Sagrado alumnus and founder of Suxess Clothing, Luis Rodríguez, provides advice to students in the “Entrepreneurship Project: Ideation Phase” course.
By Liz Yanira Del Valle Huertas
“Don’t think about it too much. Start little by little. Do not be afraid to activate your network of friends and acquaintances”. With these words, Luis Rodríguez – founder of the Suxess Clothing line of caps – advised the students of the “Entrepreneurship Project: Ideation Phase” (EMP 113) course, which is taught at Sagrado.
Thanks to an invitation by Professor Lillian Agosto, this Sagrado alumnus was able to share with the students how he developed his entrepreneurship idea organically since he was 16 years old.
“The skills acquired in this field have served me not only in developing the brand and establishing the business, but also in my personal life. I advise you not to overthink it. To the extent that you can, make your production line in Puerto Rico. Open an account on Instagram, shoot several photos of your product and you’ll see. You’ll grow motivated,” said the 27-year-old designer and entrepreneur, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising, during his virtual speech.
Rodríguez took his first steps in fashion entrepreneurship when he was in high school by creating a line of t-shirts. Later, he started the Puerto Rican cap line informally, and had a very good reception. Today, Suxess Clothing features countless designs from local artists.
“I see success as something very personal. Not everyone achieves it in the same way. It is from that thought that the name Suxess arose, whose official launch took place in 2013 when I began to sell in stores,” explained the artist who lives between Puerto Rico and New York.
His line came to have a fixed point of purchase in a local shopping center but, always the visionary, Rodríguez chose to continue selling in his online store.
Later on, he didn’t feel very comfortable about the time constraints to create his projects. This is when he left his full-time job to dedicate himself fully to the design business and to develop his own advertising agency. Determination was good enough, but he did not count with the arrival of Hurricane María. “The situation led me to value the sales of the caps in the U.S. and international markets. We weren’t up for that in the Island.” he said.
That transitional moment influenced his decision to seek new experiences in New York without imagining that the COVID-19 pandemic would come later. “Despite everything, the product continues to sell very well,” he said.
The brand has achieved collaborations with renowned companies and participation in international and local exhibitions, as well as support from public figures, among which are comedian Chente Ydrach -who always wears his caps- and North American presenter Samantha Bee.
During this frank conversation, Rodríguez answered questions from students about the relationship with suppliers, how to manage the production line, and marketing, among others.
As for Professor Agosto, she indicated that the “Entrepreneurship Project: Ideation Phase” course is part of Sagrado’s new academic project. In this class, students become immersed in their field of study, an analysis that allows them to identify areas of opportunity. After learning about entrepreneurship as a process, this experience emphasizes the ideation component and addresses design thinking tools, idea generation, and the solution of real problems all around. Finally, each student elaborates the idea and conceptualization of an entrepreneurship project from the perspective of their academic discipline.