EP18 - Building a Mission-Driven Fashion Brand with Nathan Coleman


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We all question ourselves at one point or another: Is this fashion launch going to work?

What if no one buys my product?

Am I sure I want to do this?

What if I fail?

We are always so afraid of failure, that sometimes it can truly stop any positive growth. I believe that you just have to jump into the deep end; because even if you hit rock bottom, you will find a way to launch yourself to the top.

In this episode of the FastTrack Your Fashion Brand Podcast, I’m talking with fashion entrepreneur Nathan Coleman about his journey of failing through male accessories to his breakthrough on Shark Tank. The beauty of fashion is that each person’s journey is different, but can offer useful advice for you so that you can FastTrack yourself to success without hitting the road bumps everyone else already has.


  • Why Nathan wanted to get into fashion
  • His journey from working at a chicken wing join to starting his own business
  • Success through failure
  • Inspiring others with a “feel good” purchase
  • Navigating through Shark Tank
  • Pillars of success

What made you want to start a clothing brand?

Surprisingly, Nathan wasn’t actually that into making a clothing brand, but he knew that he wanted to sell a product. His goal, like most of us, was to create something that he could see someone wearing. To walk passed someone on the street and know that “I made that” would define success for him. 

So, if he just wanted to build a product, then why choose fashion. Well, he was a nice dresser. Suit and tie, truly dressing for success, was a way of life for him. So, why not start there? 

We all have to start somewhere, where did you start?

After graduating from college, and continuing to work at a chicken wing joint, Nathan decided that he was going to create his own business in something he knew well, men’s accessories. 

He figured he was going to make ties, with some pretty dramatic fabrics since it wasn’t something that he had really seen on the market. But it became pretty clear why he hadn’t seen any. There wasn’t actually a demand for it; so his first business plan was a bit of a flop.

But, always fail up. Look at why you failed, and take something positive away from it. He gained business experience, learned the importance of sampling, of taking yourself out of the equation and figuring out what other people want.

When did it really click that you were going to start making Elephant Pants?

So, Nathan had gone to Thailand with some friends on vacation and had found these simple designs called “Elephant Pants” while shopping around. He brought some pairs home and handed them out to friends and family. And, when people began asking him if he had anymore, he realized there was a demand. 

He started searching around and couldn’t find anything similar online, so he decided that this would be his next venture. He already knew how to get a business up and running, but how could he make this stand out in such a saturated market? 

It was time to distinguish these pants and attach them to a cause. While in Thailand, he went to an elephant sanctuary, which exposed him to just how mistreated these animals really were.

So, time to take action. How could you empower people to make a difference, but make it effortless at the same time? Attach your brand to a charity and donate part of the proceeds. Now that the brand was up and running, where do you go from here?

Getting on Shark Tank

This is not as easy as it sounds. And, yet again Nathan failed to get on the show the first time. But, try, try, try again! He and his partner buffed up their video, gave it personality and really sold who they were; and then let the numbers speak for themselves.

This was a pinnacle moment for him and his company. It offered a sort of validation to what they had created and also helped expose their brand which brought them to new highs for sales as well.

The takeaway points

If there are 5 things that you should take away from Nathan’s experience, it is this: 

  1. Get feedback and actually listen to it
  2. Take your ego and personal opinions out of the equation
  3. Build something people actually want
  4. Respond and make changes based on suggestions
  5. Don’t take it personally

Alright my FastTrack fashionprenuers, it's time to start building your empire!


08:32-14:45 - Getting started and learning from failure

14:50-19:30 - Inspiration in the strangest of places

25:40-34:30 - The Shark Tank Experience

35:10-39:25 - The ripple effect

39:44-45:30 - Nathan’s advice to you

Meet Our Guest

Nathan Coleman, CEO of Elephant Pants

Be the person your dog thinks you are” has guided Nathan’s mindset from a very early age. From delivering chicken wings to running a $1 billion product category that makes your armpits smell like roses, Nathan’s path has been far from traditional. 

All of these experiences have led to his current mission, saving elephants via the most comfortable pants known to man. 

The Elephant Pants is his first step in making the world a safer place for animals everywhere by adding some style and comfort to the lives of their humans. 


INSTAGRAM: @nicole_di_rocco

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/nicoledirocco

PODCAST FB GROUP: www.facebook.com/groups/fasttrackyourfashionbrandpodcast

WEBSITE: www.fashionbizmentor.com

SUBMIT YOUR FASHION BIZ QUESTIONS: www.fashionbizmentor.com/breakthrough-coaching

SEE MY DESIGNS: www.mynicolita.com




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