Cerdo Clothing – you see the name everywhere. Stickers, ID holders, T-shirts, and, most of all, on Facebook. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a clothing line based in the Queen City of the South. But products aside, what is Cerdo clothing? What is it all about? The owner and founder, Kenneth Arceno gives us insight about Cerdo Clothing and being an entrepreneur.
032: What inspired you to start a shirt printing business?
Kenneth: I was planning to start the brand way back 2007, but because of college duties, it was not my first priority. I aimed to build a brand and not just an ordinary line.
Kenneth: Cerdo is Spanish for pork or pig. I was a chubby person and ever since I was in grade school people used to tease me. It seems funny, but I don’t remember a single moment when I got hurt from it. I used it as motivation. Chubby but happy, I might add by the way. I also wanted to show the street culture of Cebu through this brand.
032: When you started out, what was your vision for Cerdo clothing?
Kenneth: To be known in Cebu and the whole Philippines. To establish street credibility was the vision I hoped for my brand. Also, with the emergence of all kinds of clothing lines and the like, I aimed for non-generic themes for my shirt, wearable art that’s limited in quantity, to maintain the brand’s dignity.
032: Many established businesses had some problems early on. In your case, what were the obstacles you faced when you were starting out?
Kenneth: Honestly, I didn’t have that many major problems – maybe the pressure of wanting to have a line that people would like immediately by going with what’s generic or what’s “in.” Good thing, some really great people kept me on my feet and guided me. Honestly, this is still an ongoing education and a learning process. Thinking of new branding strategies is always on my mind.
Also, never start a business with a lover, regrets will come right after. Another minor thing is when you have work and business to attend to at the same time. It’s exhausting and very tempting to be lazy for a bit. But if you love what you’re doing it’s never going to be a problem. It’s just a matter of time management.
032:- How were you able to get pass those obstacles?
Kenneth: Getting some really good advice from some of Cebu’s badass designers and getting educated is very important. To mention a few, Aikee Vestil aka Burritomachine, Doyle See (Killapinas), Kaz Onozawa (Rhipstop), Carlo De Asis (Aframe Clothing), and one of the ZeroThreeTwo founders (Carlo Villarica). Honestly, I learned a lot from them. Also, seeing Nicolo Nimor’s success (Nick Automatic) inspired me. I was just one of their buyers, and until now, Nix still remembers me.
032: Many people want to start up businesses, but just can’t because of several factors. One of the main concerns is having the resources needed. How were you able to acquire the resources you needed to get things started?
Kenneth: I started from scratch, got everything from my savings, asked my mom for extra cash and I had to be resourceful. I think connections are very important. For me I think having online/social working sites is easier, but getting the nod of the public, getting approval from all the critics is like threading the eye of a needle. Passion before anything else. Honestly, there’s no direction if there’s no struggle. Also, start online, stay online. Even when struggling, you should always stay happy. I also avoid having shops because I prefer to interact with the buyers.
032: It’s been 3 years now, since Cerdo clothing came out. Can you describe to us how much it has grown in those three years?
Kenneth: I think our tagline “Unity. Progress. Movement.” is the biggest example I can give. A lot has changed, getting recognized, not only locally, but abroad. Quality prints, and designs. Getting a lot of friends along the way. Keeping it on the ground is still the motto. I know we’re not that popular like other lines, but I like I it that way. I’m not about fame, nor the fortune. It’s all about having fun and being happy with what I’ve been doing all along. I can do this forever.
032: Going forward, what are your plans for Cerdo clothing, your vision?
Kenneth: Keep moving forward. More bolder daring designs and getting out of our comfort zone. To be on par with the brands that I look up to.
Kenneth: Never be afraid to start something new. Trust your instincts. Never be afraid to ask for advice. Go for passion not just for the sake of fame and fortune. Life is not like the movies with happy endings and all that stuff. Work hard, stay humble, keep your feet on the ground. Build something that would last for a lifetime and not just because of a fad. I think that’s the best advice I can give.
032: Anybody you want to thank and words to the supporters of Cerdo Clothing?
Kenneth: I want to thank my friends, supporters (who from the start trusted my brand), my “team/crew” who always has my back, the artists, bands, brands who collaborated with me and believed in me since day one. I also want to thank all those who took the time to read this interview, and to ZeroThreeTwo for featuring it.
To the supporters of Cerdo Clothing, I say “It doesn’t matter if we’re struggling as long as we’re happy with what we’re doing.”