My name is Shaefer Santos, but you call me Shaef! I am the creator, owner, designer, and well pretty much everything here at Hey Friends!
It is safe to say that Hey Friends becoming my career was kind of an accident, but I am forever thankful to have found my passion and career so young. I started Hey Friends was I was 16 years old in July of 2019. I had the full intentions of this just being some sort of side hobby to work on when I was bored. And well, it is very safe to say that I was very wrong. Flash forward two months and I was shipping Hey Friends everywhere from London, England to Washington State. Also at this time, Hey Friends was available for purchase in a local Boutique as well! Many more months went by that brought along opportunities I had only dreamed of. From fashion shows to trunk shows Hey Friends was starting to gain some traction. Then, you guessed it, The pandemic hit. Like any small business, this hurt, especially my families business. But, in a way, I am very thankful for that six months of stagnant growth. This gave me the time to sit back and really educate myself on what I really wanted for my future and Hey Friends. Let's just say this consisted of me reading every girl boss book and self help book amazon had to offer.
" What's the main thing you took away from all of that? "
well I'm so glad you asked! You know what every book had in common? They had a dream, kept showing up every day, made it their passion, and ran with it.
So let's just say that for the last 6 months I have been attempting to do just that. And considering last week Hey Friends and I made our national TV debut I think it's been paying off.
This is the point in my business journey when you may have some questions, and well, I think I know the most popular one,
" but how how did you manufacture your clothing line and actually start it? "
I grew up in a family business, and this is something that I always loved and admired. This also played a huge factor in my wanting to start a clothing line, because this business was a silk screen and promotional products company. This is how at 16 years old I had access to industrial screen printing at my finger tips. My dad is still my sales rep and prints all of my shirts by hand. And truthfully, I wouldn't want my production to be any other way, because if you know me, then you would know, that I am overly sentimental. The fact that my grandparents started this business in the 70's and now my dad and uncle have taken over, means the world to me. Especially because Hey Friends is really making a name for itself and is becoming a little part of that history.
I get a lot of questions about how I design for Hey Friends and the simple answer is I just love to design what I wish I would see in stores. I think it would be detrimental for me to stick to one style and keep Hey Friends in a box. I know the potential that Hey Friends has and it would be wrong of me to confine that growth and potential.
I mentioned this earlier, but I will gladly say it again. I am doing everything in my power to make this business my career and life work.
I'll share some major goals that I have for my busies this year.
1. outgrow my office.... and by my "office" I mean my brothers old bedroom in my parent's basement.
2. Venture into the wholesale world and start to sell Hey Friends to Boutiques all over the country.
There is so much more to this crazy story, but for now here is a little sneak peek into this wild career I have found myself in. I hope this gave you a little insight into my business and the gal running the show behind the scenes!
I you have any other questions, I would LOVE to hear from you! I plan on doing a full q&a blog post soon so ask away! :)