The Jay-Z of Design
So not too long ago I made a declaration to retire from ALL design work. I was fed up with the way I was going about it. I was tired of the nickeling and diming..attracting clients that were looking for the cheapest option.
I had to take my power back. I refused to let the the thousands of dollars and hours spent investing in my craft be thrown to the waste side.
I attended SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) back in 2009, and I had a professor who would not give me a damn break!
There were 2 things he said that always stuck with me:
1. I need to learn how to focus.
2. No one would hire me because my work is too “urban”.
I took his words on the chin, and ran head first into adulthood…and was soon blindsided by the hard truth. I really did have a problem with focusing, and it resulted in me dabbling in all sorts of things, like Apparel Design, Motion Graphics, Web Development, Photography, Videography, and Set Design. I know I started (and abandoned) at least 10 businesses along the way…and I had some wins like:
Being contacted by Diddy and his team, and working on merch for the Bad Boy Reunion Tour
Dj Khaled collab that almost happened
Missy Elliott’s stylist contacting me to send merch for her dancers
Working with Cupcake Mafia in NY, and actually getting to see some work I designed on Missy Elliott
Peep the kid dancers’ sweatshirts
Getting millions of impressions on my entertainment blog page 99 and the 2000s
Cute…but I needed these numbers in my bank account
Creative direction and merch design for LightSkin Keisha’s first pop-up shop
but with all this social recognition and “potential collaborations”, there was little to no money involved. In hindsight, I feel like my attention was in the wrong place. Instead of me being focused on providing a service that people need, I always felt like I had to prove my worth…taking on impossible tasks/projects in order to feel valuable.
I didn’t know how to make money as a designer, I just knew how to be “cool”… how to make people like what I’m doing. That’s a great skill to have as an artist, but as a business owner, I had to learn it’s about that bottom line at the end of the day. That’s it!
You cant feed your family off of exposure
I took so many marketing courses, signed up for all the “guru” newsletters, watched and read all the content in the world trying to figure it out. After almost 10 years of failure, I came to the conclusion that I should switch it up.
What I had to understand is that I didn’t need to mask who I was. My professor said no one would hire me and honestly he was right, but I feel like we live in a time now where all self-expression is accepted. I just needed to figure out where I fit in. I might be too weird or “out there” for corporate, but the place my creativity has been met with open arms is with black people. Black women to be exact.
One thing about black women…We are gonna support each other!
and recently I’ve been receiving a lot of love that has helped me restore my faith in designing for others.
One of the first projects I took on after coming out of “retirement” was for my girl Vee. She’s starting a school for cosmetologists to further their education. I really enjoyed helping deliver her logo the way she envisioned it. She and her business partner loved it, and their joy was so infectious it inspired me to send them a business-warming gift.
Another dope soul I have the pleasure of working with is my girl Babs. She came through at the most perfect timing. It was right after I quit my job and I prayed to God for the perfect business partner. Us linking back up was definitely divine alignment. I’m really excited about what we are building! She just launched a travel agency, called That Travel Social and our first trip is to NYC.
So what all this has taught me is …
Check out my Design Work
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