New York is lookin' good
Yaron Bernstein has built Good Looks New York from the ground up with help from UB alumni Trevor Titley and Anthony Calagna. Courtesy of Good Looks New York
After his third semester as an aerospace engineering major at UB, Yaron Bernstein had an epiphany: he was not following his dream. Instead of staying in Buffalo and finishing his four-year undergraduate career, Bernstein did what most students are too afraid to do.
He dropped out.
Bernstein knew the only way to make his dream of being an entrepreneur come true would be to go back to his hometown, New York City, and devote all his time and effort into owning his own clothing business, Good Looks New York.
"I was not keen on the thought of having a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job that I wouldn't love," Bernstein said.
During the summer of 2011, Bernstein got right to business and sold several hundred of his first T-shirts, which he calls the "Original Gangster Tees."
"They have become a symbol of the people who have been with us from the very beginning, and was the first step in really getting our name out there," Bernstein said. Bernstein wanted the name of his brand to emulate the NYC urban culture he grew up in. That's how he came up with Good Looks New York, which has become a multi-dimensional company specializing in music, men and women's fashion and event production and management.
Bernstein is not the only mastermind behind the company. He works with two other 22-year-old UB alumni: Trevor Titley and Anthony Calagna. Titley is Bernstein's business partner and Calagna serves as his business consultant.
"The best part of our business is that it is a cultural collective," Bernstein said. "We are able to define our interests through our brand and so the brand really becomes a symbol of the things that we support and that inspire us."
Titley joined Good Looks New York during its early stages of development. He helped with the social media campaign during its clothing line days.
"I was intrigued and saw the enormous potential," Titley said. "I put my foot in the door by constantly suggesting ideas ... eventually I made it so I was an invaluable asset and was asked to come aboard as an equal partner."
Calagna and Titley met back in middle school when they became teammates on their high school's football team. Calagna considered Titley one of his closest friends in high school.
Calagna was later introduced to Bernstein through Titely and the trio was formed. Though the company is still developing - it hit the scene one year ago - there have been many obstacles and triumphs.
"Our biggest obstacles, I have to say, are the legalities of everything ... opening a new business without any prior experience is a mine field," Titley said. "It was not something we went over in my health communication class, but I have overcome these obstacles by doing my due diligence. And a special shout out to Google that seems to have the answers to everything."
Good Looks New York is off to a solid start with the signing of musical artists like MitiS from Philadelphia, Pa. and Eyes Everywhere, a Buffalo DJ.
Its most recent event was at Broadway Joe's. The trio coordinated the first Good Looks New York Showcase.
"The turnout was astounding and our artists played some really incredible sets for those in attendance," Calagna said.
The trio hopes to continue hosting successful events. The crowd's enjoyment makes the team strive to do more.
Good Looks New York's journey and success has been flourishing. With a fall clothing line on the way, the NYC/Buffalo promotion and nightlife under its belt with many other projects under way, the company is just getting warmed up, according to the trio.
Being co-owners in a competitive industry with little to no prior business experience may seem daunting to many, but it is not for this group of entrepreneurs. Every day, Titley and Bernstein are out networking and promoting the company and the artists it manages, according to Calagna.
They believe now more than ever anything is possible as success continues to come from the company's great efforts.
"We have a number of big things presently in negotiation, but those have to remain secret for the time being," Calagna said. "I can say, however, that Buffalo may be in for a surprise from Good Looks New York in the next few months."
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