Brothers, Jonathan & Alex Torrey, were born in California, bounced around and ended up in Athens, Georgia. Their parents, both teachers, rooted in them the strong belief that every kid deserves a chance; it’s not about geography, colour, or creed. The brothers are maniacally, relentlessly, and zealously passionate about empowering kids to unleash their creativity. Inspired by the raw confidence in a kid’s drawing, they design every silhouette detail, handpick the world’s most freakishly soft fabrics—all the way down the yarn—partner with supremely skilled clothworkers, and screen print the brand’s signature Artwork by hand to create their elevated fashion basics despite not having much fashion experience (zero to be exact). They are redefining the lines.
1.How did you come up with the idea for Umano?
Our parents are educators. My brother and I knew we wanted to be social entrepreneurs and start a business together. We didn’t have a business plan but we knew from the get-go that our mission was going to be empowering kids. Their is so much energy and a raw confidence in a kid’s drawing and we wanted to create perfect fashion basics to showcase it. So our giveback just made sense. With every product you purchase, Umano will give a backpack full of school supplies to empower a kid. We are not about “handouts” the word “empower” is extremely important to us because we believe in the unlimited potential of a kid’s creativity. Kids are capable of creating their own path to success if they have the proper tools. knowing absolutely nothing about fashion, we definitely took a leap of faith (ignorance truly is bliss) and dove right into the cutthroat industry. We are super excited to see what the future holds for Umano.
2.What makes it different from buying regular clothes?
Everything. it starts with kid’s art. We like to call them Artists with a capital “A” and our one rule for Artwork (also capital “A”) is to maintain the integrity of drawing. You can meet all of the Artists on umano.com and even send them an encouraging note to keep up their awesome work. furthermore, with every purchase, we give a backpack full of school supplies to empower a kid to unleash their creativity. last but certainly not least, we literally travelled the world and went all the way down to the yarn level to develop our unmatched, signature fabric.
3.How did your experience on shark tank help you and your business?
Shark tank was an incredible opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of art education. We gained thousands of email subscribers and our sales have skyrocketed, which means puts us in a great spot to reach out 20,000 backpack giving goal this year (what we’re most pumped about!).
4.How has Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner been as investors and sharks?
We haven’t had the chance to work with them yet but look forward to.
5.What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who want to start a business?
Make sure you are really, really, really passionate about what you do. Because the only thing you have control of sometimes is there fire in your belly.
We would like to thank Jonathan and Alex for speaking with us.