Eli Zied builds brand with over 300,000 Instagram followers

Eli Zied poses with Habits 365 T-shirt. Photo credit: Eli Zied
Eli Zied poses with Habits 365 T-shirt.
Eli Zied poses with Habits 365 T-shirt. Photo credit: Eli Zied

What kind of habits should a person create for themselves? This is the question that junior entrepreneurship major Eli Zied asked himself five years ago when he started his company, Habits 365.

Habits sells T-shirts, hoodies, pants, shorts, hats, leggings and other clothing apparel. All of the items have the Habits 365 signature writing that reminds people to create good habits in their life, 365 days of the year.

“I didn’t want to start a brand unless it could relate to every single person in the world,” Zied said. “ I just wanted it to be a community with like-minded individuals with the message in their head to create these better habits. Once you have better habits, your lifestyle improves drastically.”

Zied started the company as a 15-year-old high school student in New York. While he started small, he’s dedicated a lot of time to get the brand to where it is today.

“I remember he put all the money that he made towards the brand and building it,” Ethan Downes, Zied’s friend and film and television major at Fordham University, said. “I had some of the very first pieces that he did come out with.”

Since launching the brand five years ago, the company has grown tremendously. With over 300,000 followers on Instagram and a big emphasis on social media marketing, Zied even got celebrities like Floyd Mayweather, Jamie Foxx and Dwayne Wade to wear his clothing.

Eli Zied shows off Habits 365 website QR code outside of pop-up shop.
Eli Zied shows off Habits 365 website QR code outside of pop-up shop. Photo credit: Eli Zied

“I was just like ‘wow, my brand could actually be something, it has so much potential now because people can see this huge person,’” Zied said.

Moving forward, Zied wants to focus on selling streetwear exclusively. This rebrand idea came to him as he realized that his website wasn’t specialized in one area. With over 60 products ranging from fitness to casual apparel, he wanted to make sure that customers had a more clear vision of what to expect from the brand.

“I think high luxury streetwear is where we’re headed,” Zied said. “We want to make it more global and I feel like streetwear is more global than fitness.”

Balancing a business like Habits 365 with school doesn’t always feel like a balance, Zied said. He has to decide what he is going to prioritize working on each day.

“It’s really not simple and you know, it’s sacrifices,” Zied said. “But I’ve made it work for myself because we’re a digital brand. I don’t even have to have my computer, I can go away and still run my business from my phone.”

Although Zied originally started Habits on his own, he quickly partnered with his brother, who is a UM alum. Over the years, the two brothers have downsized their number of employees, as they realized they could do a lot of the manual work on their own. They went from 10 to 15 employees to now having only five or six on payroll.

“He’s been dedicated from the start,” Downes said. “He had a vision and it slowly manifested. He took the process step by step.”

As an entrepreneur, Zied has experienced what it’s like to start a business. However, he also understands the amount of work it takes to make the business successful. What he feels differentiates a good business owner is persistence.

“It’s really not hard to start a business,” Zied said. “However, you have to be really patient and not expect results. Literally nobody is an overnight success.”

In addition to Zied’s undeniable hard work, he also is extremely detail-oriented when it comes to his brand, Downes said. Every decision he makes is carefully thought out to ensure it aligns with the overall message of the company.

“He comes up with new products that aren’t necessarily the same with a bunch of other brands,” Downes said. “He tries to find unique styles, designs, [and] patterns that describe his brand as a whole, rather than just putting out a line or a piece of clothing that just has a name and color. It’s a lot deeper than just the surface level appearance.”

In the future, Zied would love to work for a company in marketing or finance and have Habits become passive income. For now, he will continue working on the brand, which has just become a normal part of his life, he said.

“Seeing other people wear my brand is the best feeling for me and especially seeing people wear my brand in-person,” Zied said. “I saw a few kids wearing it around campus and I didn’t even know them, so that’s the best feeling I’d say.”

Students and interested individuals can purchase Habits 365 merchandise on habits365.com.