Heritage, Grit, Family, Strength, Durability and Ruggedness describe Norman Russell Denim with subtle sentiments of refinement and sophistication.
Kortney Hastin is the Founder of Norman Russell and steward of these sensibilities.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
I’ve been in the apparel game for about 16 years now. You name the job in the apparel world and I’ve probably done it. The brand started with me designing jeans in my garage. There were brands of denim that I liked, but there was always something that didn’t fit right on me. Be it the inseam, the waste, or the thigh was too big, or the thigh was too small, etc… I decided to design my own!
When I first got started, I only wanted to do denim. Denim! Denim! Denim!, that’s all I wanted to do, that’s all I wanted to focus on. However, I didn’t just want to make one fit.
I wanted to somehow tie my friends into the brand as well. The brand name itself comes from my family. Well, my friends are an extension of my family. So I ended up with 3 different fits. All named after 3 of my best friends. The Cookie (Slim) named after my buddy Bryan Sullivan. Cookie was his nickname in college. I don’t know how he ended up with the nickname Cookie, but it stuck. Then there’s the Hammer (Straight) named after my buddy Tim Hammer. The name speaks for itself. Lastly, there’s the Fish (Bootcut) named after my buddy Nick Fishbaugh. Who’s obvious nickname is… Fish.
I originally wanted to do denim and only denim. That quickly morphed into a full line of woven’s, knit’s and leather jackets. Not the smartest route to go. Especially on my pocket book, but I went that route none the less. At the end of the day, the jeans were the only item retailers bought my first season. Lesson to be learned…always listen to your gut instinct!
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BRAND NAME?
The inspiration for the brand name is simple… It’s based on family. The brand name is named after my Grandfather, Father, and Brother. They each either share the first name “Norman” or the middle name “Russell.” Hence NORMAN RUSSELL [read more about the name]
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
The biggest hurdle to get started was just pulling the trigger! To make that first step out into the unknown is the hardest step to make.
There’s always some fear of failure. In the beginning I was very naive to the fear of failure. In the back of my mind, I always told myself to do what I had to do to make it work. After my first initial showing, I knew I would need more capital in order to make my first production delivery. So, I figured out a way to get that capital… I sold my house! My very first delivery, I was homeless, sleeping on a friends couch, and shipping goods out of a storage unit. I no longer had the garage where I first started the brand. I traded the house for the brand!
The fear of failure is necessary. Without it, you (or at least I) have nothing to keep pushing for.
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
The “Just Do It” moment for me to get started was the moment when I got let go from a previous employer. I took that moment as the definite sign to do my own thing!
DO YOU EVER FEEL LIKE GIVING UP?
..there are ALWAYS times when I want to give up! I question myself daily about it. What good would it do to give up though? I would have nothing to show for it if I gave up. A pat on the back? Good job, you did the best you could? NOPE! I’m going to keep fighting the good fight. I have goals that aren’t met yet. I’ll hang up my hat when those goals are met
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