Entrepreneur Profile: Evan Lorberbaum
Evan Lorberbaum is born and raised from Armonk, New York. He is 20 years old and is rising Junior at Tulane University. He has overcome tremendous struggles his throughout life and continues to make a name for himself by striving for excellence everyday.
He truly believes that everyone has infinite potential inside, as evidenced by his brain with wings logo, but is up to those who are willing to look deep within who will unlock it. He founded Encourage Life Originality, which is a t-shirt company that heavily focuses on people finding themselves through various forms of art. His goal in life is to challenge mainstream’s idea of “normal”.
Who are the people that inspired you to follow your dreams?
My parents have been a driving force behind the willpower that pushes me each day towards pursuing my dreams. From an early age they preached that strength, fortitude, discipline, determination, and drive were the key factors towards gaining success. I took these morals and ran with them. As a kid I always wanted to run away, figuratively. I wanted to run towards my dream and would not stop until I got there, and I still haven’t. A successful life is about the journey, not the destination.
Was there a turning point in your life that led to your current direction?
A major turning point in my life was when I had my first manic episode during my freshman year at Tulane. Being diagnosed as Bipolar proved to be a blessing in disguise because it gave me the unique opportunity to turn what most would think is a negative, into a positive. I acknowledged the fact that I would be considered “different” by mainstream society, and I realized that I could use it to my advantage. I landed an internship with Rolling Stone Magazine in the photography department during my time away from school, as I continued to design t-shirts in my spare time. I learned that this was the hand I was dealt, and only I could manage how I would play it.
How could you advise young people to learn from their failures?
With regards to failure, I strongly believe that one must change what they consider to be a “failure”. I look at failure as a tool, and more importantly a learning experience. We must all learn from our mistakes by acknowledging what went wrong, and how we can avoid them next time.
How do you deal with failure?
Plain and simple, there is no such thing as failure, nothing in life happens by coincidence. Failures are learning experiences that everyone should embrace because they can teach us so much. Just because something didn’t work out the first time does it mean that it was completely wrong. If something didn’t go my way, I step away from the situation and identify what exactly went wrong, and I brainstorm how I can fix it in the future.
Evan's latest project that he painted himself.
3 Tips of Success
1) Dream BIG or don’t dream at all 2) Follow your heart 3) Find someone who doesn’t think you can, and don’t stop working until you prove them wrong
What does success mean to you?
What does success mean to me? That’s a good question. Success in the clothing industry by most people’s standards would be measured by how many shirts I’ve sold, how many blogs have written about me, and how many stores carry my designs. Don’t get me wrong, these are ALL a part of what success means to me, but this clothing line is much deeper than that. Success for me is almost immeasurable because the happiest I feel with regards to success is when I know that I have inspired my peers to follow their dreams. That may sound corny but it’s the honest truth. The purpose of “Encourage Life Originality” is to inspire the uninspired, and encourage people to change their idea of “normal”.
Everyone aspires for success, but what drives you to work so hard?
Haters. If someone doubts me, by saying that I can’t do something, it drives me that much harder to prove them wrong. And in my case, I’m pushed by society to prove everyone wrong. Because Bipolar disorder has an overwhelmingly negative stigma, it is my honor to disprove the notion that people with it cannot become successful in life. When people think I can’t do something, I love showing them that I can.
Who’s career inspires you the most?
Hands down it would have to be Jay-Z. He Is the epitome of the rags to riches story. He was able to rise to stardom by overcoming many feats along the way. Initially, after my first episode, my self-confidence was just about bankrupt. It took a lot of hard work and mental toughness to keep willing myself through everyday, and accepting my life on life’s terms. I knew that if I put in the hard work that everything would turn out all right.
What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
I’ve sold a bunch of shirts online and have some shirts in stores, which is awesome, but I would definitely have to say being featured in Elite Daily by far and away my biggest accomplishment thus far. This is the coolest website that I have been featured on and it really is an honor to be recognized as one of your College Entrepreneurs.
What is your dream accomplishment?
My dream accomplishment with regards to the clothing industry would have to be becoming a street wear household name with the likes of LRG, Neff, The Hundreds to name a few. It would be amazing to be in stores alongside these labels because they are the ones who kept me motivated. I want to someday be more successful than all of them. I would also love to see my gear on my favorite hip hop artists. If Jay-Z, Kanye, Lupe, and Blackstar were rockin’ my gear that would truly be a dream come true. How much better could it get than that?
If you could collaborate with any artist/entrepreneur, who would it be?
Jay-Z of course. To call him a rapper or an entertainer would be misleading. He’s truly one of a kind. Everything he touches turns to gold. I would love to collab with him over just about anything, far beyond just an ELO x Rocawear deal. He is my role model because he has that certain Midas touch where whatever he deals with becomes an overnight household name.Whether it’s through clothing, music, or entertainment, I know that if I ever got the chance to collab with Jay-Z it would be something special. We would do great things.
What kind of training and preparation do you go through every day?
I wouldn’t say that I am necessarily training or preparing everyday, but there are TONS of things that go into running a t-shirt company besides making the designs of course. I am constantly “pitching” ELO to new t-shirt blogs and forums online to see if they’d be willing to do a write-up about my company. I am also learning new things about the industry everyday by researching blogs that give great knowledge about how to run a clothing line. I’m not going to get into describing the website that is under construction and look book in progress because that would take too much of this interview. As you can see, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
What plans do you have for your career that we would have never suspected?
I have recently started painting on the side as a way to make extra money that is used for capital to support ELO. I have a few pieces in a few stores and galleries in downtown New Orleans, and Westchester, New York. I love doing anything that is creative, so if I can do something that I love and make money that is awesome. I’m just trying to have fun with it. I’m also really interested in talent management. I have some friends who are in the music industry and I would love to one-day head a label or something like that. I think the greatest charity is being able to enable someone else’s dreams, so it would be awesome to help them out in that regard. ELO at the moment has a couple featured artists, Lyriqs Da Lyraciss and Harn Solo. Also shout-outs to Bruce Dillion, Kam Royal, Tate Tucker, and Small Town Heroes. All of these guys work so and have some really great music out there. Everyone should watch out for these up and coming talents.
You’ve been a household name for quite some time now, but how do you plan to keep expanding your brand into more industries?
That’s a really great question. I’m in a difficult situation because as a college entrepreneur I am in a constant juggling act. Whether its school, business, family or friends, it’s hard sometimes to not get too focused on aspect in my life, without letting the others slip out of focus. Especially considering school and business, I have had some arguments with my parents about the juxtaposition between two. It’s hard to do, but I am really trying to focus on school at the moment, and let everything else fall into place. So with that being said, until I am done with school and really have the ability to solely focus on ELO, I am letting word of mouth do all the talking.
With so much going on in your life right now and so many people flocking to you, how do you keep yourself humble?
I take it one day at a time. This is easier said than done for me. It’s hard because as a visionary I already know where I want ELO to go, but I understand that time takes time, and I don’t want to rush into things. I have visions of what I want the line to look like in the future, so I need to let things happen at a steady pace, without getting ahead of myself. I also keep myself grounded by not letting any of my successes get to my head. Business aside I love kickin’ it with my friends and just having a good time, staying in the moment.
5, 10, 50 years down the line when you’ve achieved everything you aspire for today, where do you see yourself?
This is the hardest question of the interview. I see myself pursuing a long life with new experiences and travels. As far as ELO goes, I would love to one-day open stores in New Orleans, New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. As for everything else in life I am passionate for, I’m not exactly sure where I’ll take my creative abilities, but I know that sky’s the limit.
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