Rising StarOEN Member Spotlight – Craig Smith, Founder/CEO of KGS Artwear

KGS Artwear is an apparel manufacturer that specializes in cutting-edge graphic design applied to technical fabrics. The company launched its first products in early 2013, helping consumers to “Get your sportfreak on!”

Q: What problem does your business solve?

A: You can never look too good or feel too good–KGS Artwear addresses both of these issues!

Q: How did you come up with this business idea?

A: I was in the sportfishing industry in 1997 and had the idea because my mom bought me every “non-technical” product having to do with the sport of fishing, including tons of shirts, some socks, and even underwear. We went with the shirts!

Q: What are your biggest challenges?

A: The biggest challenges have been finding both artists and printers that can work with our level of art. Typical projects require over 50 hours of art and as much as 150 hours, and our files challenge even the best of printers.

Q:  What are your goals for the company?

A: Of course KGS Artwear has goals of being THE company to bring this new level of art and design to the mass market sports apparel world.

Q: Do you have any news to share about your company’s evolution, new products or partnerships?

A:   We just launched on January 3rd of 2013 and have the Men’s polo, Women’s polo, and the newest addition called “Babywear.”

Q: Are you looking for funding?

A: We are currently looking for a $50K convertible for current marketing and a $400K priced round, unless the $400K would come through first, then we wouldn’t need the $50K!

Q:  Have you been an entrepreneur before?

A:  Yes. I’ve had/have a few business, helped a few friends develop a few businesses, have one patent, several copyrights, and few trademarks.

Q:  What brought you to OEN?

A:    Not sure how I actually found OEN but once I read about it, I knew I needed to be involved. Most of my partners are a direct result of my connections at OEN and the people in the biz development culture are the most enthusiastic and ingenious people anywhere!

Q:  What has been the biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date?

A:  I think my biggest surprise has been the realization of how many similarities businesses in completely different spaces can have.

Q:  What has been the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve received?

A:  All the advice that was wrong or not helpful. At first you don’t really know if it’s wrong, so you have to really analyze every bit so carefully. So that’s developing a crucial skill set, and if you really listen to everyone and start seeing all the stuff you don’t need or want, you realize where you stand and how to maintain course. Also, I believe the founder/starting CEO should know their business way better than anyone else and that if too many people have too many good ideas that you haven’t thought of, that’s a bad sign.


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