As originally published on MYSA.
It’s hard to get two people to agree on a single vision, which is why co-founder conflict is a main cause of startup failure. For Baja East, their East Coast v. West Coast backgrounds did not result in a West Side Story ending, but instead the creation of the rapidly growing clothing company committed to Loose Luxury.
Sitting down with founders John Targon and Scott Studenberg, MYSA got the inside story as to the brand’s successful partnership…
Can you tell us about how you two met and what was your inspiration for the brand?
Targon: We met 13 years ago at this really great abs class on Tuesday nights, it was at Equinox. We did abs and got a bite after with a group of guys and became quick friends.
The inspiration for Baja East was all about creating a new approach to everyday dressing which we call Loose Luxury, west coast laid back beach vibes meet NYC grit. We always have a bit of beach and a bit of a more graffiti or street vibe.
As co-founders, how do your skills complement each other?
Targon: It’s the best to know you have someone that can pick up on things when you can’t or when it’s an off day or when you need some support to take on a project from two different sides. So our skills complement each other because we approach things in different ways but for the same goal. It’s pretty fluid and we don’t overthink things.
Founding your own company can be very stressful and this oftentimes can lead to conflict. As co-founders, how do you work through business decisions when you disagree?
Targon: We laugh and move on. It’s important to have some points of conflict and discussion because that’s how we often get to the next best creative idea or breakthrough moment. But things can’t fester, we have to make, often, quick decisions because things are so fast paced so there isn’t room for a grudge or holding onto things. We are also living our dream, so being grateful and getting in a work out solves a lot.
What advice do you have for those interested in started their own company?
Targon: Ask a ton of questions to people who have started a company before. Listen to all the things they say did and didn’t work. The biggest thing is to most definitely take the advice around legal! But don’t be afraid to ask questions and for sure don’t be afraid to make mistakes on your own!
How do you know when you’ve found the right co-founder?
Studenberg: We are lucky to have each other as a team – we balance one another out if we are ever weak in a particular area and two people are stronger than one.
Before starting your line, Studenberg as Lanvin’s national sales director for North and South America, and Targon as Céline’s sales director for North America and Burberry’s director of wholesale for menswear and men’s accessories, you both traveled a lot, what places inspired you most and how has travel impacted your design?
Studenberg: As part of our jobs, we were always on the go. We’d experience new cultures on a regular basis – whether it be Los Angeles, Chicago or Paris – and always were intrigued by how people lived their lives and dressed for them.
Why did you want to do ambisex, or clothes that can be worn by both men and women?
Studenberg: We felt a void in the market for this idea of Loose Luxury – off-duty essentials that didn’t need to be bound by gender. While we also make pieces specifically targeted to women, our core is gender obsolescent.
What inspired your most recent collection?
Studenberg: Our Fall ’16 collection was this idea of our Baja Babes leaving a 3 day dance party at Berghain in Berlin and trekking to the jungle to chill out and catch some sun.
Want to see more behind-the-scenes from their Fall ‘16 collection? Click here.
To read the original article, click here.