By Taroue Brooks
Tell us about your company.
- Four Thirteen Apparel is a faith based, lifestyle and fitness apparel brand. It started off as 4:13 Health and Fitness which was my online personal training brand that I transitioned to apparel after I found a love for creating clothing from scratch. Four Thirteen stands for Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The reason I named the company after this Bible verse was because I was laid off from two jobs within a six month period in 2015 and I wanted to have my faith at the helm of whatever I transitioned into. My team loves pushing the brand forward because we see the disconnect between faith, high quality apparel and people with active lifestyles and we believe we can bridge that gap. We take pride in providing apparel that is created with the same performance technical material that you see in major brands such as Nike, Lululemon and Adidas. No matter who you are, what you believe, your shape, size, creed or color, we created this brand to connect everyone to a message of faith and positivity.
Tell us about your team.
- My operations team is comprised of four people including myself. My brother, Desmond Jasper is our Project Management Lead. He is responsible for keeping project timelines organized and ensuring that deliverables are completed on time. Desmond is super detail oriented and is the glue that keeps us together. He also works directly with our Media Director, Corey Gray. Corey is an insanely talented photographer, videographer, editor and story teller through his work. Corey is responsible of telling the story of Four Thirteen Apparel through our content and also connecting our customers to a piece of content that they resonate with on an individual basis. Shelby Cohn is our gem to say the least and our Customer Service Lead. She handles all customer service issues with grace and takes the lead on all packaging and shipping. Also, her and Corey Gray work together when we have product launches to ensure he has the right sized items to do photo and video shoots with.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur?
- The most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur is creating internal processes that have the ability to scale as we grow. When we first started, I was doing everything myself and I needed help as orders came in more consistently. When the team expanded beyond myself, everyone needed to be able to get their work done and flow as a one unit as well as having full transparency of what other team members were working on. Needless to say, we went through some growing pains just trying to nail down a process and communication style that would work for us. Once we found our flow, we no longer missed small details that previously created major setbacks for us. However, those setbacks have pushed us to become so much better and work that much smarter each day.
What separates your company from other apparel companies?
- We are firmly built on faith and we ensure top performance quality. There are very few high quality faith based athleisure companies out there and we are a company that has a depth to our brand along with providing premium quality at a fair price point. Also, the styles that we create are simple and can be worn on a consistent basis. Trendy is great, but trendy does not always mean reliable and consistent. We strive to take over our customer’s wardrobe by providing them simple yet stylish items that make them feel comfortable and confident on a daily basis.
Where can people purchase your merchandise?
- You can go to www.fourthirteen.us or you can check us out on Instagram, @fourthirteen_apparel. We greatly appreciate your support!
What occurred that made you realize that you would be successful in this industry?
- I’m not sure if there was a single situation that made me realize that I, my team or this brand would be successful. I truly believe that we’ve failed our way here. And I mean that in the most endearing and empowering way because it is all a part of having respect for the process. We have a love for doing our specific jobs and love how they intertwine with the brand’s vision. We also understand that you do not learn how to ride a bike without taking the training wheels off and falling down a few times. As a team, we appreciate roadblocks because it signifies that we’ve traveled further and are approaching our next level. When that happens, we use it as an opportunity to learn and overcome instead of complain and quit. Success is also a subjective term. As a black man who received a degree in Computer Information Systems, I never thought I would be working with clothing catered to a fitness demographic. So being able to work with my team and such amazing people each day is a success no matter what our sales data looks like.
What are three goals you strive to accomplish?
- My first goal is to continue to put God first with this brand and have others see that with faith, hard work and determination you can accomplish anything you set your mind and your grind to.
- My second goal is to have this brand be recognized around the world and continue to expand the team with innovative and talented individuals who have vision.
- My third goal is to be able to teach others how to build a brand and help them with the mental and emotional side of taking risks and dealing with setbacks. I think this is so important because when you are doing what you love, it is vulnerable to you. And when you fail, oftentimes your pride and ego take a huge hit which can negatively spread to other aspects of your life. This is not talked about much and I would love to teach on how to handle those moments effectively..
In five years, where do you see your company?
- In five years I see my company in a massive warehouse with a full team of talented individuals and orders being shipped worldwide, daily. Myself, Desmond, Corey and Shelby always talk about the talent we would like to add to the company and how we want to build out our respective teams as we grow. As our internal operations team grows and works smarter, the Four Thirteen Apparel customer experience will continue to improve. As the customer experience improves, the brand in turn will grow and this will cause a positive cycle of growth and innovation. In all, we are following God’s lead and we are so thankful of how far he’s brought us in the last two and a half years and cannot wait to see what He has in store for us.
Business Social Media Handles and Website:
- Website: www.fourthirteen.us
- Instagram: @fourthirteen_apparel )
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shop413apparel/
- My name is Rickey Jasper II and I’m from Ashburn, Virginia. I currently reside in San Diego, California. I have two wonderful parents, Sheila and Rickey Jasper and an amazing younger brother, Desmond Jasper. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems from James Madison University in 2012. From there I went on to work in the IT field. In 2015 I was laid off from two jobs due to downsizes in the company. However, at the time I became very interested in fitness which sparked my desire to create an online personal training company to help others achieve their fitness goals. In 2015 I created 4:13 Health and Fitness and moved to San Diego, CA in February of 2016 to take a full-time cyber security job. After working for that cyber security company in San Diego for six months and running 4:13 Health and Fitness on the side, I decided to go full-time with my online personal training company. A year later I founded “4:13 Apparel” which has since been rebranded to “Four Thirteen Apparel” and have been working on it ever since. A few other cool facts about myself that have happened during my time in San Diego are that I was a sponsored athlete for Bodybuilding.com for two years and was also a contestant on the Bachelorette in 2018.
Personal Social Media Handles:
- Instagram: @rickeylaneii )
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/rickeylaneii