12Qs with Andy Dang
Meet Andy Dang – Toronto born and raised, sneakerhead, designer & successful creative entrepreneur. He has set a new standard in creativity through social media, fashion and online marketing not to mention behind some of Instagram’s most influential accounts. We chat with this new father about life, business and his favourite go-to pizza shop in town.
1. Tell us about Andy, where are you from, what do you do, give us the run-down.
My name is Andy Dang and I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I’m an entrepreneur working primarily in the digital space.
2. Congrats to you and your wife on the newest addition to your family, your son Marcus! How has having the little guy in your life impacted your work routine? Mind giving us an insight into your new balancing act?
Thank you! Having a newborn impacts my work routine in a sense that now I just have to plan my days out better to ensure I have time to do everything I normally do while also taking care of and spending time with him. It helps that my wife works closely with me so we both split the responsibility of raising a baby.
3. What do you think is the most important thing to remember when entering a networking situation with fellow creatives?
I think that it is best to just be yourself. Be ready to just put yourself out there and be open to meeting and talking to new people. It seems simple enough but I know it can still be difficult for many people.
4. If you were asked to create the recipe for an engaging social media post, what would the main ingredients be?
High-quality image, 5:4 crop, story post to build anticipation, a caption that promotes engagement such as a question or just a caption that makes your following feel more connected to you (more likely to like & comment) and lastly share the new post to your story.
5. How did you get started with your @yeezyrotation account and how do you keep up with the demands and fast pace environment of social media? Do you feel that it was easier to get started on Instagram a few years back vs today?
I used to own a sneaker page called @certifiedshots that featured mainly Jordans. When I saw the early rise of the Yeezy brand. I thought it was a good idea to create a page that was dedicated to Yeezys. I started @yeezyrotation and used @certifiedshots to promote and grow it faster. I had gotten a really good offer for @certifiedshots when it hit 400K followers so I decided to sell it a couple of years back. The beauty of owning a fan/feature account is that you’re consistently featuring other people’s work so it’s easy to “create content” as you’re not really creating content at all. It was most definitely easier to grow on Instagram years ago vs now. It could just be that every field is very saturated so new pages don’t get much shine as there are thousands of other similar pages that have already done it before. Not to mention battling the IG algorithm.
6. What are THREE things that inspire you on the daily?
The fact that I don’t have a typical 9-5 and work on my own schedule alone inspires me to continue to work hard so I don’t ever have to answer to anyone. My peers that I’ve met through social media inspire me as the social media grind never stops. Lastly, I now get inspiration from my son. Spending time with him reminds me that I have to work to make sure he has the best life possible.
7. Where do you see your projects leading you in 5-10 years down the road?
I hope to continue to grow my multiple businesses so I can keep investing in real estate. Most of my businesses are online and in the realm of social media. I’ve always planned to take my income from those businesses and put it into real estate.
8. Being a sneakerhead, which brand do you prefer – Nike or Addidas? What is your favourite all-time sneaker?
Nike over Adidas but I still rock Adidas. My favourite all-time sneaker is the Olympic Jordan 7.
9. Not only are you running a creative studio business, continuing to build your brand, raising a son, being a husband, but you also have a clothing company called TIGER SHVRK! Was TIGER SHVRK a passion project turned lucrative business that you decided to continue growing? What’s the origin story of that brand?
Tiger Shvrk started as a passion project. I was always into fashion growing up, namely streetwear. I always felt like there was a gap in the streetwear industry where quality streetwear was too expensive for the average consumer. The idea behind my brand was that I was going to make high-quality cut & sewn pieces at affordable prices that can be mixed with either high fashion or expensive streetwear brands. I designed all the pieces myself and made all the fits with my preferences in mind. When I released it online and told my following about it, it just happened to take off. The brand started October 1st, 2015 and we’ve been releasing a new product every week since the very beginning.
10. What is the most valuable experience you have gained through social media and mentoring others?
The most valuable experience I’ve gained through social media is learning how to start and build an online business from scratch. This includes all aspects of the business like product development, marketing, photography, website, fulfilment etc. The most valuable experience I’ve gained through mentoring others is learning how to lead and teach other young entrepreneurs based on all the knowledge I’ve learned through trial and error through the years.
11. How important is it to you that your social media image be a reflection of your true IRL self?
I used to only show my sneakers. When my page started it was just a sneaker blog. It probably took about 2 years before I started posting my full outfit but still hiding my face. I think in the last 3 years I’ve made my life more and more public and connected with my following so they can see exactly who I am and what I’m like in real life. I think it is really important to make sure who you portray yourself online as closely to your IRL self as possible
12. Toronto is jam-packed with countless hot spots for eats, lounging, and everything else! If you had to narrow it down, what would be your favourite go-to spot be in the city?
If I had to pick only one place as my go-to spot in Toronto, it would have to be a little Italian restaurant on College street called Regina’s Pizzeria. My family has been ordering veal sandwiches from there for over 15 years. I highly recommend it!
Connect with Andy Dang