that has invested time and energy into their passion. During this journey, life will also throw you curveballs that will distract you from reaching your goals and ultimately this adversity will test your character. Your support system keeps you grounded and provides that guidance, so you don’t create an even worse situation for yourself and keep pushing. I operate my brand solely, but there definitely has been many people that was helped get where I am today behind the scenes. Also, make sure the people in your circle are there for the right reasons. I compare this to a TV series; who’s going to be in there during your pilot episode through your series finale?

So they can live their purpose in life. Being a recent graduate, I see so many friends and peers pursuing careers that they’re not passionate about. Life becomes mundane and routine. Although many people may say they’re happy or content, I refuse to believe most of them. I know many of you might not know what this is right now and that’s okay, but make it a priority to find out because life is much better knowing. These difficulties are all part of the journey. It builds characters and once you reach some level of success, you’ll appreciate these struggles so much more. Embrace the hard work and the process that comes along with it because nothing comes easy.

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