Mike Lazarus: Founder of Buds Clothing

Name: Mike Lazarus

Year: Freshman

Age: 18

Major: Business

Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

Courtesy: Facebook

Her Campus (HC): When did you first take an interest in graphic/clothing design?

Mike Lazarus (ML): Starting at the age of 12, I was very interested in photography. Discovering Photoshop became my gateway to becoming a graphic designer. As I entered high school, it was still my main interest and I wanted to further pursue it. I submitted a portfolio and application to the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. It was at Dreyfoos where I learned how to use different programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. I was hooked instantly. I shifted my focus from photography and put all my time into graphic design. At first, I was designing basic logos and flyers, but eventually, I was asked to design my first shirt. In the years that followed, I made dozens of different shirts for different organizations and events. The feeling I got when I saw individuals wearing the clothing I designed really had a profound effect on me. Something felt right and I knew that i wanted to narrow my focus to shirt design.

HC: How was Buds Clothing born?

ML: I started Buds during my senior year of high school. With all of my previous experience involving graphic and clothing design, I knew that I wanted to start a brand of my own. I sat on the idea for months, trying to figure out what style I was looking for and what vibe I wanted to give off with my brand. One night, everything just clicked; I had the idea to make my shirts themed around the Buddha. The aura of peace and positivity given off by the Buddha was perfect for the brand I was trying to create. Overcome with excitement, I immediately began designing my logo and building the website. Before I knew it, Buds was born.

Courtesy: Buds Clothing

HC: Tell us about what products are included in your line.

ML: Buds Clothing is a lifestyle clothing company. That being said, we hope to expand the variety of products we offer, from just shirts and bracelets to other clothing garments and accessories (such as socks, sweaters, hats, watches, etc.) in the near future. As our brand continues to grow, so does the opportunity for a more extensive product list.

Courtesy: Buds Clothing

HC: How are you promoting Buds Clothing at FSU?

ML: Many of our customers and supporters have discovered us through social media, or by our very recognizable stickers. If you keep on the lookout, you may notice some stickers [see below] hidden around campus. Our brand is very new to Florida State and Tallahassee, as this is only my freshman year. We are currently working to organize a launch party and hope to have a table at Market Wednesdays in the Union. We are extremely excited to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors and get to know the surrounding Tallahassee community. Information on our upcoming events will be posted on our website within the next few weeks, as the specifics become available and our agenda develops.

Courtesy: Facebook

HC: What is one thing that everyone should know about Buds Clothing?

ML: Everyone should know what Buds Clothing represents. At its very core, Buds Clothing is centered around positive thinking, creativity and self expression. Buds Clothing embodies the ideals of the new cultural wave that marvels art, appreciates nature and celebrates music. We strive to inspire and motivate our generation to chase their dreams and experience life.

HC: It’s incredible that you are designing a clothing line at such a young age. What has been the biggest challenge for you?

ML: This whole journey has been a learning experience every step of the way. Looking back, there is a lot that I would do differently, but I had to start somewhere and I’m proud of where Buds Clothing stands today. As I said before, I started the line completely on my own as a high school senior. I knew nothing about the industry and had very little resources. I had to manage running a business, graduating high school and applying to college all at the same time, which was not an easy task. Although it was difficult, the hard work has made this all worth it. By screwing up and making subtle mistakes, I am now better prepared to make Buds Clothing the best it can be. Our team is slowly beginning to grow and we are continuing to discover how to better our brand with everything we do.

HC: What have you learned through this experience?

ML: The most important lesson I’ve gained is to do what you love and not to let anything hold you back from doing so. Don’t live life based on others' expectations. Don’t miss out on amazing opportunities because you would rather “play it safe.” Don’t wait to act, because before you know it, it will be too late. The time is now to start chasing your dreams and building your future. The resources are available if you look in the right places. You shouldn’t feel incapable because of your age, appearance or even by the norms of society. Everything is possible, but it’s up to you to make your dreams a reality. Whenever I meet someone new and I learn about what they want to do or be when they’re older, I ask them why they’re not doing it now and what’s holding them back. I’ve always known that I wasn’t meant to spend the rest of my life working a nine to five job and being stuck in a cubicle all day. I knew that I was capable of doing something out of the norm that I enjoy, so I did.

HC: You always say that Buds Clothing is more than just shirts; it’s a philosophy and lifestyle. Tell us about your vision for the brand and what it means to you.

ML: I want Buds to not only be successful, but to make a difference in communities worldwide. Every shirt we make should serve as a reminder to stay positive and live life to your full potential. This philosophy is one that I needed to remind myself of when I was at low points in my life, but having the right outlook and a positive attitude made a huge difference. This philosophy helped me to get motivated and back on my feet. If Buds Clothing is able to get that message to just one individual, I would consider it a great accomplishment and huge success. I hope that Buds Clothing continues to thrive and flourish for years to come.

HC: Lastly, how can we order Buds Clothing apparel?

ML: You can order our products at Buds-Clothing.com or you can purchase in person at upcoming Market Wednesdays. Also, be sure to "like" us on Facebook