“Three years ago I was like you, looking for my way, my place in the world. I decided to focus on professionalizing a hobby that I already had, such as customizing sneakers. Today I am lucky to lead a team of amazing people, and we have sold a 35% stake in Tito Customs to an outside investor group, for an amount we could not have dreamed of.”
With these inspiring words, Andrés Martínez, Tito to friends, began his presentation on entrepreneurship at CIS University. The company we are talking about, Tito Customs, has become the leader and reference in its sector in Spain in just 3 years.
But let’s start at the beginning; what is Tito Customs? It is a platform from which very exclusive and unique sneakers are personalized. Some sneakers have been “customized” and sent to Lisbon in their own personalized case for €3,000. Another pair, designed together with the artist Kidd Keo, has increased in value until recently being purchased for €10,000.
Originally, it was about giving a distinct touch to any sneakers available on the market; today the business vision of Tito Customs has been polished while incorporating a corporate language and philosophy that permeates the values of the team. In the words of Tito himself:
“Our mission has been refined over time. It is about surprising with our personalized proposals an audience that has everything and can buy any model of shoe on sale, regardless of price. Our value is creativity and exclusivity.”
In just three years of operation, Tito has put his designs on the feet of Marcelo (Real Madrid), Tom Holland (Spiderman), Rauw Alejandro (musical artist) and CZN Burak (international chef and television celebrity).
A strategic plan to enterprise, step by step
Starting your own company can be confusing and daunting at first, which is why Tito introduced the CIS University students to the various phases that must be attained not only to carry out a short-term goal, but also for what he calls “getting to the next level”.
Phase 1: “Learn everything you can”.
In your first days and months of activity, you must be humble enough to accept that you do not know the sector in which you want to specialize, and therefore, you must carry out an exhaustive and continuous analysis of the market: What audience are you targeting? How do you get into it? In what price range does it move?… etc.
Phase 2: “Without a good team, you are lost”.
In the same way that you create value for your customers with your differentiated products, you must build a creative and logistics team that shares your values and growth goals. Opportunities will come sooner or later; for that moment, it is essential to have your team aligned because “there are trains that only pass once, and either you catch them or you lose them”.
Phase 3: “Seek help to consolidate, grow and expand.”
A recommendation from a satisfied customer on social media, especially if she is a celebrity, can be the catalyst for subsequent orders. “This sector is so small that reaching a new client can be difficult if it is not through word of mouth.”
Phase 4: “Reinvest all profits in your project.”
It is a temptation and a very common mistake to spend your income in the euphoria of the first few months, as if you were working for someone else. The most sensible thing is to re-inject your own profits into feeding the system that has produced them. “My first move was to order some acrylic paints from the USA and start painting in my family’s living room. Since then, once operating costs have been deducted, everything we have earned over three years has been reinvested without exception in improving some of the elements that make up Tito Customs”
Finally, we do not want to forget the last reflection that Tito gave to our students:
“The beginnings are hard but above all uncertain. I know it’s a phrase taken from Instagram, but believe me, dreams come true. If you have an entrepreneurial streak, trust yourself, trust your ideas, and never, ever stop dreaming.”