10 Q’s With CAVATA: Creating A Voice Abouts The Arts

One great thing about being an independent business owner is that you can always choose who you work with. Who better to work with then family? Ok. So that may be a statement certainly up for debate. CAVATA, however, is a family-owned and run business, and thrives because of it. That is why we are featuring CAVATA in this week’s “10 Q’s With…”; our question and answer series that’s aimed at offering insight to our readers who are interested in the ‘Adventure’ of becoming: The Boss. As you read, you will come to see that CAVATA’s passion and vision make them a good fit here at www.bossstart.com.

Q. Tell our readers about your business, your passion, and what it is that you do? What’s your story? And what sets you apart from other businesses in your particular market?

“CAVATA is a music and art-inspired apparel line from Boston, MA.  CAVATA, which stands for “Creating A Voice About The Arts,” is a culmination of all my passions; music, art, fashion and communications.  As a musician and a member of a touring band for years, I saw how tee shirt brands and clothing lines sponsored artists but I wanted to do more than have musicians simply wear my products; I wanted to create a line of tees and accessories that not only promoted artists of all genres but supported programs that inspire young people to create.  Unlike other apparel brands who say they support the arts, we use our blog to feature local artist projects and we donate 10% of every purchase to public schools to support arts education programs.”

Q. What inspired you take the steps to becoming your own boss? Is this your first/only business?

“As a kid I was always setting up shop in front of my house selling lemonade, ice cream and even hand-drawn pictures but my first “real” business came to life when I was 22; I made a batch of hand-dipped chocolate-covered pretzels for a family party and was inspired to start Dips N’ Drizzles.  I had a pantry full of food coloring and toppings to make any custom treat and had customers from all over the South Shore of Massachusetts.  When I started graduate school I, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to dedicate to the business.  In hindsight, as much as I enjoyed being my own boss and putting special touches on my products, it didn’t fulfill my passions in the same way as CAVATA.  Combining my love of music, art and fashion and being able to help a good cause through my brand is an amazing feeling.”

Q. How much planning was involved prior to the start-up of your business? Can you offer some insight into that process?

“Planning is such a key element to any successful business; I did months and months of research on the screen printing process, how I wanted to position my brand in the indie tee market and made sure I had a viable business model before I spent one penny.  Especially in the saturated indie apparel market, anybody who has a few thousand dollars can start a “line” but usually these companies fade away quickly because their owners act impulsively and don’t always think long-term.  Although planning will definitely help avoid making mistakes the truth is that issues will always come up. Every business should have a plan concerning how to deal with the unexpected because it WILL happen.”

Q. In terms of running your business, what does a typical day look like for you; or is every day different?

“There’s always the day-to-day tasks of answering emails, shipping orders and paying the bills but my favorite part of running my own business is the ability to decide what each day will look like.  I like wearing a CAVATA tee and hoodie as my ‘work clothes’, I like sitting outside on a sunny day and working from my laptop, I like scheduling meetings outside of a typical office environment and, most importantly, I like being in control of the CAVATA brand and what it stands for.  Pete, my cousin and co-owner of CAVATA, and I also sponsor events and set up vendor booths at a variety of shows throughout the year which require a lot of prep work so we don’t necessarily adhere to a 9-5 schedule.  You can often find us packing up our gear and tagging merchandise or answering emails at 2:00am (kind of like this interview I’m finishing at 3:00am) but I love having this freedom.  You could say we’re always ‘on the clock’ but when you have so much invested in your brand and you love what you do it doesn’t seem like work in the first place.”

Q. How many employees do you have and what went into hiring on more to your team?

“CAVATA is a family-owned and operated company.  I started the brand in 2008 and as it grew I knew I couldn’t expand the business on my own.  In 2009 my cousin, Peter, joined the company which allowed me to focus more on our marketing communications while he handled more of our graphic design in-house.”

Q. What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial adventure?

“The most challenging part of my entrepreneurial adventure has been taking on all of the risk and responsibility on my own.  When you’re the ‘boss’ there’s nobody to blame when things go wrong but yourself.  It’s challenging but absolutely worth it, though.  Sure, I’ve made mistakes, lost money and worked with people who cared more about money than the integrity of my brand, but I don’t regret a thing.  In fact, I’m happy these obstacles happened in CAVATA’s infancy because they allowed me to learn early on.”

Q. Besides the obvious of being your own boss, what is the most rewarding part about being an independent business owner?

“We donate 10% of every purchase to support music and art education programs and I love being able to help artists gain exposure through our arts and entertainment blog.  Everything we do is aimed at inspiring people to create and to spread awareness about the importance of an arts education.  Seeing pictures of a musician wearing our apparel on stage or receiving an email thanking us for featuring an event on our site it’s such an amazing feeling.  The CAVATA brand, I feel, connects with our customers and the artist community more than a typical clothing line because we all share a common passion.”

Q. How do you promote your business? Advertise? Endorse? Contests? Social networking?

“We have utilized social networking from the beginning.  When you have a limited mar/com budget sites like Facebook and Twitter are great tools to help your brand reach a larger audience.  We have customers from all over the world, from Taiwan to Finland, but I doubt we could have reached them as quickly as we did without social networking.  We also sponsor artists, like Nasty Nat and DJ Leah V, who wear our apparel when they perform, during photo shoots, in vlog updates, in music videos, etc.  Contests are a great way to get customers involved in the brand, especially when you promote them via viral channels/social networking.  For example, we run mini contests where the 100th person to RT (re-tweet) a particular message on Twitter receives a free tee and we held a competition to name one of our previous summer release tees.”

Q. What’s next? What are your long term and short term goals?

“In terms of short-term goals, we are planning on attending our first major trade show this year with the goal of expanding our wholesale accounts.  Long-term, we are planning our summer release which will include a variety of new tees, accessories, outerwear and collaborations.  Every day we’re discovering new artists, musicians and performers and one of our biggest goals is to constantly expand our blog to expose our readers to art they may not have otherwise discovered.”

 

 

 

Q. What advice do you have to those reading www.bossstart.com that you feel is valuable?

“Do what makes you happy.”

To learn more about CAVATA please visit:

Cavataclothing.com

Facebook.com/Cavataclothing

Twitter.com/Cavataclothing

About the Author: Daniel Ballard

Daniel is a Writer and Entrepreneur. He is Co-Founder/Main Author/Editor of BossStart and Co-Editor/Featured Author for BossStart's sister site, PauseStart, launching early 2012

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2 Comments + Add Comment

  • Great Story thanks. I enjoyed reading this and how they followed there dreams.

  • […] CAVATA on Boss Start […]

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