Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 110 · 5 months ago

110: Fashion Sense and Empowering Underserved Communities with Tiffany Hamilton

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

April is World Autism Month. People with autism are talented in a number of categories, from music to art to coding. However, they often experience difficulties finding careers as many employers have misconceptions and a lack of understanding. 

One woman and son duo is setting out to change these unemployment trends. Tiffany Hamilton and her son Isaiah are the founders of Victor Wear, with goals to create a vibrant community that inspires and motivates people while creating awareness and opportunities for those with autism and other disabilities. 

Fun fact: This is Tiffany's VERY FIRST podcast appearance. I think she did great, don't you?

Good people cool things as a podcast future and conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, musicians and other creatives. Get inspired by their stories to do your own cool thing, and here's your host, Joey held. Welcome to good people, cool things. Today's guest is Tiffany Hamilton, the founder of Victor, where, a fashion and apparel company that Inspires Triumph over obstacles and empowers underserved communities to be victorious. Tiffany Sun Isaiah, has high functioning autism, and eighty five percent of adults with autism or unemployed, despite having fantastic skills like being great at art, coding, design, voice acting, singing, you name it. They have lots of talents, but because of their disability they might find trouble in the working world. So we're talking about how we can offer support to people with disabilities. Tiffany drops some very good marketing tips. She's a marketer by trade, even before she started victor, where she's had ample experience with that's you're going to get lots of good he's in there. We're also going to share what it's like working with family. Do you get along all the time? You have a hundred percent agreements? Probably not. And that is a good thing. So we're going to talk about all of that in this episode. Head on over to victor where. Well, I maybe listen to this episode first and then head on over to victor where. Get yourself something cozy and you can rock your new found hoodie shirt all that good fashion while you're listening to great conversations like this one with tiffany. To kick off, for people who aren't familiar with you, can you give us your name and your elevator pitch, but can you also tell us the type of elevator that we're writing on? Yeah, absolutely, and thanks so much for having me today. This is my first ever podcast, an honor or. Excited, super excited to be here. But I am Tiffany Hamilton. I'm a proud mother to an amazing teenage son with high functioning autism and I am also a marketer by trade. That's what I do in my nine hundred and twenty five and now I'm in entrepreneur. My son and I just started victor ware, which is an inspirational activewear brand that supports the disability community and other underserved communities. So how did you get started it? Did you did you always want to kind of get into the clothing industry. Was the something that you would always want to how to have that come about, and not at all. I really stumbled into this. So so Isaiah, my son, he's fifteen. He just he has a lot of talents and one of them is art. So he and he doesn't so much do art anymore. He's into other things, but for a long time he would just make these amazing...

...paintings and drawings and and I, you know, given that he has a disability, I've always been very proactive about just paying attention to whatever talents he has and trying to nurture them and and just thinking about his future, like trying to monetize that. So together we were kind of, and this was years ago, thinking of, you know, starting tshirt business and he would kind of, you know, provide the the art for the t shirts. And since then it has evolved into more of the brand idea, around inspiring triumph of for obstacles and using, you know, catchy slogans more so than than his artwork. So we're still very much collaborating, but this was this was really, I guess, originally my idea and then it evolved into our idea and it's a way to secure his future and provide an opportunity for for folks just like him. I always find it interesting when family works together. Have you ever butted heads on something like a decision for the business? Sure, absolutely. I mean we just butted heads because I'm down here in the basement and he loves to be down here and play its video games loud and you know, he wasn't happy about happing to move. But yeah, we so all of our slogans we collaborate on and and he comes up with ideas that I'm like Nah, and and then I and the same thing. There's actually one of our shirts now. The slogan is be all ink, go all out. He wasn't crazy about that idea. I liked it and and here we are. We decided to put it out there. So, you know, he's my baby, he is he's he's my partner in everything and I would say we agree more than we disagree. That's good. Yeah, I think it's healthy to have disagreements and then if it's like ninety percent of what you're doing are you're disagreeing out them, maybe it's like, okay, let's take us a process about what's the game that we're keeping Isaih from playing right now. I don't know what he is playing. Honestly. He loves geometry and there's a new game. I cannot think of the name. Yeah, sorry, no, no, I mean you could name Games. I probably wouldn't have heard of a lot of the current ones, but I to keep up. I mean, I know, I know, we've got some cameras in the audience, so they're they're use probably some other geometry fans out there. How to me? Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure. He...

...is like a genius with that game design and yeah, I mean he could teach me a lot about technology general. Now you talked about collaborations and kind of the community of your I mean really the brand as a whole, like beyond just the business itself, and one of the partnerships that you currently have as with the Special Olympics, which is obviously like a huge, huge dame and fantastic. So how did how did that come about? Did you reach out to them? Did they see what you were doing out of all that get started? Yeah, yeah, great question. Yeah, so that is a dream come true. I love everything they do and I reached out to them because Isaiah's actually an athlete on the local swim team and yeah, and I just thought it would be a great opportunity to partner with them and support the amazing work they're doing. I mean it's been it's been just amazing for him to see him how he has grown from his participation in its weeam the swim team, and just the way it really as a whole just empowers people with disabilities and gives them joy. And so I just thought like what better, you know, Opportunity than to to work with them and partner with them and it's also a way of supporting Isaiah. so I approached them. They loved the the idea of partnering in the brand and right now, or this whole year, ten percent of every single product sold will go to Special Olympics through a year end donation. So we're super excited. That is very cool and I think you touched on something there of of how you reached out to them, and I imagine you had a pretty good pitch for that, like you're able to tailor it to their mission, which I mean I am a huge fan of collaborations, of cross promotions. I know sometimes, I think at this case I don't know how people would see it as like a competitive thing, but I think sometimes people are afraid of that, of like reaching out to a brand that they're like, this might be my competitor, but there's still good cross promotional opportunities that you can have with them. So could you kind of give us a little bit of like what that pitch looks like to get them on board? Sure, you know, I'm new to the the pitching, as you know, a startup entrepreneur. But the pitch was really I love you. My son is an athlete. I would love to support the work you're doing and I would love for you also to to help us promote our brand. I mean what better is? It's a perfect alignment in terms of our our mission of, you know, inspiring triumph of obstacles...

...and empowering people with disabilities and other underserved communities. So that was that was really my pitch. Is, how can we support each other and make this mutually beneficial and and fortunately they were receptive. I was, oh my gosh, like when I get off the film with them, I was like screaming, I could believe it, like it's it's a dream, it's a dream come true. It's super cool and and I think you hit on it, like how is this beneficial for both of us? Like it's not. I think so many people go in it was like all right, what could you do for me? And it's like now let's step back, like they're they're not going to just be like yeah, we'll help you out. Absolutely. There's also got to be a benefit on both sides there. And you said you're still start up entrepreneur. This is still a new, new experience. So what something that surprised you about running a business? Something that surprised me? I'm kind of exhausted. I mean so I love it and it's this is great because you again, Isaiah is my world. There's I would move heaven and earth for that child. So he is my constant motivation and inspiration and that is what that is. That is what sustains my drive. But definitely at times, and and definitely this week, you know, our grand opening was yesterday, so short, still working on the the website and and trying to get a lot and place, you know, in time for that. And it I haven't gotten much sleep and you know, I have a fulltime job and and I'm a mother and and so I also have to unofficial stepkids. My partner hasn't put a ring on it yet, so that's nothing story. But you know, it's just it. I'm always busy and and I think the challenge now is finding a way to juggle everything and I can't say that I have the answers that I'm still very much learning, but but that's that's the new journey I'm on is how to find balance, because it's hard to stop working, especially because, you know, I want this to be successful and this is about Isaiah and I'm so passionate about it. But at the same time you kind of you know, reach a point of like diminishing returns. Like if I'm like exhausted, I'm not. I'm not doing my best work. So that's kind of a long winded answer. But no, I was kind of nodding along because because I feel the same way of...

...like knowing when to stop. I think there's been times where I fall into the trap of like I'll just do this for fifteen more minutes, or like I'll just finish this one thing. When you get on a roll and you're like let's keep going to ask, while we three hours later and you're still yes, and then you wake up at three are like I've got this great idea total and usually for me I'm like I'll remember it when I wake up. Never happens. Oh yeah, I totally, I will like wake up and write down an idea. Yeah, it's crazy. It's like it's I'm in the always one mood and I just I need to learn how to turn it off. Now you said how you're also a marketer. I am your ninety five tips. So I think marketing it's just it's a fascinating world, like there's so many different elements you can go in and out out, you know, there's the old I mean I don't need to go through all the parts of the funnel, but the whole buyer journey. I think there's so many interesting parts, and I'm sure you know this as well too, that it seems like every day there's something new coming out as like a new way to reach customers and reach out to people. So, just from a general marketing perspective, is there something, whether it's a platform or a tool or resource or whatever, that you're just like, I wish more people knew about and use this. Why? A great question. I can't think of anything off hand in terms of a platform or tool. I would say as marketers were always, you know, looking for the latest and greatest thing and just how to you know, you know, like a great format for an ad and, you know, just various interactive things to just as wow and, you know, and delight customers. I've been doing marketing for alms twenty years now, and the thing that I see over and over again it's just the need to get back to the basics and really know your audience and and and and just start with that foundation. For instance, if it's let's say, you know, like a product for developers, they may not be into all the kind of fleshy, you know marketing like. They may want, you know, straight, kind of direct information to help them do their job more effectively. So I would say, you know, back to the basics in terms of knowing your audience and really telling a story. Storytelling is the foundation of marketing. You have to know how to tell a good story and tell a story that your audience will be receptive to, and so that's what I find a lot of times is it's sometimes I feel, as marketers like we get bored. What, you know, just the things that that we're doing...

...and and to, you know, just get out of our sort of adhd mode like we're we put all these great formats out there and while you know it's pretty, it doesn't always work for the audience. That again, you know, folks going to feel free to contradict me, but that's something that I've seen. And so, just as long as you focus on the foundation of your audience and the story, everything in terms of platforms, formats should should stem from that foundation. All the decisions data. Yes, love, a good love, a good data driven approach. Would I see at least, and this is probably where I would say, from brands than individuals, although I've definitely seen it with individuals. To his people just trying to glom onto a trending topic. I mean, I mean when we're recording this, this episode might go go out in a, you know, a later time, peer but I'm sure people will still be talking about it. Of course, the slap at the Oscars where my entire timeline on any platform I was I was just people do it like either memafying it or commenting on it, like sharing opinions on Gosh, and I was just like, I'd love to see something else be great. And people that like brands were it's like what are you doing? Like you don't, you don't sell, you know, like fashion, any kind of formal where or like you don't sell hand accessories or anything that would be relevant to a slap or two guys said. It's just like why are you getting it on this? Totally. Yeah, everyone had to say something. Yeah, it's an interesting week. Sure, Great Water Cooler Week. Oh, yes, and then I'm sure, sure, by next weekend we'll have something. Now, big shrug, shrug, Emoji. Absolutely on Sada continues, one of the questions I always like to ask as a question you wish you were asked more frequently. And for you, your question is how can you better support loved ones with disabilities? Yeah, yeah, I it's really important, I feel, this question because I definitely have opinions on that. And and the first thing I would say, and just for everyone, is to to recognize and respect everyone's humanity. And I think it's important because as humans, I feel we naturally are kind of wire to gravitate to people who are like us, you know, who shared, you know, similar abilities or interests and so one. And so I feel...

...like that's our challenge as human beings to embrace, like, the full range of humanities, including abilities and colors and backgrounds and sexualities, and really, you know, setting everyone up for success. So, in general, I think it's important to respect everyone's humanity and treat people the way you want to be treated. And and I've seen folks with disabilities, you know firsthand. You know, my son is autistic and I've seen him shunned and bullied and you know, folks face discrimination and the thing about disabilities is anyone can be, like, a tragic accident or health event away from joining the disability community. So just again, respect everyone's humanity and treat people with respect. As far as other ways to support the disability community, any opportunities you can get to to support organizations that promote inclusion or to promote inclusion yourself, to give people with disabilities jobs. That's that's extremely important. Autism, people on the spectrum are the majority of adults are unemployed or underemployed. Is a major issue and these are brilliant, amazing people. So give them a chance and and and give them the supports they need, whether it's a job coach or or others. You know, supports at work to succeed and as far as caring for people with disabilities, my ad but my advice as a mother, would be to first and foremost care for yourself. That is the foundation. That is how you will be the best carecape caregiver you can be. So taking time out to whatever it is like, do things you enjoy, play tennis, you know, eat right, meditate, you know, whatever will fulfill you spiritually. Give yourself that time and also take advantage of all the resources out there, support groups, organizations, government assistance, therapies, because a lot of those programs just make a life changing difference for people with disabilities. Do you have any that you want to shout out? Yeah, there are many. So so we actually started our early intervention journey with Easter seals and they were wonderful. We Isaiah got free therapy through this date for for two...

...years. School districts provide a lot of you know, just any school district, you typically can get into the system through an individualized education plan and access free supports through the school system. Even, you know, the government provides, you know, social security benefits, therapies, there are so many, you know, for people with autism, speech therapy. Occupational therapy a be a therapy that's applied behavioral analysis and again, a lot of that therapy, like if you get on your state's waiver program or just through an early intervention program and that would be like for kids under under three or three and under. It kind of varies by state. I think sometimes it's under five, but a lot of those therapies would be free. So those are just a few. I could go on and wine. I've been at this since Isaiah was twelve months old, so to have a bit of experience as we yes a little bit and we've, you know, a lot of those therapies I mentioned, like we've done them all. Isaiah is still as doing speech therapy. So you know, I didn't imagine that when we started our journey, but but he has, he is. He's amazing. Like, I've seen the impact of these therapies like they will change, they can change your child's life. So definitely take advantage. Lots of good stuff. Will have them in the show notes as well so people can easily get out there and check them out. We'll tepny, you're almost off the hook here. We always thought with a top three and I think we've we've covered it pretty nicely, but if you can, can give us the nice summation here. The top three things to know about victor ware. Awesome. So again, we're an inspirational, active where brand. You can check us out at Victor warecom and please share your candid feedback. We'd love to hear from you. Ten percent of every product sold goes to Special Olympics Virginia. And please follow us on social we're on facebook, in Instagram at Victor Ware Global and also linkedin at victor ware fantastic. Will Tiphany. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat. Lots of great stuff going on over there at Victor Ware and excited for I mean, you said you just launched yesterday, so congratulation. Thank you so much. We're so excited and thanks so much or the opportunity to come on today and share with you. I really enjoyed our conversation. Likewise, and of course we've got to wrap up with a Corny joke,...

...as we always stare. So right before we hopped on here, I was doing some laundry. Had A laundry basket full of iron clothes. I was taking them back to my room. Tripped and fell right in front of my dog. She saw it all unfold. Good after today people. Yeah, that one was corny. I thank you. Thank you. Good people cool things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you were a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button. That helps more people here the show. You can send me a message, Joey, at good people cool thingscom. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on good people cool things and check out all the old episodes via good people cool thingscom. As always, thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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