Local entrepreneurs live the Wild Life

Directly next to the Kountry Kart Deli and one short walk up the stairs reveals a sticker-ridden door bearing the name Wild Life.

Only a year old, Wild Life Clothing is home to roughly 20 exclusive brands in Burlington, including Products of Human Creativity, Burlington Virgin Threads, Where, Face (neck warmers), Silver Stream Jewelry and Coleno Apparel.

Dave Mullin and Ben Banks, former students of Champlain College and Lyndon State College respectively, both graduated with degrees in graphic design.

They went on to team up for the creation of The Sticky Brand a side company they own and manage on the same floor as Wild Life.

With a startup investment of $300, these two entrepreneurial spirits networked with local Burlington businesses and boutique stores in the area before they had the resources and contacts needed to open up Wildlife Clothing.

Considering their roots, the Wild Life crew collaborates to help other start-up brands and local Burlington businesses get the ball rolling.

Through representing apparel suppliers as vendors in their store, they give these brands a chance to break into the apparel world and expand their customer base.

An entrepreneur himself, sophomore Connor Nolans clothing line Coleno Apparel is represented in the store.

I told [Ben] I had just started a line recently, and had three designs on me, Nolan said. He was super into them and basically asked me if I wanted to throw a couple on sale in the store… theyre always so supportive of kids and local artists, and thats what I feel like its all about.

Mullin said they are always checking out up-and-coming trends in street wear, making a point to stay ahead of the curve and keep the Burlington style fresh.

The pair attended the Agenda Trade Show, which ran from Jan. 23-24, in order to network with representatives from other brands around the Northeast, Mullin said.

While the hyper-focus on local brands has served the shop well so far, Mullin said that moving forward, they are looking to include other companies beyond those native to Burlington.

In a business sense, we need to get more recognizable brands in order to be on-trend and on-par with everything else out there, he said.

By virtue of Burlingtons close social networking circle, Mullin and Banks said that they have realized that social media plays a big role in driving sales.

All we have is word of mouth and social media, Mullin said. We just hit 900 likes [on Facebook] with Sticky Brand right behind it.

Wild Life recently had another opportunity to showcase their products when hip-hop group The Pharcyde played at Higher Ground Jan. 29.

The Pharcyde participated in an in-store autograph signing with Scott Lavalla from local hip hop group The Lynguistic Civilians, who Wild Life officially sponsors.

They even wore Wild Life clothing at the show to further promote the shop, Mullin said.

Wild Life is offering a free Street Grape sticker for those who mention this article in their store on the second floor of 161 Main St.

To check out their shwag and photos, like Wild Life Clothing on Facebook.com/thewildlifeshop and follow its Instagram feed @thewildlifeshop.