Meet e-commerce elite Reno Tsosie, creator and founder of the Navajo created and inspired menswear brand Hashké. His online brand authentically represents Native American culture and operates with the goal to uplift Navajo artistic and indigenous cultures. Reno has a deep-rooted focus on storytelling from his culture, professional experience, and personal brand. From initial idea to manufacturing and beyond, here’s the story of Reno’s Navajo designed clothing line.
From Concept to Reality
Growing up in a home with two artists for parents in the 4 Corners area of the southwestern United States. Of Navajo heritage and tradition, Reno always had an interest Native American motif– especially in fashion. He recognized an inaccurate representation of Native American patterns and motifs in the fashion industry, mixing and misrepresenting the artistic designs of various Native American cultures. His passion inspired him to study this phenomenon in a university setting, investigating how cultural anthropology can be misrepresented. Reno’s questions revolved around a central idea: how does a cultural motif go from idea to market in the fashion industry?
Reno recognized early on that there’s a big void in representing Navajo culture authentically. People enjoy learning about other cultures. Reno realized after living in New York, California, and Texas, that his story –the Navajo story– was one that needed to be told. Through his apparel brand, Reno continues the storytelling tradition of his people.
Working as a merchandise planner at Neiman Marcus, Reno sharpened his teeth on the world of turning fashion. He learned the nuances of the industry and found that to be able to best serve his market, he had to find his niche and identify the other players in his market. His unique focus on menswear and telling a cultural story with his pieces set him apart from the crowd.
What technology does your site use?
Reno uses Shopify, he finds it to be the easiest to use and it has great support. Everything in Shopify is really well contained and serves stores of all sizes.
What do you wish you had known?
Reno underestimated the amount of time it takes to really get a business started. Working the fashion industry in New York, everything moved very fast from concept to runway in about 10 weeks. In Reality, Reno said the process took him about 2 years to take his products from initial concept to manufacturing and selling.
What was your biggest hurdle?
Finding domestic producers. Finding producers overseas is easy, but one of the things that was most important to Reno was finding a manufacturer in the United States. His long-term goal is to move his production back to the Navajo Reservation and support people back home.
It’s also difficult to find a manufacturer to produce a small run of a product. One initial hurdle Reno had to overcome was producing the right quantity/deposit balance and it took him a few months to find the right manufacturer fit.
Reno’s Top Advice
Ask for referrals at every step of the journey. Maybe someone can’t help you, but they might have industry insights into who can. Reno was pleasantly surprised at how helpful and forthcoming people have been throughout his e-commerce journey in regard to helping him to find the best fits for meeting his goals.
Reno’s best sales channel has been FaceBook. He initially thought Instagram would best suit his visual merchandise, but says FaceBook’s more hefty algorithms have worked best on getting return on his marketing investments.
Understanding his customer journey and using Google Analytics to see where his visitors are coming from has helped Reno to make shifts on his website. His stories were solid, but he made some pivots to get people onto his product pages to actually convert and make sales.
Visit Reno’s website at hashke.com to learn more about his products and story.