Justin Escalona is a videographer and the founder of 1340 Collective, a million-dollar e-commerce clothing company that he founded out of his university apartment. By the age of 22, Justin has appeared in Forbes, landed brand deals with Axe and Reebok, and was the face of Journey’s.
As a teenager growing up in Chicago, Justin started filming YouTube videos, gradually growing his following and fostering connections in the industry. He would go to concerts with a camera and claim he was a photographer for Rolling Stone. This allowed him to film for entertainers before they reached mainstream success and gave him opportunities to develop relationships that would help his career.
“I built up legitimate friendships by shooting for free; now these people are super close to me and wear 1340 without question,” he told The Street. “I value that a lot more than asking for a couple hundred bucks to film in high school.”
Justin studied film at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. During this time, his YouTube series “Daily Docs,” which documented his life in Los Angeles and followed him around the world, began to take off. He later decided to branch out into streetwear clothing to maximise his revenue. 1340 Collective, his e-commerce company, was named after his dorm room number.
“At the start a lot of people thought 1340 Collective was just my ‘merch’ collection,” Justin told The Street. “There’s nothing wrong with YouTubers like myself offering merch to their fans, but that isn’t the vision I had for 1340. My vision for this company is to be a sought after streetwear company, and detaching it as much as possible from my YouTube channel proved to be a great move.”
1340 Collective offers limited-edition pieces every week. Customers who are interested in buying need to reach out to the company via Instagram to get an access code that opens the website. Once a piece sells out, it’s never restocked. By his final year at USC, the company was valued at $2 million.
“I value the relationship I build with the people who wear my clothes because without them I’d be nothing,” he said. “All the dope opportunities I have are because of people who support my company and my videos, so the least I can do is get to know them and give them a truly exclusive product.”Tags: Clothing, ecommerce, entertainment, fashion, video