EAT SLEEP RACE(TM) is the brand that I created and it represents a lifestyle that all dedicated racers live.
13 years ago I created a design for my grassroots drag racing team that translated into EAT SLEEP RACE (3-box design — the first box with a plate with a fork and knife, the second box with a bed, and the third with a civic hatchback with a parachute)
Back then I originally created this design exclusively for the team (Team Alpha out of NJ) and all of the members wore this design on team t-shirts and put the stickers on their cars. This would unkowingly be my first experience at marketing a brand that I would create 3 years later. At the time our drag racing team was the fastest street car team in the tri-state and at a local level we were notorious at events (drag races and car shows) and street races. As time went by more and more people at the events would ask if they can buy the shirts and stickers with my design on them and I would turn them down because I meant for it to be exclusive to our team.
Time went by and I started seeing renditions of my design being sold at car shows and racing events by vendors who made their own versions that looked similar to mine; all they did was change the last box to random things like Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford (which doesn’t even make sense because you can’t EAT SLEEP FORD?). At that point a lightbulb went off in my head and made me realize that other people were making money off of my idea.
A little history first. I grew up following my older brother’s lead (now also my business partner) and my interests were influenced by his. He was the one who put me onto 90’s hip hop and fashion. I loved the hip hop culture and immersed myself into the 4 elements (DJ’ing, break dancing, Graffitti, MC’ing). I gave each element my try (not much MC’ing) and break danced (more like tried) with my classmates, DJ’ed with my brothers equipment, and had my black book for my sketches. I educated and cultured myself by reading magazines like The Source and watching videos of DJ and Dance battles.
My passion for design started with my graffitti sketches and led to me learning how to design on my Packard Bell computer. I taught myself all of my computer graphic design knowledge to this day. Back in high school I taught myself HTML to make websites and learned how to design on programs like Adobe Photoshop and Flash.
My brother is also the reason for my love for cars and racing. When he started doing mods to his first car is when I started picking up car magazines at the book stores. He took me to the events and street races with his friends and from then I was hooked.
I loved racing and at that time my life revolved around racing. We were at the events on the weekends, street races on week nights, in friends garages wrenching, or hanging out in parking lots with our cars. For the times i wasn’t in school or immersed in cars I also had (and still do) a passion for limited edition sneakers (mainly Nikes and Jordans) and streetwear.
So, ultimately 9 years ago I started a brand that combined what I loved –Cars/racing, kicks/clothes, and graphic design.
These are 2 of the first designs I printed for the brand with a couple hundred bucks i saved up not knowing if anyone would even buy them. I was in college for business but had no real business experience other than reselling sneakers on eBay. The naturally aspirated design colorway was done to match my first civic and the booze and boost design was done to match most jordans and influenced by a shirt I bought at Supreme (a skate store in NYC).
I started by asking my friends and team mates in my grass roots drag racing team if they would preorder them at my cost just so I could afford to get the minimum amount that the printer wanted me to order. I folded and bagged every shirt myself and hand wrote the sizes on name tag stickers that I cut into small pieces. I stored the shirts in my parents garage and hustled them at Englishtown Raceway Park with the help of my friends and family. I designed eatsleeprace.com to start a blog for the brand and learned how to set up an e-commerce site on my own. With the profit from these shirts I reinvested the money into new designs and eventually after a bout a year outgrew my parents garage and moved my inventory to my friend’s basement.
One of the first turning points for the brand was when 2 mainstream magazines featured a few of my designs around the same time of the year and orders started rolling in on my online store. At that point the brand outgrew NJ and started growing in the US and internationally with brands coming in from around the world. I quickly outgrew my friend’s basement and moved into my first warehouse which was a 3,000 sq ft garage at a lumber yard with concrete floor that water and dirt leaked through. At this point cash flow was tight and I now had overhead and needed money to keep up with the demand. I brought on 2 partners, my brother Francis Mabutas and friend Hugo Han who I knew could help me build the brand. A year or so later we moved into our warehouse that we are in now that houses our inventory, office, and show room.
Our goal is to become the leading racing lifestyle apparel brand in the world and I’m looking forward to the future.
E-Commerce Site: EATSLEEPRACE.COM