Sunday, December 14, 2014

SOTA Clothing


There are people in the world that create and others who appreciate the creation. In today’s society we can find limitless books, research articles, and opinions that tell a person how to get from point A to B in life. What happened to listening to oneself? It takes focus to utilize passion, define talent, or to do something just for the pure enjoyment of it.

The gifted creator of Sota Clothing, Spencer Johnson, found out what it means to make vision a reality at a young age. He maintained dedication, persistence, and an outlook on life that has limitless possibilities…many still untouched.

Spencer is the third of six children in his family. He doesn’t see a business endeavor as a risk, he just goes for it! He does most of his thinking in large group areas, not necessarily talking to people, but surrounded by them. His brand emphasizes a way of living life to the fullest. A brand that emphasizes being proud of where you’re from and where you’re going. This brand started from a sketch in Geology class and is taking off to new heights, new people, and experiences. The brand that’s captured so many already is called… SOTACLOTHING.








































Photo: 2nd Truth Photography

Clarte caught up with Spencer recently and unraveled just what Sota Clothing is all about.

ClartebyAmanda:
Many times a person’s childhood effects who they become into adulthood. What type of experiences have you had as a child that shapes who you are today?

Spencer Johnson:
I grew up in an old farm house in Eden Prarie, MN. I think that shaped how I care about an authentic look. My mom is an interior-designer and she taught me what it takes to make something look right, less is more. I wanted to do something that no one else was doing. No one was creating a brand in Minnesota like SOTA Clothing.
As a child I was a dreamer. I would dream up random things that I wanted to do or pursue. I knew I always wanted to do my own thing and valued what was going on in my mind. I spend 10% of my time doing and 90% thinking. That’s where SOTA came from.

ClartebyAmanda:
Sota brand started as a project for a class at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. What was the process you went through from sitting down with an assignment to formulating a brand?

Spencer Johnson:
Initially, I was given a final project assignment for my Senior Design Studio class. I would doodle often in other classes and came up with the logo for Sota Clothing. I wanted something that would be simple and anyone could wear it, even if they weren’t from Minnesota. A brand that started here, but can expand outside of the state as well.  I often like to get opinions when I do a design and the initial design for Sota I really liked.


Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing

ClartebyAmanda:
What was your experiences after graduating college that brought you here today?

Spencer Johnson:
After graduating college I had a job lined up as a real estate photographer. My brother worked for Delta and I could fly for cheap. I wanted to travel, but because I also needed to be at work, I wasn’t able to use the benefits. I spoke with some people that gave me a lot of wisdom and told me to do what I love and travel, even if that meant giving up my current job as a real estate photographer.
I traveled to Europe a few times and around the United States. When I came back August of 2013, I decided to start SOTA Clothing full time.

Sota Clothing is continuously expanding and growing. My design ideas start with something common, but that’s just the start. I have an online store that does all the shipping so I am able to continue traveling and keep the company going. I don’t like the idea of putting a job before everything else. I wanted flexibility in what I do and with Sota I am able to have that. I do need to make sacrifices still, like drive a car I had in high school, but with all the sacrifices I’ve made, it’s worth it.

ClartebyAmanda:
What is the most unexpected experience you’ve had that came from starting Sota Clothing?

Spencer Johnson:
There are a number of unexpected experiences I’ve had from starting Sota. One thing that stands out to me is the emails I get from other people because of the brand. There are kids in sports that email me about wanting to sponsor Sota clothing; people I haven’t met before. What Sota is putting out is what I believe in. It’s cool to see other people out there that believe in it too. Sota is a common bond for people that live here or have been here. When they see the brand, they recognize what it represents, and have something to talk about. I have spoken with AD FED and they gave me some good advice that I am the brand I represent. It’s important for me to build connections with people. I want to know others who have an interest in what Sota is all about.
I want people to know that a brand can start from a school project.

ClartebyAmanda:
In today’s society, some young professionals are coming out of college and still unsure of what they want to do for a career. What advice would you give them?

Spencer Johnson:
If you really want to pursue something, you need to go above and beyond your comfort level to do it. It’s important to do things like networking, going to events, talking to people, or finding cool things others are doing and meet up for coffee to talk about it. A key when doing all of this is to be respectful of other people’s time. I started off doing my work at a coffee shops 8 hours a day; having 3 meetings a day. That got to be a lot so now I’ve learned to cut down some.

Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing


ClartebyAmanda:
It’s been said that many great creators have a mentor or mentors. Who inspires you the most in your life?

Spencer Johnson:
There is one piece of advice I really take with me that my cousin told me, “Don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t want to trade places with.” It’s hard when getting advice and trying to figure out who you want to listen to sometimes.

ClartebyAmanda:
What things do we have to look forward to next for Sota Clothing?

Spencer Johnson:
Initially, we started with t-shirts, pint glasses, coffee mugs, and the pennant. I would like to expand the brand into a creative lifestyle for decorating. All the press has made an impact for the brand, we’re going to continue doing that. Sota is in local stores, online, and continuously expanding.

Thank you Spencer for your inspiration and SOTAbrand (click link to visit Sota Clothing Website)
-from Clarte

Photo: Spencer Johnson
Photo: Sota Clothing

Photo: Sota Clothing







4 comments:

  1. Good interview. Nice idea Spencer came up with. Good work

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  2. Wow!! Where do I begin?! I'm going to start off by saying this is absolutely BRILLIANT!! Being a Minnesota native, I have a deep love and respect for where I grew up and it has molded me into the person I am today. Spencer and I share a common interest, we both love to travel. In a matter of 4 months I have lived in OK, PA, and CA..all very different but the people I met all had very similar responses when they found out where I was from. They would say things such as, "Minnesotans are SO nice!" or "I know so and so from Minnesota, they are good people" and they would always have a smile on their face and comment on my MinneSOOOTTA accent. I knew exactly what they were referring to so I would get them rolling when I would say, "Oh yaw don't cha-know?" or "Oh, yaw sure ya betcha!" I once thought about trying to lose the profound accent because to everyone I met I sounded like a hillbilly but then I realized this is a unique part of who I am and why would I want to change that and blend in with the others? I've learned being away from MN, my roots and foundation follow me everywhere I go and people give me their outmost respect in return. Sota Clothing is definitely attire I would purchase and I would be interested to see what kind of people I would attract and their responses.
    I really admire people who dare to be different and do what works for them, not what others want or say. We are our own individual which makes each of us so unique and everyone has their own choice of who they want to become and design their own future...no one else has the right to do this for us. I think we need more "Spencer's" in the world, to show there is a way to follow your passion (such as travel) and have it backed by doing something else you enjoy (Sota Clothing). This shows diligence and an unwillingness not to settle for a career you aren't passionate about and there is ALWAYS a way to achieve your goals in happiness if you're willing to be open to new discoveries and change. I appreciate people who think outside of the box and are courageous to find a way to enjoy life and live it to it's fullest potential. Everyone was created with special gifts to share and it's up to us to discover those gifts and give them to the world. In return, the world will be a better place, simply because people would be giving their best.
    Lastly, I want to congratulate both Mandy and Spencer. This is an incredible interview and digs deeper behind the scenes of Sota Clothing and brings insight to life in general. Mandy, you are an amazing blogger and storyteller. Spencer, thank you for shining a light on how to enjoy each day on earth and your bravery to discover a way to live out your dreams. Thank you both for this awe-inspiring post, I sure hope it goes viral so people can see the endless possibilities. My biggest hope people take from this is: the only person preventing you from doing something is yourself. The only boundaries and limits we have are simply the ones we make for ourselves...biggest obstacles being, FEAR and CHANGE. Once you're ready to tackle fear and change you will find beauty waiting on the other side.

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  3. Stories about people following their dreams are my favorite stories! Congrats Spencer on following your passion and creating something amazing! This is a living testament that if you don't give up, anything is possible!

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