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StartItUp Conference 2016: Derrick Case

(8-bit animated flame on screen)

So our next speakers, I'm super excited to hear from. They are actually on Inc. 5000's top fastest growing companies, which I think is crazy. But you know, our path in life can change in just a moment, and for these two entrepreneurs, that moment happened at a shopping mall. They realized as they were walking around that all of these stores were essentially the same, and nine days after that trip, they signed a lease to open up what would become known as DressUp Boutique. So without giving away too much, I'll bring up our two very special guests, Derrik and Danielle Case.

Thank you, thank you. Can you hear me okay? Yeah? Good. Well this is my beautiful wife Danielle. She's not gonna speak today. She lets me do these sort of things, so everybody can say, "Hey, Danielle."

Bye, Danielle.

And "Bye, Danielle," she said. Thank you. Thank you for the wonderful introduction. Try to finish getting my stuff set up here. I'm extremely OCD, so I'm gonna do my best just to leave this right here and not fool with it for the next 20 minutes. At any rate, thank you. I'm so humbled and honored to be here in front of you guys today. I love, love, love things like this. I love getting to speak to crowds, whether it's a crowd of five, or whether it's a crowd of thousands. It doesn't really matter to me. I played a lot of sports growing up, so this is the closest that I can get to playing sports. I get to get on the stage, I get kind of a little pregame warm up over there to myself, and then I get to go on stage. So that's like the closest I can get. I know that sounds very weird. A lot of people hate that sort of thing, but I'm just wired different than most. So bear with me, I'll get excited here. I did graduate from North Georgia in 2008. My wife and I both went to North Georgia, and it's just really cool that eight years later, you fast forward and here we are, on such a great stage. And it's really, really cool, really humbling, and I just wanna thank everyone. Reuben, for helping us get here, and everybody else. I know that we've been in communication for months about it, so thank you guys for that. I don't know if any of my former college professors are here or not, but if you are, thank you. I do, there we've got one down here. So that is awesome, and I'm excited to be here. So at any rate, today, I've got a journey to take you guys on, and I believe it's pretty exciting. And if you don't get excited, then I don't really care, 'cause I'm excited about it. So at least I'll be excited up here on the stage, and hopefully you guys can get excited about it as well with me. But the story of DressUp is a very, very cool story, I guess you could say. It's something that sometimes is more exciting than people expect, and a lot of times, not as exciting as people expect. So before I get too deep into it, let me just show you what DressUp is. I do not expect everyone in this room to know what it is. We only sell women's clothing, so if you're a guy and do not know what we are and what we do, I'm not upset with you. I do not expect you to wear this pretty little pink and blue top over here, unless that's your thing. If it is, then that's cool too. But that's okay. That's kinda what our stores look like and what we do. What we do, is we get 70 new arrivals every single week. All of our apparel is women's, as I said. Everything's under $48. For the most part, it's more like in the $30 price range, so all of our dresses and that sort of thing are more like in the $30, $35 price range. We carry everything from dresses to tops and denim and everything in between. We currently have 14 operating store fronts in three different states. We're in South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. And we're opening three new stores over the next three months. A little bit more about me in a minute. I was about to dive into that. We also have 200 employees right now, and obviously by the end of the year we'll have more than that. So that is what we do. Our core competency is just that. We get in those first two things, are really a differentiator in DressUp, and the majority of all other apparel retailers virtually in the world, for that matter, nobody hardly gets in as much stuff as we do, and nobody does it as affordable as we do. So that's what we do, that's why we got started. So we haven't changed that, but I'll get back to that a little bit later, when I get to the actual story of how we got started. So you got to see my beautiful wife earlier. She's not always here with me, but I do got to give her a shout out. She is not only the most gorgeous thing that's in this room right now, she is my baby momma, she is my everything. She is my co-founder, and she means the world to me, so I'm glad she's here with me today. She didn't get to make it on my last trip. I got to speak in Savannah, and she didn't get to make it 'cause she was nine months pregnant with our latest and greatest. So we have two little boys, Hudson over here, who's three and a half, and I know he's the cutest boy in the world, and if you got a boy, I know you think the same thing, so that's okay. This is the newest addition, Houston. He just turned three months old, almost three months old. He's a week away from three months old. The Lord blessed me as well with the ability of having my first boy at least. He's all boy they say. What is half boy? I don't know. I've never understood that phrase. People always say, "He's all boy." And I'm like, yeah, I mean, do you want like half a boy? I don't really get that phrase, but he's all boy. He loves all things golf. He loves riding on my snowboard with me. He loves riding motorcycles and that sort of thing. So I'm very, very excited about that. This is the point in the message, if you will, where I say, if you don't pray, that's okay. But I work with 200 women on a daily basis. The Lord blessed me with two boys at home. Thank God. And we're done, we're stopping at two. We're not taking the chance. Twins run in my family. I know my luck. If we try again, we'll have two twin girls and I'll be screwed. So we have two boys. We're stopping, we're done. Don't try to pressure me, don't put anything in my water. I'm done. Very satisfied. But I do have 200 women I work with every single day. So if you don't pray, pray anyways. Add me to your prayer list, because I work with 200 women every day. If you have one woman at home, or if you are a woman, you know what I'm sayin'. I love girls. Obviously somehow I got chose to be in this role working with all females and I'm the only guy. So pray for me, even if you don't pray. So that is my introduction, that is my beautiful family. So I hope you enjoy. So today what I wanna talk to you guys about is not only the story of DressUp, but three key points that I believe can be imperative to the success of your life. So first I started off with this great title that said the three key points to success. And when I was preparing this I was like, "Well that's awesome." That's really cool, but there's like 77,000 books titled the ways to be successful, or this and that. And if you're in college, then you probably have a very, very overpriced textbook that tells you the way to be successful, so I was like, "Uh, no, let's just do something else." We don't like that title. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna call this the three ways to dominate at life. So that's a Derrik Case version of the three key points to success, and that's an emoji for those of you in the room that do not know what that is, and that's one of my favorite ones, 'cause he's kinda cool. So what I'm gonna talk about today is the three ways to dominate at life. Thank you for the break. Okay, so to start off telling our story, I believe that the DressUp story starts way before DressUp started. We started DressUp seven years ago. And I truly believe that the story started back when I was the age of, many of you, I know there's some high schoolers in this room. I know there's many college students in this room. That's when our story started. DressUp didn't start until I graduated college, but our story actually started way before then. I was a senior in high school. I got a job at a gym, ironically. I probably coulda used you guys back then, 'cause it was a mess. I mean it was a mess. I was 18 years old, got a job, made the best of it. Did the best I could do at my job, which is something I could talk about for half an hour, about making the best of every opportunity you have. But I did that, and I'm going through college, I get my personal trainer's license, I'm training, and I'm quasi-working full time at this gym, and along comes my sophomore year in college. And there were four partners on the gym that I was at and three of them were the money side of it. One of 'em, all he had was sweat equity, and so all he did was run the gym. Well one day he decided that he didn't want to do the gym anymore, and he left. Well of course, the other three guys found out in a matter of a day and a half and they didn't like that, so they came to me when I was at the ripe old age of 20 years old, and I was a sophomore in college, and said, "Hey Derrik, we got a proposition for you," and I said, "What's that?" And they said, "How about you take over his ownership "and you become partners on this gym and run it for us?" And I was like, "Sure." Didn't even think about it. I don't know why I didn't realize that I'm 20, these guys have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in this facility. For some reason, they're letting this 18 year old ding dong run this for them. But apparently I made some good impression on them. So I took it and I ran with it. And I believe that succeeding at work and succeeding at life are two in the same. And that's why I truly, truly wanna talk to you guys today about the three ways to dominate at life, because I believe that my domination, if you will. By no means dominated life yet, but I plan on it before I die. But I believe that it started right then, when I gave it every single thing that I had in the gym. So also while I'm in the gym, we continue on through college. I'm working completely full time. I work a minimum of 40 hours every week. I was in school full time in North Georgia as well. I did graduate in four years, somehow or another. I would go to the gym and open the gym at 5:00 AM and then go to class at 8:00 and then go back. And it was just the most chaotic thing I ever did. I got married when I was a junior in college. And for whatever reason, hurdles have never really been something that I considered. Like when people say, "Is that not a problem?" No, it's not a problem. Why is that a problem? We just do it anyways. So we come up to my senior year in college and I tell the guys at the gym, I said, "I love this gym thing, "but I don't wanna do this for the rest of my life." It's been great. I was an exercise science major for one semester in college, and then they showed me what classes I had to take, and I said I'm not doing that. I can't even read half of those science classes. I don't really like science anyways. So I changed my major to marketing and never looked back. And I literally got to this turning point where I said I don't wanna be here forever. Told the guys, put the gym up for sale. It sold in a matter of months, and then it comes to the end of 2007 and I'm four months away from graduating college. We sell the gym. Well I'm still a personal trainer at the time, so I'm okay. I can make some money. Well, a month later, we're out snow skiing, I tear my ACL. And I don't know how many of you know what personal training is, but it's really hard to carry people's weights for you when you're on crutches. Needless to say, I went from being the biggest and baddest that I felt like I had been in my life. I had just turned 21, I had just sold this business. I made, at the time, a ton of money to me. Turned around and tear up my knee, and not only can I not work, but every bit of money I had saved up, I had to put it back towards the very expensive insurance that I had to have to pay off my knee surgery. So that was awesome. So then I went from being here to here. I went from being this cool, successful business guy to literally, an unemployed dude on the couch. And thank God I had a sugar momma who made a lot more money than I did, and she took care of me for a couple months. But, I tell you all that story to tell you that not only did I take advantage of the gym opportunity, but it all led up to that knee surgery, and I never thought that me tearing my ACL could have been the best thing that ever happened to me. I tell you that because one day, I go to a doctor's appointment in Gainesville, I'm still in crutches, and as you see up here today, I don't necessarily, I may not wear what every other guy wears, but I do try to be somewhat, whatever's the latest trend. At the time, I don't know what was in style. Probably, who knows what it was. I got up that morning, had my knee brace on, and 90% of the college students that I know, on a daily basis, regardless of whether they're going to the doctor, or whether they got a knee brace on, or whether they're on crutches, they don't take theirselves too serious. That's never been me. If I get up in the morning, I iron my t-shirt. If I go to the gym, I don't look like a hot mess. You know why? Because I believe that the first key to dominating at life is to live every day as if it's a job interview for the rest of your life. I truly, truly believe that. Live every day as if it's a job interview for the rest of your life, because that happened to me that morning. I got up. I was two weeks after knee surgery, still on crutches, and I put on something that was very presentable, went to the doctor. After the doctor, we walk into Quizno's to eat lunch, which for those of you that don't know what that is anymore, they slowly went out of business unfortunately, but a great little sub shop. And I'm standing in line. I know I'm fixing to graduate college in the next two months, and I know that I don't have a job. I'm unemployed, I got my sugar momma with me. She had to buy my lunch. And so she's with me, and I'm standing in line. I see these guys behind me that are in suits that are really sharp looking, and I wanted to go into sales, because I knew that was the fastest path to success. I didn't want to go into something where I had to climb the ladder after 12 or 13 years. I wanted immediate success. I see these guys behind me, start talking to them. Talking about this and that, what do you do? Oh, I'm in sales. Oh, that's cool. Gave me his card. He said, "Hey, we're in a growing company. "We hire all the time. "Whenever you get ready to graduate, give me a call." Well for those of you that don't know and don't remember history, in 2008 was the peak of the recession. Everybody that I graduated with, getting a job wasn't even really an option. You just hoped to do something. Well I called the guy four weeks later. His name was Dean. Ironically, I didn't know at the time, but Dean was the number one sales rep in the entire state, and made this great impression on him, apparently. I called him and said, "Hey, Dean. "This is Derrik, I saw you at Quizno's a couple weeks ago." The very first thing he said, "Derrick, I remember you. "You were that sharp looking guy "I met that day in Quizno's." And that little phrase has stuck with me every single day of my life, 'cause had I not been that sharp looking guy he was referring to, had I had been some bum looking dude, had I got up and not taken myself serious like the majority of college and high school students do every single day of their life, he would have never probably even talked to me, much less gave me his business card and said, "Give me a call when you want a job." And if you think that that's not superficial, that's just taking yourself serious. I'm not saying you gotta have the latest and greatest. I'm saying live every day as if it's a job interview for the rest of your life, 'cause you never know who you're gonna meet. For me, it was at a line in Quizno's. For you, it could be getting in an elevator. I know I was looking at the website last night and all the unbelievable speakers that have come to these speaker series that the university puts on now. CEO of the Falcons and the Hawks. What if you walked into the elevator with one of those guys and you looked like most college students do every day of their life? Maybe you're a girl and you got on triple X t-shirts and shorts, so we can't tell if you have shorts on, and so the guy's probably a little uncomfortable, because he's like, "Is this girl naked?" Or maybe you're a dude and you're just like a bum and he sees you walk in, and he may be worth a gazillion dollars, and he slides over to the corner and is like, "That dude ain't took a bath in three days. "I ain't talking to him." Say what you want, say what you want, but it's reality. And my life changed that day in the line at Quizno's. You never know who you're gonna meet. Live every single day as if it's the job interview for the rest of your life. That is my first point. Every day is an interview. Alright. Back to DressUp. If I haven't stepped on your toes yet, I will before it's over. Don't worry, love everybody in this room, but my passion overrides my sensitivity, if you will. Okay. Alright, so take yourself serious. So we're back to the DressUp story. I got that job. It was a company called Icon. I got to be very fortunate to be in the sales industry which was the most competitive and most dog eat dog world in the world of selling copiers. I had no clue what that meant. I had no clue that there was copiers as big as this stage, and they cost a million dollars. I didn't realize all that. But that's what I did. I did it for two years. I was very good at it. And so I'm about a year into this job. As I said, my wife and I, we met in high school. I don't think I told y'all that. I was 16. I've never taken another girl on a date. I know it's sad. But I lucked up, I got a very good one. And so Danielle and I lived in Dahlonega. And if you've ever been to Dahlonega, you know that the closest mall is an hour away. Well that didn't stop her. Every weekend for the first 10 years of our life being together, we found ourselves at the mall, an hour away. So here we are. I'm sitting outside on a bench, like most guys. Sitting outside the benches that malls have slowly taken away for some reason, for poor guys. So I'm sitting out there on my Nokia, and I was playing Snake, and for those of you that are under 30, don't know what that is, but it was really cool game at the time, and I was out there dominating my Snake game. Danielle walks out and says, "You know what? "I'm sick of this." And I was like, I look around and I'm all, "What did I do?" I ain't haven't, I been setting here, being a good guy. I haven't done anything wrong. She goes, "I'm sick of it." And I'm like, "Sick of what?" And she goes, "I am sick of coming to "the mall every single weekend." I said, "I am too, thank you Jesus." Hallelujah. After I almost fell off the balcony, I was so excited. Her next line was, "We're gonna go back to "Dahlonega and start our own women's clothing store." And I went, "Are you kidding me?" That was not where I thought that was going. Thankfully, I stand here in front of you today as a very humbled man, and swallowed my pride and said, "You know what? "If nothing else, I can save time and money "by not driving down there to the stinking mall "every single week, and hopefully she can get her clothes "a little bit cheaper." And I'll never forget what she said to me that very day. She said, "I'm so sick of driving to the mall every week." Every month, it's always the same. The clothes never change. It's always overpriced. We get down here, I'm disappointed. Next thing you know, we're at Cheesecake Factory eating five pieces of cheesecake, 'cause we're so just drowning in our sorrows. And so I'll never forget that. And if you remember back to what our core competency was and why we started, there was a need in the market. There was a need that nobody else gave new styles every single week and did it affordably. Because fashion, for years has been, every season you get something new, every season, it changes. Well that's just super exciting, if you want to buy something every season. I know that I'm in a fashion world. I buy clothes nonstop. We are building a house right now. My closet is, at a minimum, has to be the same size as hers. I have a ton of clothes. Judge me if you want, but I don't really care. Again, I'm having a good time up here. I don't really care. But we have a lot of clothes, and it's very frustrating when it's always the same stuff, week in and week out. So that's where we got the idea from. I went back Monday. This was on a Saturday, of course. I went back Monday, talked to a friend of mine that I'd met at the gym back in the day, and I told him, I said, "We got this idea." Long story short, we wanna do it in Dahlonega, anywhere. He said, "I might have a place coming available for you." I said okay. Well, that Friday, he comes back to me, and says, "Hey Derrik, that space I was telling you about? "It's available. "Let me know if you guys want it." So that was five days, six days after that, I did, I said okay, I want to talk to Danielle. Dahlonega had an apparel show that next day in Atlanta. We went to the apparel show, we found some clothes that we liked. Alright, this is cool, we could do that. We thought about it on Saturday. Went through Sunday. Monday rolls around, I call up my buddy Chris, said, "Hey, Chris, we'll take that spot." I said, "What kinda lease you want?" He said, "A year lease." I said, "Oh, we can do that." Signed a year lease, eight days after the idea of DressUp. Signed our lease. Five weeks later, we opened our first store, which looked like... This was our first little logo. Isn't that just something? People always ask, where did DressUp com from? First of all, we don't use boutique anymore. We just hate that word. I could go into that for a long time, but we don't do that anymore. We're DressUp. As you see, our brand isn't like this anymore. It came from, my wife was a hair stylist, and so she's talking to all these people all the time, all these women, and she says, all these people were saying what's the name gonna be? What's the name gonna be? We don't know, we don't have, we haven't thought about that. We're thinking about everything else but the name. One lady, she is an unknown lady. I hope she doesn't pop up one day and want royalties from it, but she said, "What about DressUp?" And we were like, thinking okay, I mean, we like DressUp. That's great, get a sign made. Next day, we went with DressUp, that was it. There as no rhyme or reason to it. It was easy. That was it. People always say, "Oh, there's gotta be..." No great story, that's it. Nothing was great about the foundations of DressUp other than it happened really quickly. So that was our first logo. This was our first store. It was 800 square feet, which is about the size of this platform. I remember standing in the middle of the store and taking these pictures one day so that I would have 'em, and just kept going. So we opened our first store literally with zero fear. We always say we were young and dumb. We didn't know any better. But also, one of the biggest things that you've got to do if you want to do anything is overcome that fear. And I'm gonna get back to that here in a minute, but this is our first product from five weeks after the inception. It's just a beautiful little, tiny little store. That was cute. It was in the basement, and we succeeded. Everybody says, "Location, location, location." I do agree, because we've picked some bad locations, but also, if you hustle, if you've got enough grit like these guys said earlier, you can make it work anywhere. Alright, three ways to dominate life. We've already went over our first one. Our second one is overcome your fears. Overcome your fears. That's what I just referenced that we did originally. On top of those fears of originally opening the store, you come to a fear, and you come to a point in the road to where Danielle was always running her family's hair salon full time and for some reason, she always does this to me. She comes up with these ideas that typically cost a lot of money, and it's very difficult to do, and then she walks off and goes, "Here you go," and she gone. That's what happened. She said, "Here you go." So we opened this first store. While we were opening our first store, something that's very unique and cool, that makes so much more drama to the story. The truth is we were building a house at the time. We were literally living in her family's motor home and the basement of their house. The motor home is glamorous. It was really more like this little camper thing. It was the rainiest fall that Georgia had ever had. She got her car stuck twice, and we were literally building this home. We had this money saved up for our house that we were building. We literally took the cash out of the bank, that the bank thought that they were gonna get for a down payment. We didn't tell them, of course. Maxed out three credit cards and started our first store. Thank God that worked out. I do not recommend for that to be the process in which you do your business. I don't recommend that. It worked out for us. We're very fortunate. We could have had a house that was one of the first in foreclosures at the time, but we didn't, thankfully. So that's another little fun drama to our story there. But back to overcoming your fear. I love this quote here from Wayne Gretzky. If you don't know who Wayne Gretzky is, he's the best hockey player to ever play. I'm not a hockey fan necessarily, but I love this. "You will always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." "You will always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." There's nothing more true in life. If you don't give things a shot, you will literally never make it. I can't imagine where my life would be right now and what I would be doing right now had I not have taken the chance on the little idea that Danielle had, had I not taken that little inkling that was placed on us, and said, "I'm gonna do something with that." I don't care if it's girls' clothes. I don't care. Trust me, when I was the captain of the football team in high school, I did not write, "In 10 years, I will be "selling more dresses than any other guy in north Georgia." I didn't. It was a lot of cool things, and that wasn't one of them, trust me. But sometimes you gotta be humble, and sometimes you gotta say, "You know what, "I don't know what this is in front of me, "I don't know why it's there, but it's an opportunity "and I'm gonna take advantage of it." So that's what she and I did. Fast forward about a year later, after the store has been open. I've been working on my sales job for two years. I've moved up very quickly. I was the number two sales rep in the entire state out of over 200 people that I was competing with, if you will. I was on the quick path to success. And I told Danielle, I said, "This is getting so old." I'm tired of working two jobs. Every day, I get off of my first job, I get off at 5:00, and I would go in and work from 5:00 to 9:00 at night. Every Friday, we'd go to the store, be there all day Saturday. On Sunday, we'd be there. And that went on for a little over a year, and I said something's gotta change, and I said, I think I'm gonna quit my job. And she goes, okay that was our insurance, that was all these things, these 401Ks and all these things of the world. They are great, don't get me wrong. I have those again now, thank God. But those are all great things, and I come from a very humble family that thought that, first of all what we did was stupid. You don't take that kind of risk. Do you not know that 80% of businesses fail? We don't care. We overcame our fear. So we come to this turn in the road, where it says I'm either going to make change and close down this store, or I'm gonna quit my job. Well I called Danielle one day. We got a new boss. He sent an email I didn't like. I went in behind him and closed the door and said, "I quit," and he looked at me like I was crazy. I did, I called Danielle. I called her and told her what happened, and she goes, "Are you crazy?" And I said, "A little bit, but I quit, so it's done. "I've already put in my notice, so I'll "be coming home in couple hours." So don't be there, please be working, because we're back to broke again really quickly. So we had this store going, but my, I always say that my dreams superseded my fears. I think if your dreams and your desires and your passions supersede your fears, that's what happened to me that day. I knew what we could do with the opportunity that we had, and I knew we could do so much more with what we already had, and I went in that day and let my dreams supersede my fears. Four months later we opened our second store in Gainesville. There we are, little young bucks, and just tickled to death about our new store that we just thought was so big and massive, and we didn't have any other fans, so our family came and took a picture with us down there, which was sweet of them. That, and came back to another one. I'm just kidding. Fast forward to the next couple of years. So we started 2009, opened Gainesville a year and a half later, 2010. We opened our Suwanee store in 2011, Woodstock in 2011. And then we opened the Alpharetta store in 2012 to make us up to five stores at the end of 2012. Show you guys a few pictures. We upgraded our storefronts a little bit. We had saved a lot of money and decided we'd spend it all on this. We didn't spend it on ourselves. We put it into all these stores and did all these cool things, started hiring a bunch of people. We were super, super excited, and we were ready for some major growth. So fast forward to 2013, went from five stores to 10 stores. We opened two stores in Atlanta. We opened one in Norcross, one in Snellville, one in West Cobb. We went from five stores to 10 stores. Went from 40 employees to 100 employees. Went from an office staff of one to an office staff of 10. It was a completely and utterly crazy year, not to mention that same year we had our first child. We sold our first house. We put offering on another house and didn't get it, so we had to rent a house. Then we bought another house that same year and we moved three times. We moved two other stores, we upgraded our Dahlonega store, moved our Gainesville store, and we bought a building that year. So really, we built 10 stores that year. But again, we were just like yeah, it's just life. It's just what we do, it's just how we roll, sorry. These were some of the new stores. Again, these are some of our newer stores in West Cobb and that's Woodstock right there, and some of the other stores, the pictures you saw earlier. So again, we were upgrading, and thought that everything was going just completely awesome. So what did we do in 2014? That was our growth right there. See that little pink line that's faint there? We did nothing. We did absolutely nothing, and one would think on the outside looking in, we started getting this question all the time. When y'all gonna open another store? When y'all gonna open another store? You know, it'd be like you go meet somebody and they'd be saying, like, "Great job, dude. "I hear y'all are going. "When you gonna do another one?" It's never enough. That's what I've learned in life. It's never enough. Don't listen to other people. Second we got married, when y'all gonna have a kid? We're not gonna have a kid anytime soon, leave us alone. We have a kid. When you gonna have a second kid? Okay, had a second kid. You gonna have third kid? You gonna try for a girl? No, leave me alone. Don't listen to other people. People will drive you nuts. If you live your life following them, you will go crazy. But 2013, from an outsiders looking in, looked like straight perfection. Nothing but growth, nothing but excitement. Even existing stores that we had that we felt like were ugly, we redid them and made them even prettier. It looked like, from an outsiders looking in that it was complete and utter perfection, but I was so focused on growth, we were so focused on growth that we missed a ton of the necessary steps along the way that we should have taken. And that brings me to another point. Do not get so focused on your end goal that you miss the necessary steps along the journey. And I think that is so, so unbelievably important. Do not get so focused on your end goal that you miss the necessary steps along the journey. I cannot tell you how important that is. In that year when we doubled our size and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, we completely negated to build teams and systems that would support that growth. We completely negated to say, "Oh wow, "we're gonna have a hundred employees now." What does that mean? What does that mean from a governmental standpoint? What does that mean from all these different avenues that we didn't think about. So in 2013, we made more mistakes than we ever did before, which brings me to my third and final point. Three ways to dominate at life. Last but not least, you have to make mistakes. You have to. And don't be afraid to make mistakes. People ask me all the time, what was the biggest mistake, whenever I spoke with Ruben about this, he said, "Hey, we want you to talk about some mistakes you've made." That's what people always wanna hear is the mistakes, and that's good because people need to know your mistakes, and I believe, I tell our girls all the time that work for us, we are not the first person to sell women's clothing. Why reinvent the wheel? We used to spend days setting in meetings trying to think of, okay, how in the world, what is the most creative way that we can sell this? There's only so many stinking ways you can sell a dress. You hang it on a hanger, you put it on a model, pray it sells. Do some marketing and those sort of things. So don't reinvent the wheel. But I always say that our biggest mistake, when people say what was your biggest mistake, I say one thing. I say 2013. And people were like, I just saw that, that doesn't make any sense. How is that your biggest mistake? I say it wasn't our biggest mistake because we grew. It was because we didn't have necessary steps along the way. Again, I got so focused, had in my office, posted on the wall, it said push for 10. And I said, if it kills me this year, in 2013 we're gonna get to 10 stores. We did, we did, but along the way, I'm checking these off, and while I was literally checking them off on my office wall, more mistakes were made so concerned with checking those off. I didn't do the proper research on some of the locations. I didn't do, it didn't matter, because my end goal was here, and I didn't care what it took get there, I was just gonna go for it. And sometimes you gotta slow down, and take those little steps along the way, and sometimes if you do that, you'll be amazed at the things. We didn't have the necessary policies and procedures in place. We didn't have a point of sale system that could even, our point of sales system was designed for one or two locations, so when we got our fifth store, I said, "Let's go buy new." I went out and found one in typical fashion, in like 30 minutes worth of research, ordered it from a company called Big Hairy Dog. That should have been your first example, you ding dong. You don't order software from Big Hairy Dog. Spend $30,000 on this software system, write 'em a check for it, while money's just bleeding out the backside of our company, 'cause we didn't spend anything for years when we were saving, and saving, and saving. Spent $30,000 on it. Three weeks later, the whole system crashes. Not only that, they're out of California. What a disaster that is, when we need service, they're three hours behind, and they sure didn't have any dogs answering the phone at 3:00 AM for us. So that was a disaster. I had to go in and make the decision to pull the software out, pull it out after three weeks, after $30,000, which was a ton of money. Still is a ton of money but it was a ton of money back then. Well, I had to realize that I had to slow down and 2014 needed to be a flat line. It needed to be a line in which we went back and we built the necessary steps and procedures and policies that we needed. I also didn't think about something that still blows my mind I didn't think about this. In 2013, we grew from five stores to 10. If you aren't familiar with retail, the way retail works, you buy product and you sell it. That's what retail is, you're selling it to people. Well to buy product, you gotta have money to buy product, so we're spending just all this money on building all these stores, and I didn't think, oh my gosh, we're fixing to have 10 stores. We gotta buy for 10 stores, so if last month we spent $10,000, well this month we gotta spend $20,000 to buy clothes for stores. I didn't think about that. Oh, not to mention that Black Friday's coming up and we buy an entire month's worth of clothes for one day. Oh my gosh, I will never forget October of 2013, when we had just got the biggest and baddest American Express that exists. We thought we were big dogs, 'cause we had got that black American Express that everybody makes seem like it the... All that means is you spent a lot of money. It's not that exciting. But they sent it to us in the mail. It's like this pearly black card. Oh, that's so cool, right? I never thought I'd have one of those. I'm swiping it, swiping it, swiping it, swiping it, swiping it, swiping it, swiping. One day, they call and say, "Sir, you are denied." I said, "I thought this thing didn't have a limit on it." They said, "It doesn't to an extent. "Your charging has went up tenfold in the last 30 days." Yeah, of course, you don't understand. You don't know DressUp? You don't know what we're doing over here in Dahlonega, Georgia? No, we don't know who you are, you little peon. So, after American Express again took me from a very high to a very low, I realized really quickly, oh crap, we're screwed. We can't buy inventory. I'm on the phone pleading to them. Do you understand that if I cannot buy inventory, I cannot pay my bill, I cannot pay you, I cannot pay my landlords. They said, "We don't care, you owe us $500,000 today." And I said, "Oh crap." So we hang up the phone, I call my banker, and I said I don't know if this sounds completely crazy to you or not, but American Express just denied us. Can you believe that? I'm all but crying. Like, you know me, I'm a good guy. Why are they turning me down? And they said, "Well Derrik, that's how things work. "There's limits and things." And how about we talk about this. We can do this thing called a line of credit and we can give you some money, and as long as you pay it off... Long story short, over the course of the next 30 days, I've never been so stressed out in my life. I didn't have any wrinkles on my forehead at the time. Now I have about seven that all popped up in that month. And we finally get it all worked out. We tried to sell our newborn and nobody would buy him. He was still crying too much. And we get it all worked out, and I learned a very valuable lesson that I swore would never happen again, that I have got to prepare for future growth on the front end instead of waiting for the growth to hit. And that was so important, because again this year we doubled down, and we grew again, and that was one thing that I made sure to be ready for, is to realize that it's retail. For me to make a dollar, I first have to spend it. So for me to be able to spend it, I gotta have enough capitol to be able to do that. Those are things we didn't think about. In 2014, we rebuilt. We bought a office, a corporate office. That's a very old picture. It doesn't really look like that anymore, but bought a corporate office. We got a new point of sales system that we spent 18 months researching. Our sales guy literally wanted to kill us. He was like, "I've never been through such..." I said you don't know what happened to me last time, dude. It sucks for you. You signed up the wrong joker, dude. First of all, I used to be a salesman. I know all these tricks you're trying to do to me, and second of all, I just wasted 30 grand on something like this, and this time, it's gonna cost a lot more because it's bigger. Low and behold, after we signed on the dotted line the guy quit the next week, I kid you not. And of course he sold us a bunch of stuff he shouldn't have. That's another story. Bought a new point of sales system. We got new policies. We started our first distribution center. In October of 2013, our UPS bill alone, we were shipping to 10 stores from California, we were shipping at least 70 styles, that's about six or eight boxes per store from California, and those boxes each cost about $50 to ship because they're 60 pounds apiece. All of that math added up, so our UPS bill in October of 2013 alone was $30,000, and I said there's gotta be a better way. I mean, come on. There's got to be a better way. Well, we started putting that on a truck. You put all that on one semi truck and bring it to Gainesville, that costs $2,500. Oh that's, duh Derrick, where have you been? I wasn't thinking. I was so consumed with that end game that I forgot along the way there's better ways to do that. And if I would have just stopped and looked around, there isn't a retailer in the world that doesn't have a distribution center, but I was like DressUp, we're DressUp, we don't have to do that. We're cooler than that. That ain't cool, that's just stupid. So sometimes you gotta get out of your own way and do what makes sense, and realize unless you just invented Facebook or Google, then somebody else has probably done what you've done before. We promoted a ton of people in 2014, built a huge team of people that are still all intact, and that are still all there and helping us grow. We built ready to grow again, because I went insane in 2014. Not growing and being stagnant is like the opposite of what I stand for. I did take up golf that year because I had to find something to do or I was gonna go crazy. Just building a team wasn't enough. We had to grow so 2015 last year, we added four more stores. We added a store in Cumming, Athens. We moved our Norcorss store to the Forum, and we opened one in South Carolina. A huge lesson learned there. The slowest store that we had, we had to finally make a decision and say look. Is it making money? Yes, but not enough to make it worth it. And I had to bite my own, or I had to take in my own pride and swallow my own pride and say, you know what, there comes a point to where you gotta make a hard decision, and that hard decision was to close the store. I didn't think we'd ever have to do that. But we did, and we moved it to a new location and it has been a wonderful, wonderful decision on our behalf. We wanted to go to that at the Forum. We wanted to go there, actually, back in 2013, but they wouldn't let us, 'cause we were just little peons and they made us mad, so we were like meh, meh, meh. Well we're there now, so at least that's good. Now we had 13 stores in 2013. 2016, you fast forward. We're adding two stores in Alabama and two in Nashville. Huntsville's already opened. Auburn, and our first Nashville store will be open in a couple of months. Be opening another store in Nashville later on this year. So that's all exciting. So by the end of 2016, we'll have 17 stores in four states. We'll have about 225 employees, and literally if you would have asked me eight years ago, is that what you would be doing, having hundreds of girls work for you and you and your wife being in charge of their livelihood, I would have said you're completely insane. Absolutely not. I can tell you a hundred things I'm gonna do, but it's not that. So it brings me back to my three points to dominate at life, or to be successful, whatever you wanna call it. But again to me, to first be successful as a business person or to be successful at anything, you have to first be successful at life. I train our girls all the time on this. All the time, that every single thing that I teach them, I say first of all I'm learning with you, but also I can tell you that if your life isn't successful, everything else isn't going to be, and if your life isn't successful, maybe some other stuff is, but eventually, it's gonna crumble too. And to me, everything in life is about applying every single thing that you've learned, whether it's morals and values that you have, or whether it's something that you learned in school, or whatever that is, but I cannot encourage you enough to not let number two, right? Do not let number two interfere with number three. Don't let number two, don't let overcoming your fears make you so fearful that you never make a mistake. Don't let number two be so important, or don't get so caught up in I'm so fearful, I'm so fearful that I don't wanna make a mistake. Because you have to make mistakes in order to learn. I had to make mistakes and get some wrinkles on my forehead so that I would never do that again, that I would never go back and never not have enough capital to buy inventory, to potentially literally financially ruin our entire company. I will never do that again, because I am overcoming, I overcome my fears, but also I was willing to make the mistakes. Can't encourage you guys enough to do that. These three points are truly my life story. I'm literally, I'm just a nobody. My wife and I both are from Dahlonega, Georgia. We love Dahlonega. But we're nobody, we're nothing. Our parents didn't give us anything. They didn't give us a dime. They gave us a camper to live in while we were building our house, and us ding dongs took our cash we had and went and started this clothing store. And I can't encourage you guys enough today that whatever you're doing, and whatever your goals are in life, whether it is to start a company, or whether it is to be ultra successful, and however you name that, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be financially successful. Whatever you deem successful, I promise you that these three things can help you, and they can help you a lot. That's what's got us where we're at. We're completely and utterly and humbly willing to do all three of these every single day. You never know, still to this day, who I meet on a daily basis that influence where I'm going and what I'm doing. I still take myself very serious every single day. I don't, I'm still a nobody, I'm still a little peon in the grand scheme of things. It doesn't mean anything to me. I have to take myself seriously, I have to overcome my fears, and I have to be willing to make mistakes every single day. And if you do that, trust me, you too can do literally anything that you wanna do. And I want to encourage you guys to do just that. And you said that we'd have time for questions. I don't know if we wanna do questions or not, so I left plenty of time on the board for that. So thank you guys so much. I do believe it is a very, very small number of people that walk in the doors that, if we do hire them, and I see those special and tangible, something that you can't train. You cannot train work ethic. You cannot train, we do not hire anybody and put 'em straight into management. I don't care, I don't care who your momma is or your daddy is, I don't care any of that stuff. None of that stuff matters to me. They have to work, we have a 30 day trial. I don't care where you are, you start a 30 day trial in our company, and you sign a paper saying that after 30 days, if you don't meet the expectations that we expect you to do, we're gonna fire you. And we tell 'em that on day one. And we fired some people. It's not very fun. But, I will tell you that the expectations that we set at the beginning helps guide that, and we set these expectations and say here's what we expect out of you, and this is what it takes to be successful. And until we started doing that, until after 2013, 2013, we had a complete disaster. 2014, five out of our ten managers quit, right? 50% of our staff. That was stressful, and I realized then it was because we didn't' set them up for success, because we didn't tell them what it meant to be successful. They didn't know what is successful to you. Do you want me to sell a bunch of stuff or do you want me... I didn't tell them, so we came up with this big old manual. When our managers start now, they get a full handbook. We didn't copy it off anybody, we wrote it completely, specific to our company and it says every single thing it takes to be successful, and where you can grow if you do so. And that's helped us a lot. It doesn't give us a crystal ball to find people. We still make mistakes all the time. But I do my best to try to let people teach me on the job that they're worthy of staying and that they're worthy of trusting, and sometimes you get burned. And we just have to again overcome that fear of saying, well, we're not gonna let that get in the way of our growth. So hopefully that helps a little bit. Sir?

[Man] A plus-sized woman needs a store like yours. Do you offer plus sizes, and is that a market that you would consider?

Golly, you're gonna put me up here and I'm gonna start sweating. Put me on the spot. He said plus-sized women need a store like ours. We agree, so here's the problem. So we are 100% only a reseller right now. So the industry that we're in, so whenever we get clothes, kind of another thing that we've always done is we only get a couple of every style. So let's say that we get this vest, say that we carried it in female. We only get two smalls, two mediums, two larges in every store, so we don't carry a lot. Our manufacturers work the same way. They don't, you can't re-buy that stuff. They make it once and they're done with it. And as it stands right now, there are literally only, we buy from hundreds of vendors, and there's only like two or three that are making plus sizes. We equally actually have an equal request for extra smalls as we do for extra large, and it's an equal. And all of our vendors, they're all, it's called fast fashion, meaning they want to get it in and out as fast as possible. We don't ever want to see it again. And we ask them all the time, can you do this, can you do that, and they're like, no we don't. Small, medium, large. So I think as we grow, we've been to some trade shows where you know, 'cause our goal will be in the next several years to start doing a little bit of our own manufacturing. That is something that we may be able to help bridge that gap, but right now, it's just the industry thing that we don't make our clothes, and that's literally small through large is all they make. So we get asked that all the time. We get hammered for it, and it's just we're defenseless, 'cause there's not really, it's kinda out of our control at this point, unfortunately. Anybody else?

[Woman] How did you start marketing your business? I know you guys have a really good social presence and the website's phenomenal. So how did you get started?

Yeah, so she asked how we market our business and how we got started. At the beginning, it was all social media and it was, you know, we're in a small town in Dahlonega. My wife and I grew up there, so we knew everybody. At the beginning, it was very easy, actually. We literally did a lot of old school guerrilla marketing which I still preach to my team all the time of taking coupons that cost pennies to make, instead of spending $50,000 on Google to do something, and we did a lot of old school stuff. We go to football games and hand out postcards and I think it goes back to one of the things these guys said earlier, that it's just the biggest passion of mine. We live in this shark tank in funding world. That is great and all, but it also drives me nuts that people feel like they see what our stores are like today and think that's where they have to start at immediately. We did our first store on hardly nothing, literally like $15,000 is what we had and what we started with, and we never had any debt. We still, to this day don't have any debt on our company. We still to this day, we never hired an outside marketing firm. We just got out there and grinded, just like these guys said to do earlier, and worked our tails off, and it has paid off so much. Now that we got on this Inc. 5,000 list, we got calls from several venture capitalists talking about investing in the company and all this sort of thing, and I took the calls just to entertain it, but honestly, it means so much to us to do it the good old fashioned way, and I believe that's how businesses are gonna survive in the future. Instead of taking in billions of dollars of debt from people that you eventually have to pay off, and that's just how we started our marketing. Back in the day, social media was super easy. It didn't cost. Like right now, I think we have, I don't know how many hundred thousand people on our Facebook page. Let's say that if you want just to post and say look at our new cute stuff, you literally have to pay. It literally would cost us $10,000 or $15,000 for one post to be seen by every person. Used to Facebook didn't do that. Everybody saw it. Now they've got such a control on it. It is getting a lot harder. Social media isn't just the do all, end all anymore like it used to be. Used to we could do anything we wanted to on social media. It didn't cost anything. So we're having to get more and more creative, but at the end of the day, nothing ever supersedes the good old fashioned way of taking care of your customers, and word of mouth. We've been doing studies for seven years. Every single time, over 90% of the people that come to our store for the first time said their friend told them, or so and so told them. We spent tens of thousands of dollars on billboards and Google and Facebook. And all that stuff's important and you have to do it, but nothing beats giving somebody a good experience and them going and telling somebody else. So we do a lot of referral programs. We try to do, like setting up stuff like if you... We'll have competitions to where you tell your buddy about this, and they'll get X percent off on whatever because there's nothing better than good old fashioned referrals. Sir?

[Man] So you started business right after you got your Bachelor's. What is your take on entrepreneurs getting a Master's or an MBA? Do you think it's something necessary, or what's your opinion?

So he asked, I started right after my Bachelor's and asked if I believed in getting a Master's or things like that. Absolutely. I always say I am the biggest Georgia fan in the world. I was there on Saturday, drowning my sorrows with anybody else that was there. But I've always said that I wanna go back to UGA and get my MBA, and I just can't ever quite justify it. But absolutely. I mean, education is awesome and it's great. It's not for everybody. I think that's a big issue that we have in our society right now, is that I blame it on my parent's generation. And I truly, truly do. I've battled with so many girls that are going to school to be one of the four things that our parent's generation has deemed successful, which are very stable jobs and that sort of thing. And said you gotta go to school for that. Gotta go to school for that. And that is what our generation believes, that you have to go to school to do one of these, whether it's education or healthcare, or whatever. That's what you gotta do, because it's stable and you get a job. And I don't believe in education from that standpoint. If it's not something that you love and that you're passionate about, I think you're wasting your time. I think you're somebody that's gonna be one of the gazillion statistics that has a ton of money in student debt, and you'll never pay it off. But if you're super passionate about it then that's a different thing. Again, I would love to go back and get my... 'Cause again, they probably would have taught me a lot of this stuff that I have made these mistakes on, and I learned them the hard way with real money instead of fake money. So I wish that I would have had the time to have done that, but again, we acted so fast, I never had time to think about it, and the reality is I'll never go back and do it. I'll keep acting like I will, but I'm not gonna set down and go back to school right now. I mean, I've got way too much going on. But I think it's great. I mean, I'm sure they teach you a lot of stuff that I could have learned. I know my advertising teacher is here from school, and I still remember her class and the stuff that she would teach us that was real life application, instead of just out of a book, and those are the things that you just, that are awesome. That's why I hope that, if nothing else, somebody got a little something out of what I learned today, because, to be honest, it sucks to learn the hard way, but sometimes you have to. Oh, were you first? Oop, ladies first, sorry. Okay.

[Woman] Do you plan on expanding out west, like towards California, even up to New York, and if so, I know you mentioned fast fashion. What changes, like Zara is a totally different company, but they just launched a sustainable line because they've been hammered for being involved in the fast fashion industry. If you do expand out west or to New York, do you see that changing your core competency?

I don't think so. I think, so she asked if we would expand out west and far up north. And if we did, would we change what we do. I get asked every day of my life, every single day, again listening to people. I have a very big passion in not listening what other people say unless it's like value added. But a lot of people just fill your mind full of junk. And people ask me every day, when y'all gonna do a guy store, when y'all gonna do a kid's store, when y'all gonna do this, when y'all gonna... I mean everybody expects us to fix the world. To answer your question, I believe that's the whole purpose of a core competency is that's what got you there. You ride the horse that got you there. That's a saying for a reason. Older I get, the more I realize all these sayings that mom and dad say really make a lot of sense. Stay with the girl that you took to the dance. Don't go with another girl. Wonder why? 'Cause you're gonna get your butt beat. But that goes along the same lines of that of to quickly answer, I don't think so. I don't think. Will we go out west, will we go up north? I don't really know. There's so much opportunity in the south at the end of the day, we're a southern brand. If you can't tell from listening to me, I'm very Southern myself. There's so much opportunity. Our growth predictions, by 2025, we'd have over 60 stores and 750 employees, just doing five stores a year. That only takes us as far west as Louisiana. Obviously south, we only have Florida. And then, just a handful of just in this area, and then you still get to keep doing what you're doing instead of having to reinvent the wheel. I think that if we ever wanted to do something like that that we would create a whole new brand and it would be something more like how you got a Gap and a Banana Republic that do total different. I think that when you build this huge brand based off of what you've always stood for then you go and change it, then the people are confused. And people asked us that all the time. When we went to Atlanta, are you going to raise your prices? No, we're just gonna sell more stuff. How you gonna do that? We're just gonna sell more stuff, and that's what we do. We're more on volume based as opposed to bigger margins and that sort of thing. So will we ever get that far? Maybe. If we do, it's gonna be a long time. I believe in building a company that has a structure, that has support, that has growing regionally so that there are people to support them all over the place instead of just throwing somebody out in California and it's a girl out there running a store by herself and nobody from Gainesville, Georgia can ever go support her. That's a lot of the mistakes we've made is not giving enough people support and I've been burned by it. So I don't think so, but if we have to, will adapt with the times for sure. So I hope that answers your question. I love Zara, by the way. That guy's like the fifth richest person in the world now, I think. It's crazy. Oh, my man back here had a question.

[Man] I'm actually getting ready to start a clothing line and I'm trying to build a team. But I'm also interested, how did you go about finding locations?

[Derrick] What was the first part? I heard you saying build a team, what was the first?

[Man] When you first started your brand DressUp did you all build a team, or was it just you to start?

Oh, I got you. No well like I said, she and I both kept our full time jobs. So he asked about if we build a team or if we did it by ourselves at first. We had to have people, like literally hourly people to run the store for us, because I still worked full time during the day, as did she. So I mean, but everything else we did do on our own. Like we didn't hire outside firms and that sort of thing. We interviewed all the people. We started off with her sisters working for us and a couple other people that we knew, and paid them whatever we could afford to pay 'em, and just kinda started it small. Can't encourage you enough, regardless of what you're doing, if you're starting, start small. There is no need to start huge, there's just not. Save your money. When we did all that growth in 2013, we took in zero dollars in debt. I can't tell you how imperative that has been to our company, that we had hundreds of thousands of dollars saved, 'cause we didn't spend it on ourselves. We didn't do like a lot of business owners and go out and buy the latest and greatest of everything. We saved, and that has put us in the position that we're in now, to be able to grow, many times at a time when other companies couldn't. So stay as small as possible. Ms. Keeley?

[Woman] I wanted to know where you get your business inspiration from, what kind of podcasts you listen to, what kind of books you're reading, and like what you do for like self development?

Okay, so she asked about how I get inspired and if I listen to things. I'm such a terrible answer to things like this, because I really don't. I really hate reading. I bought a couple books, and people buy them for me, and I never, my attention span's too short. Like I can't set down and watch a movie on a regular night. I can, like once a week maybe, but I have to watch like 20 minute TV shows. So I'm more of like a magazine kinda guy. Like when we travel a lot, I'll like read the Entrepreneur magazine and it gets me all jacked up. Like two or three pages, I'm good to go. You get me into page 10 of a 200 page book, I'm done, and half the time, and I know this is gonna sound bad, but half the time I read it, I'm like, well duh. Like I read like 10 keys to leadership and I'm like, well duh, you gotta be nice to people, well duh. I'm like that was a waste of my time. So I am obviously spiritual, so I do draw a lot of my motivation from that. I do listen to podcasts of different preachers and that sort of thing, because again to me, it's about life. It's about, I live very exciting life, and I like to stay fired up all the time, so I drink a lot of Spark, a lot of Red Bull and read some magazines every now and then. I know it's not a great answer, but it's just the truth. Didn't somebody else over here have a hand up a second ago? No, maybe not. We good, we're done? No, we're not done. We are good. Anybody else? Hey, double dipping, go ahead.

[Man] Your competitive advantage, as being able to turn a new fashion in every week. When you project that forward, you're obviously gonna have new entrants into the market. Do you have kind of a plan as to how you'll modify your competitive advantage as new players enter into the market, or some of the existing players that are here, obviously have the capital to be able to venture into that same concept and model?

Yeah. So he essentially asked if, how we deal with competition and new people entering into the market. I always say, so again I think that my wife and I were designed exactly for this, because she's a female and I'm a male. Most of the, especially on a regional scale that we are, most of our competitors are female only ran businesses. So I am very unique in the standpoint of like, if you go on my phone on Instagram and look at my popular, you know, Instagram feeds you things that it thinks you're gonna like. It's all over the place. I'm talking about I got women's clothing stores popping up, I got Fashion Week, and then I got college football, then I got race cars, then I got women doing workout stuff. Instagram doesn't know what to think about me. So I always say that they get so concerned with what everybody else is doing, and I don't even look at it. And people always ask, who's your biggest competitor? And for years I always said nobody. Because I truly believe that we're doing something different and there are people that try to copy us, but when they're on such a small scale, that's why I knew back in 2013, a few people started to enter and I said we gotta go. We gotta crush everybody. We gotta be the biggest and baddest that exists, and to this point, there's really nobody that does it on the scale that we do. Again, to buy 70 styles, we buy, when we go out to buy things, we'll buy for two months, and it's somewhere approaching 300,000 or 400,000 articles of clothing that we buy just for that month. And not a lot of people are doing that. And so but we do know that it's happening and as we go out of the area that we're in, we're seeing that there are competitors in other areas, but to be quite honest, they are terrible at it compared to what we do, so to this point, we're very confident, and we're just going full steam ahead and believing that we can hit it before other people do, and I know that's again a terrible answer, but that's the truth. Sir?

[Man] When you're dealing with immediate inventory, what do you do with your excess inventory that didn't sell?

He asked what we do with excess inventory that doesn't sell. People ask that all the time, usually after they ask if we're gonna sell guy's clothes, and I tell 'em no. Then they'll try to, people always try to hit me with stuff. My answer to that, what do we do with it if it doesn't sell, I don't know if you have a wife or not, but if you put stuff cheap enough, women will buy it. So works out pretty good. So sometimes I take a major loss on it, but twice a year now we have a warehouse sale that we call it, when we bring everything from the store that didn't sell, and it never fails. It's like one or two random styles that just fit weird or something, like the arm hole was this big and nobody can get their arm out of it. Weird things like that. But if you sell it for $5, she'll buy it. I mean, I don't know what they do with it. They'll just leave it in their closet, but if it gets cheap enough, females will buy it. And the honest to God, that's just what we do. Twice a year, we just mark everything down to less than we paid for it, and it gets gone somehow. Except for one time when we bought a dress that had padding around the waist. We couldn't sell that for $2. Nobody wants, no woman wants padding. I don't know how that happened, but my wife had a lapse of judgment. I blame it on her. Yes, ma'am. Yeah, exactly, it's great stuff.

[Woman] With so many different styles coming out weekly, do you put inventory based on location, or does each store carry the same inventory?

Okay, so she asked if each store has the same inventory. They do. That's our big thing that we say, is every single thing we get in, it goes to every store. Some stores sell, let's say our Atlanta stores sell more like black clothes, for example, because it's more businessy people. Our Acton store sells a lot more racy things, like scandalous, if you will, that may not sell as well in Gainesville. So we know that, and we'll send them a little bit more of it, but for the most part, there's so many moving pieces, it's hard enough just to buy it, get it produced, get it back out the door that week and get it on the truck to go to the store. We have a formula in which we break it up in accordance to how busy that store is, and what they need to hit their numbers, and we just, they get six of it and the other people only get four of it, in accordance to how busy they are. But somethings like that we'll move, but everybody gets the same, 'cause people, as soon as you post it, if you're one of our followers, here's a hint. Everything we get goes in every store. Every day, same question. Is this in Gainesville, is this in Dahlonega? We post about 30,000 times a day, it's in every store, but people don't read that, so it's a lot easier just to say yes, than to be like, oh no, it's only in two stores. That just gets really... Again, we're trying to sell everything as fast as possible, so that means have it everywhere, you know what I mean? Oh, he's creeping up here. Oh, he's off.

[Man] Let's give Derrick a big hand.

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