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Learn about Kansas City small business MADE MOBB’s journey to big success

From cheap flights to Las Vegas retail conferences to releasing T-shirt designs with the Kansas City Chiefs, MADE MOBB has proved they are small but mighty in the Kansas City community.

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Editor Bella’s favorite MADE MOBB piece is the NFL Draft T-shirts.

Photo by KCtoday

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Small businesses make up so many of our favorite parts of Kansas City — including retail brand MADE MOBB, based in the Crossroads Arts District. MADE MOBB began in 2012 and over the last 11 years worked their way up to collaborations with iconic KC organizations like the Chiefs, Current, Gates Bar-B-Q, and fellow local businesses like Cafe Cà Phê and Lily Floral Designs.

Editor Bella sat down with the MADE MOBB team to chat about their journey + what KC can expect next from the small but mighty biz.

Give us your elevator pitch about MADE MOBB.

“We’ve been in the clothing field for 10 years, the first four being really out the trunk, passion project and hand delivering, just small business. But we had a crew of us that just loved it because we purely love streetwear and wanted to do something together. Year four or five is when we tapped into wholesale and started getting bigger bags,” said co-owner and creative director, Vu Radley.

“We’ve been in a brick and mortar space for the last six years. We hit year 10 this year and truly couldn’t do it without Kansas City’s support. That’s why we’re still living and breathing and being able to do what we do as a small business.”

When did the business come to life? Give us some historical context.

“We started in 2012 but on paper in 2013 that we launched our first collection,” co-owner Mark Launiu shared.

“Back in the day, we used to be a four season collection clothing company where we drop a collection once every season, one of those shirts would always give a shout out to Kansas City. Of course, that one shirt would always sell out. So we’re like, maybe we should start doing more Kansas City stuff,” co-owner Jesse Phouangphet told us.

What was the inspiration behind the biz?

“A lot of the inspiration behind our stuff is the mob style. We got our name from the movie ‘Good Fellas’ and just liked the feel and vibe of it. It’s like you can’t touch them unless they’re a made man, so we always rode deep with that,” Mark told us.

“It’s an ode to Mob Deep, one of our favorite rap groups, so the name just stuck,” Vu said.

“We came up with ‘Made’ first and then we’re like okay, let’s get mademob.com. Of course we’re idiots and that was taken like 10 years before. Then we just started going through names. ‘Made Clothing’ was taken, ‘Made Apparel’ also taken, so then it was like what can we really do? Made Crew? Made Group? Then we landed on Made Mobb. We threw an extra letter b on it for visuals so each word was four letters.”

What does Kansas City mean to you?

“Kansas City has been a great city to grow in. We’re going through a lot of changes in Kansas City. There’s so much life back in Kansas City that we’re just super hyped on, and we really just wanted to be in the position to be able to not only affect the community, but also be a part of the growth,” Jesse said.

“We allow Kansas City to wear their pride, you know, through clothing.”

Tell us about First Fridays + how you are involved.

“Before we started doing First Fridays in the Crossroads, we had a location on Grand where we would throw block parties. We created this vibe and culture. It was a space where people could come hang out, connect, network, like a kickback. It’s like being a kid again,” Mark said.

“Now that we’re in the bigger space in the Crossroads, we try to do the same concept. We get a bunch of local vendors, live music, drinks — everything’s local. We also always drop our newest merchandise on First Fridays in store, just as a way to give those customers first dibs on the new product. We’ve been doing that since we started in 2013.”

What advice would you give to someone starting their own small business?

“Don’t be afraid to fail and fail hard. The sooner you fail, [the sooner] you’re going to learn. Failure is to be expected. Sometimes as creatives we get in our head and we want everything to be perfect. Sometimes, we sit too long and we get married to the idea, and then we’re afraid to let it fly. Once I learned that I was going to produce a crazy amount of work, and it might have sucked, but people were going to love it, I learned to truly let it fly,” Vu said.

“Do it your way. The sooner you fail, the quicker you’ll figure out how to fix it.”

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