Arizona. The 6th most populated city in the US with a rich labor pool,
competitive labor costs and aggressive tax credits & incentives. And
before you start thinking tumble weeds and cacti, get a glimpse of
Frankie’s brand. The founder of AZ Life Apparel, a clothing brand that
offers a glimpse of the Arizona life with a street wear touch. The
vibrant design selection celebrates the culture of the Copper state
featuring palm trees, cacti, and the Arizona flag. Elements that
transmit the warmth, and active outdoorsy nature of Arizona. Since I
last spoke to Frankie, AZ Life Apparel has partnered with
shops like Sibleys West, Roosterbus and will now be at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, all within the first year of the brand launch!
Arizona is one of the fastest growing states with a growing culture, my motive is to capture the culture and create a brand that native Arizonans are proud of.
Where does your entrepreneurial drive stem from?
“I heard people say that they are a product of their environment and
for some that means having a role model or a mentor in their life that
they are able to use as an example. For myself I did not have that
growing up, my father was not in my life and left at an early age.
Growing up I knew one thing, I did not want to be like him and that is
what drives myself to be a successful person. I started working at a
young age and quickly moved up into leadership roles at different jobs
I held. I was propelled into fashion when I started working at a shoe
store where I fell in love with the sneaker and streetwear culture.
Following brands like The Hundreds and Crooks and Castles I had this
fire inside to create designs and possibly have my own brand one day.
Now I’m at the time where I’ve made my dream a reality and with my
business being new, I’m driven by the support from my family and
internal drive to prove to myself that I can do it.”
What were some of your biggest challenges when launching your brand?
“Prioritizing was the most important and impactful thing to do first as
well as where to allocate your initial investment. I spent almost a
year working on different designs as well as figuring out what type of
apparel I wanted to use. All of this takes time and consistency, which
is difficult when you want to get your brand launched as soon as
What do you think other minority business owners could be more of or
“Utilizing social media to it’s full potential to tell their story and
dive into their community. We are at a time where we want to support
the underdog and the non-corporate businesses. Another big opportunity
is for us is to connect as minority business owners and utilize our
resources to grow.”
With the emergence of big online retailers, apparel companies with a
traditional brick and mortar business model have found innovative ways
to take advantage of their showrooms and personal contact with the
consumer by hosting customer experiences that are sure to make an
impression. The concept of costumer contact with the brand is clear
for AZ Life Apparel. The clothing line often has pop-ups at the
monthly First Friday art walks in downtown Phoenix and partnering with
locations that celebrate the high vibration of the state.
“Big online retailers are focused on quantity, where my focus is on
quality as well as being personable. I also love the ability to
interact directly with my consumers as this gives me the opportunity
to tell my story and offer a product that is made and designed by
What is next for AZ Life Apparel?
“Our goal is to contribute to our community and give back as much
as we can. We are working on releasing our season 2 designs and widening our collection to offer multiple options for both men and women.”
AZ Life Apparel is approaching one year since launching and it has already began to expand at a global scale, exporting to Australia, Canada and Mexico and this is no surprise as minority businesses are twice as likely to export compared to non-minority businesses and have operations abroad. Their cultural ties puts them at an advantage, easing their ability to find importing partners in their home countries. These liaisons, their language skills and agility, catapult them to dominate global market and AZ Life Apparel is well on its way.
Immerse yourself in the Arizona culture and check out the designs at https://www.azlifeapparel.com/
Welcome to the desert.