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17 Year Old Entrepreneur: Why Connections Need To Be Forged In The Real World

In this video, Will Berman of Unwashed Denim and Rachel Shechtman of STORY talk about the importance of democratizing discovery.

Hilary Weaver

Will Berman, 17 year old fashion designer and founder of UnwashedDenim, spoke at PSFK CONFERENCE 2014 with STORY owner Rachel Shechtman about the importance of democratizing discovery. Despite Will’s intense passion for design, innovative ideas, and raw talent, he struggled to get his brand out to the public. After he attended STORY’s Pitch Night, everything changed for the better.

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Berman had been interested in raw denim for a long time, and even taught himself to sew so he could work with it. This led to the creation of his company, UnwashedDenim. He printed business cards from his home computer and snuck into NYC trade shows to meet people in the industry, but still his brand was lacking something. According to Rachel Shechtman, it was access. STORY’s monthly pitch night is not just about pitching your product, it’s about meeting and connecting with people in real life. Everyone who comes is encouraged to network with one another, because as Shechtman said, “when you’re passionate about something you want the whole world to know.”

unwasheddenim-hat

Immediately after Pitch night, Berman began receiving email requests from companies asking to become stockists. He met several of his dream collaborators, including the Founder of 3×1, Scott Morrison, and metalsmith, Michael Studebaker–with whom Berman co-created UnwashedDenim‘s one-year anniversary, hand-forged cuff.

To illustrate UnwashedDenim’s growth, Berman’s latest piece is a handmade hat fashioned from selvedge denim all the way from Kaihara Mills, Japan and produced by a small manufacturer in New York, a far cry from his first denim tote that he sewed in his own bedroom. The hat features a hidden inside pocket for cash and cards and has a vegetable-tanned leather strap.

Watch Will and Rachel’s entire talk below and check back throughout the week as we share more presentations from the inspirational day.

UnwashedDenim // ThisIsStory

@UnwashedDenim // @rachelshechtman

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Images: The Partners
Hilary Weaver
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