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Ocean Ronquillo-Morgan is a three times founder and serial entrepreneur from Los Angeles, California. Currently 23, she is a college senior at the University of Southern California.
Despite being a college senior and her age, Ocean wields power via multiple income streams. Today, she shares the story of one of her brands as a motivation for fellow Gen-Z’s and other innovative entrepreneurs.
How Did Geistwear Come to Be?
“My co-founder, Clarence Diogo, and I were tired of the cookie-cutter college apparel options at USC.”
One of her earliest memories of the origin of Geistwear was the feeling of frustration at limited options for college clothing items.
She shared that she remembered paying $60 for a gray sweatshirt with a plain red logo at the bookstore. They were paying a premium for merchandise that did not do a great job of portraying their identity. Even the school’s primary colors did not do justice to her co-founder’s skin tone.
Geistwear was born over the summer after a facetime to share their frustrations. Together with her co-founder, Ocean began creating a game-day collection that displayed their love for pop culture.
The brand name Geistwear was fitting for their designs’ personality as it translates literally to “spirit wear.” Geist is the German word for “spirit.”
Their Promotional Strategy for Geistwear
Ocean mentioned that their initial focus was solely on USC. After they made their first inventory bulk order in July 2018 from their internship savings, getting word out was the next issue. Ocean shared that their promotional strategy involved:
- Following as many sorority and fraternity students as they could find on Instagram.
- Liking each of their Instagram posts for a few hours each day to build a social media presence before launching the products.
- By the time they were returning to campus, people were reaching out to them for photoshoots.
- Some students were posting them also in exchange for free merchandise.
Eventually, they started getting preorders and selling from their dorm rooms. Then they were offering free on-campus delivery.
How They Grew Geistwear Since Then
They were selling at pop-ups, sororities, and on the streets before football games before the pandemic hit. At some point, they earned a whopping $1,000 in revenue in three-and-half hours.
Most of their growth resulted from hard work in the trenches studying customer behavior among their target audience. They also had a lot of organic growth on Instagram that serves as a massive source of revenue.
Eventually, they expanded to UCF, UW-Madison, and COFC and started running Facebook ads to reach their target audience in these schools. Today, they target consumer behavior and release core product lines and limited apparel depending on a cultural event or occasion.
Geistwear eventually outgrew their dorm to a warehouse that does most of the work. Now, they have branched out from just apparel to selling other merchandise because of a robust supply chain.
What Are Some of Their Ecommerce Sales Secrets?
One of their significant targets was consumer behavior and human psychology. They observed that most buyers of their merchandise were emotional buyers.
Most purchases were made due to relatable stories, fear of missing out (FOMO), and other emotions. They capitalized on these factors and released limited items that showcased a sense of urgency in purchasing the products.
Additionally, Ocean stated that they did not merely rely on consumer behavior for their brand growth. A significant part of their growth was investing in brand building and promotion via social media and emails.
What Sets Ocean Apart and How Does She Do it?
“Never asking for permission to do something, and being scrappy.”
Ocean remarks that she and her partner excel at being intuitive and creative. Being 100% bootstrapped meant that they had to make their way themselves and never ask for permission to do anything.
Entering a highly competitive industry without prior credentials required a delicate balance of artistic expression, business mindset, and intuition.
What Sets Geistwear Apart from Other College Merchandise Places?
Being a pair of co-founders that represented students from minority cultural groups, they wanted to avoid selling only a commodity. They wanted to release products that resonated with the entrepreneurial community and the people of color.
Their lack of an official license helped them create designs that expressed creative freedom. Their brand’s core value is from the German term “Zeitgeist,” which means the “spirit of the times.”
Their core value indicates their willingness to adapt to the changing times and trends with a fluid cultural landscape. They seek to portray what it means to be a student and grow into adulthood.
Their Dream and Where They See Themselves and Their Product in a Couple Years
“Being a household name would be cool. Engineering new trends and cultural movements would be brilliant.”
They are working hard to secure more sustainable, eco-friendly products. They understand the dichotomy between fast fashion and sustainability, so they are exploring new manufacturing methods that are safer for the planet.