When Blair Sandlain partnered with former NFL QB Mike Vick to develop the V7 Clothing line she insisted on one thing: that the brand develops organically. Sandlain, a successful entrepreneur who has a history of developing and growing apparel businesses, is mixing old strategies with new ways of thinking. Back in 2013, Sandlain partnered with Kijafa Vick to create and develop the PNK Elephant clothing brand. The duo branded their way to online and physical store retail success, reaching combined sales of $1M.
Applying many of the lessons learned throughout her career, Sandlain is organically growing V7 Clothing into a major player. With a recent 15 door deal with Downtown Locker Room and a collegiate licensing agreement with Tradition Licensing, V7 Clothing is positioning itself for national success.
Rolling out had the opportunity to sit with Blair to discuss what drives her to success, what inspires her on a daily basis, and the skills imperative for success.
What inspires you to show up for work every day?
I work hard every day because I am fully aware of the sacrifices my mother made in order for me to be here today, I know she is watching me and I can’t let her day, in fact, I won’t let her down.
Describe the future skills that you think will be essential to future business leader and innovators.
Reading is a skill set and I think technology and social platforms slowly phase this important skill set out, often times we just look at pictures in hopes for answers.
Who do you consider your peers in your field? How have they supported you? What best practices have they shared?
My peers are women [who] get up every day and go after their dreams. The women who work hard for a promotion or the woman that went after her dream and opened a boutique. The support I receive is unreal. From the group trips to China to the motivational posts they leave under my pictures.
Name your favorite role models for success in two different industries.
Dr. Tiffani McElrath — she’s from my hometown and is a young black dentist. How cool is that! She makes it her duty to show other black and brown girls they can attain anything in life.
Kijafa Vick — seeing her stay loyal to her family and husband in times when many would have folded gives me pleasure in calling her a friend. The way she goes after her dreams and recently producing her own television series while never missing a beat at home, gives me hope that there can be balance in both work and family.
Names three books that changed your outlook on life and that you would recommend to others.
The Purple Cow. This is a book that really changed how I looked at marketing, I would recommend this to any business person.
The Go-Giver. It’s better to give than to receive sounds cliche, but this is the only key to success. (Thank you, Mia Ray, for sending this book my way).
The Secret to Success. Eric Thomas is a great motivational speaker from my hometown, so his struggles really hit home. He has a quote that he always says. “You have to want success more than you want to breathe.” Hearing this always gives me chills, and I can really relate.
Describe the voice of success that you hear in your head.
My mother always says never let anyone knock you off your square. That keeps me going and reminds me that I am in control of my environment and success.
What role does technology play in your daily life?
Technology runs everything after my morning daily prayers I run my business completely off my phone, sometimes I feel bad for my friends because I am always in my phone not to mention I own an app called Connect Inmate so I have to stay up to date on new technology.
Which software or technology tools have made the biggest difference in your life?
Facebook ads are something that I learned to leverage really well I wouldn’t call myself a pro, however, I can get the job done, $5 Facebook ads can easily rake in $1K or more a day for any of my businesses.
Describe your favorite vacation spot.
London is my favorite place to visit I love the food, fashion, nightlife and people.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
I would put more focus on education. I dislike hearing our youth say that college or higher education isn’t for them. Learning is simply for everyone, and education really opens doors. The more you know the harder it is for anyone to trick you out your spot.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything about myself, every mistake or flaw is a lesson and a challenge to push myself to be a better person daily.