August 2017: Eli and Spencer Zied, two teenage brothers living in New York, always dreamed of starting a lifestyle clothing brand. And when Eli returned home from a business-oriented summer program in August of 2017, he had a clear vision for a brand. Since everyone has habits, he decided to create a brand that offered great designs while promoting positive habits every single day of the year. Habits 365 was born, and both boys were determined to build the brand despite their skimpy teen-sized savings accounts. They thought about ways to properly allocate their limited resources to get the business off the ground and to help it grow, and considered what parts of the business it made sense to focus on first.
On the first night of their new business, Eli and Spencer texted friends and asked them to follow the newly minted Habits 365 Instagram account. With only 150 followers after that first day, they knew they had a long way to go and that they had to be precise and careful with their next moves. After having a local screen printer make two dozen shirts with an original logo, they decided to reach out to some famous athletes and offer them free swag. They knew that while the odds were against them, if one responded they might even pose for a picture wearing Habits 365 gear. As they spent the rest of the day direct messaging athletes, mostly NBA and NFL players, they could only dream where this small gesture would take them. Twenty-four shirts and 100 instagram DMs later, Eli and Spencer had a business model in mind.
November 2017: Several high profile athletes including Pro-Bowler Kam Chancellor, NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer and NY Knicks fan-favorite Ron Baker, responded to the boys’ messages, saying they’d be happy to receive Habits 365 gear. Shortly, they sent pictures proudly wearing their new Habits 365 gear. As Habits 365 approached 10,000 Instagram followers, Eli and Spencer knew they had a brand they could build on. With the addition of hoodies, new T-shirts and hats, the building blocks of a true lifestyle brand were formed. While the boys found some more success contacting athletes directly, they then chose a potentially more direct route to athletes: trainers and agents. They subsequently messaged Stanley Remy, a Miami-based NBA trainer who works with several players on the Miami Heat and other NBA teams as well.
January 2018: A friendship between Remy and the boys quickly formed. After some time, Habits 365 and Remy created a collaboration T-shirt called Remy Workouts X Habits: Sacrifice, Passion, Commitment--three words that embodied both brands. Remy began to give some shirts away to some of his players. Little did Habits 365 know what could come of this just a few months later.
April 2018: TMZ Sports released video footage of Remy clients Dwyane Wade and his son Zaire dunking and playing basketball while wearing the Remy Workouts X Habits 365 collaboration T-shirt! This was a huge step forward for Habits 365 and sparked huge interest in the brand. The video also appeared on Bleacher Report, The Score, and House of Highlights. Millions saw the name “Habits 365” without realizing it. Approaching 30,000 followers on Instagram, Habits 365 was definitely gaining momentum. This led Eli and Spencer to apply for a Habits 365 trademark, set up a bank account, learn how to use Quickbooks accounting software, and prepare for the road ahead.
July 2018: Believing that the music industry offered another great path for finding influencers to promote the brand, Eli reached out to one of the managers of New York rapper Jay Critch to introduce him to the brand. Eli subsequently met up and distributed Habits 365 gear to Jay Critch and his team as they played basketball and listened to music in a Brooklyn park. That was just the beginning of a strong relationship between the brand and the talented Critch and his team.
October 2018: With about 40,000 followers and lots of interest from friends and family, Habits 365 took another step forward. A handful of individuals who showed interest in the brand approached the brothers with the desire to become Brand Ambassadors. Spencer immediately saw that the company could develop mutually beneficial relationships with Brand Ambassadors where they could earn commission selling Habits 365 apparel while promoting the brand on Instagram. Most importantly, this idea would allow the company to grow without a big investment of capital or up-front expense. By the end of the month, the Habits 365 Brand Ambassador program had begun with a crew of 25. Brand Ambassadors received discount codes to give to their friends, as well as the inside scoop on new products and campaigns. Some were even given the opportunity to help Habits 365 with product design as well.
March 2019: With 60,000 followers on Instagram and a small army of Brand Ambassadors, Habits 365 was becoming more innovative with their organic marketing approaches. Brand Ambassadors gave out Habits 365 wristbands and did whatever they could to promote the brand. Like the company, many of the Brand Ambassadors were based in New York City, though several attended colleges and lived in towns all across the country. Having Brand Ambassadors in Michigan, North Carolina, and other states has allowed Habits 365 to organically--and affordably--expand its reach.
June 2019: Approaching 70,000 followers on Instagram, Habits 365 continued to look for innovative ways to expand its platform. Eli and Spencer unveiled the brand’s YouTube and Twitter accounts to invite even more people to follow the brand. They were also able to reach more influencers including rapper A Boogie, further extending awareness of the brand to the hip-hop world.
August 2019: As the two year mark for Habits 365 approaches, Eli and Spencer know that they--and the brand--have come a long way. But while the brand has grown, there’s so much more in store. Together, they will continue to innovate and connect with consumers and influencers and to nourish their budding brand to make Habits 365 a household name.