In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing. Long gone are the days where you go to college, get a good job, work there for forty years, retire, and put your kids through college to do the same. For much of the generation of college students that graduated during the economic recession entrepreneurship became the natural course of action where paying entry level jobs were a myth, and many were still living at home incapable of living on their own. My personal Instagram is filled with young black people who have started their own businesses in the form of social media marketing, premium hair weave, event planning and promotion, and especially t-shirt lines.
I’m all for entrepreneurship, especially in the black community, but I wonder why the owners of t-shirt companies label themselves fashion designers. I would call them more of a graphic designer, with the fashion designer being the person that designed the actual t-shirt the image is printed on. There is no shade here, but mostly I want to know why they don’t aim higher. Why don’t they aim to create more than just the image that goes on a Fruit of the Loom t- shirt?
Maybe Kanye West was on to something when he went on his rant about how African Americans limit themselves in fashion to making t-shirts and that things won’t change until someone comes in and shakes things up. I’m still not on board with his method of delivery or the means by which he chooses to gain that equality, but his message was on point.
My message to you is that you are capable of more. You had the wherewithal to start a brand, a company, a label, so don’t stop there. Venture to create more. Push the creative boundaries of your mind to develop more than a t-shirt concept. Push for your name to be on the inside tag of your shirt. Don’t just stop at what’s familiar and comfortable. In order to be successful you have to get uncomfortable with being comfortable. Nothing worth having was ever achieved easily. So how hard are you willing to work to have more? If you’ve already invested time and money into graphic design, why not go another step further, and then another step, and another?
I challenge you to take your brand, yourself, and your business further. You are capable.