Born 1983 in Detroit Michigan a city known for its great music, artist, and unique sense of fashion. Craig Washington’s love for sneakers started when he bought his first pair of black and red Jordans #6, he was 17 years old and he has been a sneakerhead ever since! Owning unique, head-turning clothing that expresses his personality has always been a must for him, you can’t insult your sneaker game by wearing anything less, it all has to come together flawlessly.
He never wanted to sacrifice quality and comfort in order to have a luxury feel. With Top Notch NME, He found a way where you can have the best of both worlds, it just makes sense. Luxury streetwear that doesn’t compromise on quality and comfortability and definitely doesn’t skimp on style. It’s his promise to you that’s what we will consistently deliver. His team and he have paid attention to every detail, creating pieces that are durable over time that can withstand multiple washing and wears. Some of their pieces are made of 100% cotton to ensure a soft comfortable & breathable element over your skin.
You will notice vibrant street art and hints of black and gold throughout the collection, all paying homage to the street luxury that is Top Notch.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Craig Washington: Thank you for having me. My Name is Craig Washington owner and designer at Top Notch NME a high-end street-wear brand. When I was young I always had to have the best outfit and the newest shoes. But money didn’t come easy at that age so I started working for my grandmother at a local doctor’s office where she would have us pulling up weeds for spending money. I would save all of my money so I could buy the newest Jordans and an outfit to match. I would say that’s how it started for me with fashion. From there I started charging friends at school to do crazy shoelace designs for them. But my love for shoes and clothing wouldn’t stop there. I would soon come up with the idea of wear my brand Top Notch NME.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your view point, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Craig Washington: I feel like being an entrepreneur starts with making a conscious decision to do something different from the masses. A way to change and make it easier for not just yourself but others as well. It’s someone stepping up and saying I can fill the void.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Craig Washington: As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking into the future to see what can be improved. I never settle or get comfortable. I feel I can always improve on some aspects.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Craig Washington: We have come a long way from just pressing hoodies in my friend’s basement. We have shoes now, Luggage women’s apparel, and soon-to-be-released kids’ wear.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Craig Washington: It would be safe to assume that a lot of those businesses offer the same service as you do. You’re going to have to figure out what you can do to separate them from you or what makes your company stand out.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Craig Washington: When I first started my business I assumed that the business I picked was available so I started making merchandise just to find the name was already taken. I ended up having to change the name and doing a reprint.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Craig Washington: The advice I would give my past self is to network as much as you can, market your products as often as possible and be patient and I say that because if you don’t market, people won’t know your company exists. Networking opens doors to so many other avenues, and you have to be patient. Nothing great comes overnight.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Craig Washington: The worst advice ever given was the clothing market is over saturated and no one will buy from a new brand over all these old ones. All I can say is look at me now. Never let someone stop you from making a difference and you truly can do whatever you put your mind to.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Craig Washington: There are always going to be customers that will never change, but you may have to change the way you run your business online. .
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Craig Washington: A common myth is nobody supports small businesses and that is false. I have gotten support in place I’ve never thought possible. My advice is to show yourself and not to be afraid to market because of fear that they wouldn’t buy from you.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Craig Washington: Hard work, Determination, Dedication and Drive are the qualities needed. And assume that you get nothing more or less than what you put into your business.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Craig Washington: One key thing is always to stay ten steps ahead and plan for the worst, but hope for the best. A good read for entrepreneurs is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Craig Washington: If I could choose any job instead of an entrepreneur it would still be an entrepreneur because once you start down that path you wouldn’t want to be anything else either, I promise you that.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Craig Washington: Who better than the founder and owner of Top Notch NME – Craig Washington – soon to be one of the greats. 😉
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Craig Washington for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Craig Washington or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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