Business Name and what it does;
In Diaza Sportswear we create high quality soccer uniforms for any team that wants to bring a unique image to their players and fans. An experience where we differentiate our teams from the rest, we focus on helping teams with social media, marketing and e-commerce. A whole new image to the soccer apparel game.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business:
My name is Diego Hurtado. I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Coming from a very humble place at the age of 17, I moved to the United States, more specifically to Miami, Florida. I had to make big moves, and take a lot of chances that changed his life. However, unlike I predicted, I was never discouraged. I came from nothing, and I was always happy when I was in Bogota. I never felt like I was poor or at a disadvantage, although I was, but I was actually having a great life back home, Maybe because I was too young to understand life. When I arrived in Miami, I arrived in paradise. Every single thing was perfect, even working at the car wash in 95 degree weather, getting $70 dollars at the end of the day was phenomenal for me.
I never thought to myself that I would rather be somewhere else, I was exactly where I was meant to be.
The time came where I had to learn English and start a new high school. Not only was there a language barrier but there was also another culture I had to get used to. I was very charismatic back home, I used to have a lot of friends and laugh with anybody. But, in my first high school I didn’t fit, not even with any hispanic group that spoke the same language as me. All until I got into a soccer field. Back at home I was a tremendous soccer player who was already training with the Pros at the age of 17.
I remember scoring 3 goals in my first senior high school game. That was the moment I knew I had potential to go to a college, even though many of my teammates told me it was impossible, too hard to do, I wanted to get a scholarship that allowed me to do what I loved to do most, playing soccer. But it was not as easy as it sounded. Having to support his family, working, studying and training/playing soccer at the same time was getting the best of me.
Imagine a 17 year old kid, going to school then heading off to soccer practice right after, and working at the movie theaters until 1:30 am just to make ends meet and the next day repeat.
But it didn’t matter, Somehow it happened. College was waiting for me. After playing 4 years of college, trying to still fit in on a culture that saw me as different, not speaking english was very tough, but after graduating I went to the pros and after going from city to city, after years trying to always get to the higher level possible MLS. Once again I faced rejection, after rejection, I ended up signing a contract, and 3 months later they told me there was no place for me on the team. There was always something, It was either that or they removed the team from the league.I played second division, third division, but never made it to the MLS, “the big leagues”
I felt my soccer career was going down instead of going up, I needed another plan. I was always a hustler, selling everything that could come my way, until they offered me a job with a startup brand. I worked for them selling uniforms and I started to reach out to everyone I knew from my soccer career.The brand was taking off, everyone wanted those new “customized jerseys” but production was too slow, workers didn’t really have the time or the sources to build a brand. I learned the basics and moved on to create my own brand. I knew the people I was working with didn’t have the same desire, the same hustle and mentality I had, I knew I had to move on and make it on MY own if that was what it truly meant.
My family back home worked in a small clothing business,I asked them if they could make a better version of the jerseys that I was promoting, and they did. They came out even better than the other Jerseys where I used to work for.
My family and I were working together, making soccer uniforms from Colombia and selling them in the US. My motivation was always soccer, the love for the game and not being able to accomplish 100% of my dreams as a player left me with that sour feeling. I didn’t want to leave soccer, my passion, everything I thought about since I was a kid. I needed to work in the soccer industry, selling uniforms, creating my own brand, my own identity, this was the scariest decision but I had to take the risk, and I did.
The challenges the business/market is facing:
I believe there are many challenges, in any industry, if you really want to make it out there and for people to recognize your name you have to face a great amount of obstacles. Competition is one of the bigger ones, when you start from zero you don’t have the same sources that these big companies have. You have to come out with a plan that makes you somehow different.
Growing could become a big challenge if you do not know how to approach your clients or how to retain them. When you get bigger and bigger, hiring the right people with the right knowledge and the same passion behind the brand is very challenging.
The apparel world now is facing big challenges with the supply chain, shipping rates are skyrocketing.I can keep naming many many more, but to be honest I love challenges, if it doesn’t challenge me it doesn make me better, every challenge in my life I have overcome, and fail or win, always learn, move forward and do better.
The opportunities the business/market is facing;
Soccer is just getting started in this country. There is so much potential in the soccer industry from teams, to leagues, events, apparel whatever that has to do with soccer will become bigger and bigger in the US the next 8 years. The biggest sports event will take place this year in December, and in 4 years it will be here in the UNITED STATES. I will say that for the next 8 years all we are going to talk about is soccer and to me it doesn’t get better. This is the biggest opportunity for anybody that wants to be part of the soccer business now.
Teams joining leagues, leagues being formed, professional soccer being played almost in all states, Now is the time to be in the soccer market.
I just think you need to have knowledge of the game and how the system works here, because it is very different from other countries, it is not the same, and if you know the system and you investin it completely, it could hurt you. We have seen it with many investors around the second and third division, coming in the industry and expecting one thing and the result is totally different.
Advice to others about business:
My biggest advice in business just like in life is that you have to be disciplined.
Talent, passion, liking something, thinking you have the best product, the best idea means nothing if you don’t take action, then when you take action, if you don’t stay disciplined and work your hours on your business you won’t find success.
Ideas mean nothing, actions mean everything. When you build a business it is like it never stops, you cannot be relaxed, if you dont wake up thinking about your business, your next move, maybe you are not putting that effort, to me you have to be obsessed. It is not enough if you are doing it just to do it.
Whose life are you changing? Who are you inspiring? Is your life getting better because of the decisions you make?
Owning a business is like a roller coaster, it has its ups and downs, but it will always have obstacles, something that you need to get better at, you cannot commit if you are not constantly learning, you can not be better if you do not face your failures and weaknesses, face them, fix them and move on.
Be polite with your clients and the people you do business with, even if they are not, it doesn’t matter.
Have zero expectations on anybody or anything, go do everything to close that deal, but dont think it is the last one you ever going to have.
Do not compromise your standards for nobody, nobody will understand what you want, the dreams you want to accomplish, set high standards and don’t compromise them for anything.
Have faith, everything is going to work if you put in the work. If you are disciplined enough, it will work. Just like Pitbull said once; people call me lucky all the time, but they do not know the harder I work the luckier I get.
And one last thing, nothing really matters in this life, do not think everything is so important, because it is not. It is just a game that we all play, called life, play it, have fun, make some money.
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