Never Follow Trends sits down with Mikki, owner of QUEENS FINEST. Mikki has built a well known brand, from barbershops to apparel. Get to know him...
1. Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Woodside, Queens.
2. You've had a successful barber shop business for many years, when and where did you open your first shop? My first shop was actually my Mom's house. The infamous "basement", is where I learned and met a lot of friends and customers. I eventually moved up the block to a real barbershop called, "STREET CUTS".
3. When did clothing become a part of the Queens Finest brand? QUEENS FINEST started with a few of my friends rockin' stickers on our modified hooked up cars. My truck, (Pathfinder) and my boys car were invited to be in a Funk Flex car show, so we decided to represent with a few QUEENS FINEST t-shirts. People liked the logo, and we took off from there!
4. Who were some of your innovators and trendsetters you respected back in the day coming up? For the barbershops, Astor Place, Heads Ain't Ready, and Crazy Cutz were the innovators of the game. I always respected them. On the clothing side, of course, Queens School Of Hardknocks (Von's) and Elements Of Style (EOS) were the clothing companies I looked up to and tried to follow their style.
5. What makes Queens Finest different from other brands ? EXCLUSIVE. You have to know somebody that knows somebody to get the clothes. At least I'd like to think that it is, lol. The designs are simple, but it's all about the representation. It's not about me, or the barbershop, it's more about the whole borough of QUEENS.
6. Favorite sports teams? My favorite teams are the ones I make a Queens logo out of, Rangers, Jets, Giants, and Knicks. I like the Yankees too, but I have to rep for my Queens team, the Mets of course.
7. Favorite musicians? My favorite rappers are Nas and NORE.
8. One person in the world living or deceased that you could have 15 minutes to sit down with and pick their brain, who would it be? One person I would love to sit down with is P-DIDDY, aka Puff Daddy. That dude is a straight businessman that came from nothing.
9. Where do you see the Queens Finest brand in the next 5 years? In the next 5 years, I would love to see QUEENS FINEST in other stores, making more than just streetwear. People always ask me to make club gear to go out, but I don't think I'm ready for it yet. I'll be satisfied if I'm in the same place in 5 years, as long as I know that people are still reppin' Queens as hard as I do.
10. What's the biggest piece of advice you can give a small business owner who's building their brand from the ground up? My advice to small business owners is this: "YOU HAVE TO SHOW LOVE TO GET LOVE". Go to events, shake hands, show your face, talk to people, show them that you're cool and capable of blowing up. It's the little things that people notice.