“You’re willing to try new things because you don’t know that you shouldn’t be doing them, and sometimes you get lucky and they work. This can lead to surprisingly big breakthroughs.”
Fan Bi, the founder of Blank Label, is sharing his life story and his tips to become a Boston entrepreneur. Fan Bi claims he’s always up for a challenge.
Can you tell me about your background?
My background is a little all over the place. I was born in Shanghai, grew up in Sydney and came to Boston for school. I started college in Sydney, where I studied Economics, and then came to Boston for study abroad, at Babson College, and stayed afterwards.
When and why did you start Blank Label? Can you share the story behind it?
I started working on Blank Label in the dormrooms of Babson in 2009 and we officially launched in 2010. The idea was came about by connecting a couple of past experiences. I worked in London after high school and was introduced to custom there by my boss. It was such an incredible experience, and left me with a custom dress shirt which I still have to this day. A couple of years later when I was back in Shanghai, I got some custom clothes made, and it reminded me a lot of my London experience. Blank Label started because I believed custom could be more accessible than what my boss had paid for my dress shirt!
What is your vision for Blank Label?
Blank Label’s vision is to make custom the new standard by making personal fit more accessible. Men today care more about the way their clothes fit than ever before, but finding personal fit is still an inconvenient process, and we don’t believe it needs to be that way. We currently have two stores, one in Boston and one in Washington D.C. with plans to open several more over the next two years.
What is the hardest part of being a young Boston entrepreneur? And what is the most interesting part?
Experience is valuable, I’ve learned that through my experience at Blank Label. Being a young entrepreneur, there’s just a lot you don’t know, and that costs you. At the same time, you’re willing to try new things because you don’t know that you shouldn’t be doing them, and sometimes you get lucky and they work. This can lead to surprisingly big breakthroughs.
Who/what was inspired you to become the person you are today?
I’ll have to provide the cliche most people do when answering this question but it has to be my parents. To come from the projects of Shanghai, and provide what they did for our family drives me everyday.
What are your passions in life?
Outside of Blank Label, I have two big passions. One is basketball – in all of it’s forms, college, NBA, men’s, women’s, playing, watching. The other is retail. I love visiting stores, both in-person and online. I’m interested in how brands tell their story, how they merchandise, and what the service experience is like.
Please use one sentence to describe Boston!
The city is full of intelligent, passionate people who want the city to succeed.