The variables of today's music industry are not limited to touring, album sales and recording. Add clothing lines to the other opportunities some musicians develop outside of their time onstage and in the studio. Clothing lines such as Anthem Made, Vursa Limited and Aspire & Create are on the rise with band members at the forefront of design and management of these growing companies. From the stage to the drawing board, band members are bringing their ideas to life on T-shirts, beanies and more. Music fans and fellow musicians can be seen sporting the threads designed by their favorite band members. Balancing a clothing line with a hectic tour and recording schedule may seem daunting, but these four guys have figured out a way to make it work.
Brand name: Vursa Limited
Founder: Levi Benton (Miss May I)
HQ: Cincinnati, OH
Why did you decide to launch a clothing line?
I was going to go to school for advertising, and I was doing a lot of art stuff. Once we got signed and everything was getting taken care of for us, I sort of got bored and wanted to start a new project. I started Vursa Limited and I did all the designs and [designed] the website; I still do all of it to this day. I just started it to keep myself busy and keep my art skills up because I started getting really lazy being in a band, just playing shows and not being creative.
What are some of your inspirations during the design process?
It's not really fashion or sleek—it's just big, bold and inspirational. It's like I'm writing lyrics on T-shirts, but not just words on a shirt. The band stuff got me really far, but the brand has gotten me farther. It's cool to see where I grew up and started and where this brand has taken me and the stuff we've been able to achieve with the brand.
Would you say you and your wife are a team on this company?
We do the shipping, all the art and all the orders. We're opening a store [on the University of Cincinnati] campus and we're planning a wedding at the moment. Everyday we're working on furniture for the store and planning guest list stuff. The store should open the first week of March if everything goes good.
How do you balance Vursa Limited with touring and recording?
Vursa Limited takes up 80 percent of my time, and the band stuff is the other 20 percent. We're working on a new record right now, so it is really hard because I'm trying to build this stuff and do all this. It’s so much more hands-on and so much more responsibility. We're trying really, really hard not to hire anyone and just keep it as much hands-on as possible. We don’t want to become the brand for money; we just like to be hands-on and be a part of it. It's our passion.
Do you think you'll be popping into the store?
Yeah, I'm actually literally a little girl about it. I'm so excited for it to be done. We didn't buy any furniture. I designed all the furniture, and I’m building all the furniture by hand. The entire store is my dream come alive. At the end of the day, Vursa Limited started because I borrowed $400 dollars from a friend; now it’s almost a half million-dollar company. The store is really going to open up the door for being a part of the community, especially being on campus. We want to have a Vursa softball team and pizza parties with customers. It's right by the biggest rock venue in Cincinnati, and we want to have artists come in and do signings. It's more of a community thing that we basically get to control.
I know you recently celebrated the three-year anniversary. How did it feel to achieve that?
It's crazy, and I never would have thought that it would have gone more than six months. I borrowed money from my friend and I was in my mom's basement in high school. It literally started from that. It's crazy to be where we're at: We didn't have anything to even start with. We just kept investing and investing in it and coming up with crazier and crazier ideas. It's cool to see where we're at on the scale of all the people that inspire us to be a brand.
What types of brands do you look up to?
I know I’m in a metal band and I have long hair and the tattoos and everything. I'm really, really into the urban culture. It just fascinates me that street wear has such a big impact for it to be started with graffiti and everything.
If you could dress any person of your choice in Vursa Limited who would it be and why?
It would probably be Justin Timberlake because he's the coolest dude ever and he's legit. I feel like if he wears anything, he actually wears it because he respects it.
What type of message do you hope fans take away from Vursa Limited?
We just want everyone to be as ambitious as possible. Because I know a lot of people have crazy ideas and are all, “There's no way I can do that.” “Stay ambitious” is our biggest slogan. We just want people to stay at it. It's really freaking awesome to get fan mail and e-mails about things people created looking up to us.
How is Vursa Limited unique from other clothing lines?
It's all hands-on and we're trying to keep it that way as much as possible. I never really want to go corporate. Every package is hand packaged with hand notes. We call ourselves the Vursa crew; it's [more] about the crew and the customers than it is about us at the end of the day. We just want people to be happy and have fun because they're making out dreams come true by supporting us. As long as we're all having a good time and we're all happy and ambitious with everything, that’s the goal at the end of the day.
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