Who are you and tell us about Mykes Lab.
Walk us through the process of creating your first product.
How do you acquire customers?
Do you have any general advice for other entrepreneurs?
What are your plans for the future?
Where can we learn more about Mykes Lab?
My name’s Myke and I’m the founder of Mykes Lab. While I’m currently studying Environmental Science at UEA, I’ve always had a passion for art and digital design. My desire for an artistic outlet eventually made me create Mykes Lab in July 2019.
Mykes Lab was initially made as a portfolio to showcase my hand-painted “1 of 1” clothing designs and was not intended to be a startup. The idea behind hand-painted clothing is that each piece is completely unique, and no one else in the world can have the same garment. As my project progressed and gained traction, I decided to open a shop with printed designs and occasional hand-painted 1/1 pieces. While I had no previous experience with business, it seems to be going great so far and I’m learning a lot every day.
Some of my first products were simple pieces hand-painted on vintage clothes found in charity shops. However, the first product that I manufactured was the Dissociation Tee.
The process was quite simple – I had drawn the design on paper and when I created a digital version, I was confident that it would look good on a tee. I then did some research on blank tees and local print shops in Norwich. I think it’s important to stay local when it comes to manufacturing/printing tees as that way you can both support local businesses and reduce the carbon footprint. It is also easier to negotiate and come to a deal in person.
Anyway, shortly after the initial arrangement the manufacturer provided me a sample and then we agreed to print the remaining 34 tees. It was a great experience having done a project like this front to finish, and even more satisfying having sold out all the tees within a week of releasing.
Key to acquiring customers is always going to be high quality, different, and interesting content. This is especially true for clothing startups, as the market is huge and competitive. Since Mykes Lab is a deeply personal project, I’m very passionate about the things I create for it. In fact, I’ve created all aspects of it such as website design, clothing and graphic design, product photography, and even modelling. I don’t prioritise the business aspect of it, I don’t force the advertising and I mainly focus on artistic direction of the project. Customers will always be able tell between the work that is forced (too much advertising can be annoying) and the work that is genuine and created with a passion.
Secondly, social media presence is essential. I do not invest in ads at all, and most of my customers come from Instagram. I’ve noticed that each time I post an interesting hand-painted piece that I made, the traffic in my website increases. Instagram also has some important features for growth, such as hashtags, which can be utilised well. Therefore, it’s important to be consistent with your content and to also identify what your followers like.
Understand that the start will usually be slow but you have to trust the process. There’s always ups and downs when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Make sure to create a vision of the future of your brand and always plan your next move. Also, engage with your followers and customers and have a strong social media presence – create a community!
While my university degree is currently my priority, Mykes Lab is more of a side thing. Although I’m very happy with the progress I’ve managed to achieve in just a few months while keeping it a side thing. I’ve currently released four batches of printed tee designs, most of which have sold out. The most popular among them has been the Dissociation tee. I’ve also sold multiple hand-painted garments for the customers who value more novel pieces.
Currently, I am making a move towards more sustainable production. I’ve researched the blanks that I want to use next, which are 100% organic cotton. As an Environmental Science student, I believe that caring about the environment and ethics behind clothing manufacturing is very important. My Eclectic Picks collection also focuses on sustainability by re-inventing vintage garments.
I release my tees in very limited availability to make sure that my clothing stays exclusive. I’m a person that values novelty, and I believe my customers do as well. Also, I’m currently working on new designs that will be released early 2020. Very excited for those!
My website where you can find all my pieces currently for sale is
I’m also on facebook and Instagram, where you can find the evolution of my art and the pieces I’ve made in the past.
Alternatively, feel free to email me at [email protected]
I’m open for ideas, collaborations and commissions!