Kirklan Hawes has been interested in fashion most of his life, but there was always one catch: as a man who fell into the ‘big and tall’ category, it was rare that he saw himself in magazines, ads and fashion shows. Even when brands he loved came out with a ‘plus-size’ line, it felt like an afterthought. So now, with his fashion blog and community XL Tribe, he’s changing that — big and tall is always front of mind.
When and how did you start XL Tribe?
I started XL Tribe in late October 2016. I had the idea that I wanted to help big guys dress and feel better. So after months of research throughout 2015 and early 2016, I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer. What I had to say needed to be televised, so to speak. So with $30, I purchased the domain and found a cheap hosting service with iPage.
When and how did you become interested in fashion?
I would say that I’ve be interested in fashion since high school but I didn’t get good at it until my early- to mid-20’s. I always wanted to find avenues in which to express myself, and fashion, for me, was no exception to the rule.
How do you see XL Tribe growing in the future?
Well my visions for the future are massive. In the near future our magazine XL Tribe will be launching sometime in late June early July. I recently launched the Create Your Own Site Coaching Program where I teach other guys how to create a blog and/or store. Teaching others how to start and maintain the site.
What draws you to serial entrepreneurship?
The idea of punching a clock with a company that doesn’t have my name on it and just never, ever, ever sat well with me. I refused to leave this world not trying to chase my dreams. In the words of 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Trying” was always my quest. Now my focus has shifted in a slightly better way. Now I do it because when you’re chasing the money, you will never win. A business that serves others will pay you back. The law of reciprocity will always work in your favor.
Do you have any mentors or role models that have helped guide or inspire you throughout the process of creating XL Tribe?
Yes. My best friend I Am Priiincesss has been a great role model. I’ve been watching her wins and losses and learning how to make a better business. Also, Steve Jobs and John Legere are two people I look up to heavily — Steve for his relentlessness and John for his ‘I don’t give a what’ attitude.
What are the biggest challenges with starting and growing a business?
Wanting to be perfect is the biggest challenge I have faced. Spending too much time researching the best and comparing your year one to someone’s year ten. If that sound like you, stop! Just stop it. It’s okay for your website not to look great, just get started. Cashflow and/or access to capital is another one of my greatest challenges. With more money I could be hiring more writers, a social media manager and an ad manager to spread the word.
What’s a piece of advice you would give to someone who’s interested in starting a business?
Once you pick an industry you wanna start a business in, call, email, tweet the top players in that space and find out what the common pain points are and find out how you can solve that. Second, once you find the pain point you can solve, then validate that idea before you create the solution.
Anything else you want to share?
One thing I want to leave people with: if you are feeling down about how your life is going, trust me, as long as you decide that enough is enough and start putting one foot in front of the other, everything you need will begin to come your way.