Informal Balance: Creating New Apparel for the Love of Art
DeShawn Williams and Saba Alzaid started Informal Balance, an apparel company, in State College during the fall of 2013. Williams is a senior majoring in criminology. Alzaid is a recent biology graduate who works as a quality control chemist at a research facility. The two decided to start the business when they realized that they both enjoyed creating art and designs as a hobby, and friends suggested that some of their work would look good on apparel.
Determining the name of their company was a challenge, they discovered the name that they initially had planned on using was taken; eventually they settled on a unique name, Informal Balance.
At Informal Balance they have a unique way of creating their designs on canvas, then transferring that work onto their apparel. They do this by taking photographs of their work and then uploading it to the computer where they edit it and send it off to a manufacturer who will put their designs on the clothing. Williams sees creating his work on canvas as a challenge because you only get one chance when working on canvas. One mistake and the entire canvas is ruined and must be thrown away, something that can be hard to do as a student on a tight budget with a startup company.
The primarily urban designs are entirely unique creations that come from both Williams and Alzaid. Alzaid says that she likes creating designs that utilize loud colors and bold shapes, always wanting to add more to her ever-evolving works of art. Williams on the other hand comes up with more abstract concepts citing influences like Frank Sinatra, cooking, and urban designs.
One of the biggest challenges with starting a business has been creating exposure for their product. Informal Balance uses primarily social media and word-of-mouth to reach their customer base. They have a presence on multiple social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and their own website. The Informal Balance team believes in good customer service and creating a product that is personalized to each individual customer. They individually package and customize each order, even hand delivering orders to local customers.
Williams and Alzaid say that they started the company as a way of financing their hobby of creating art and designs due to the costs of canvas and paint. It is something they set out to do because they love doing it, not necessarily to generate revenue.
Video: What Does it Mean?
The story behind the name of the company. How Saba and Deshawn settled on naming their company Informal Balance, and some of the difficulties they faced in trying to find a name that appropriately fit the style of their business. Saba explains the meaning of Informal Balance, how she interprets it, and how it fits the image of their company.