The Power of Branding: Carefree Black Boy Project
Last year I had the special opportunity of meeting a brilliant artist, visionary and budding entrepreneur in a program I developed and coordinated at Sketch Working Arts for artist entrepreneurs . On the first day of class he expressed he wasn't sure he would stay in the program, he hadn't yet decided what direction he wanted to grow in. I encouraged him to stay, be patient with the process and let the art lead. A year later I have received the opportunity to come full circle in that connection as I work with Jega Delisca to solidify his Glow-up. This glow up is a little different then the last because this time our focus was brand development and expression.
For those looking to Glow-up and develop their personal brand or professional look I wanted to break down the entire process for you.
Before we could even begin to understand what the look of the brand should be we need to first understand why the company exist, why does it even matter?
"The Carefree Black Boy Project aims to provide virtual and physical space for black males to rethink sexuality, spirituality, mental health. The resources and conversations held in these spaces support this particular group in order to build a community concerned with art, education, healing. We will contextualize the black diaspora by dismantling stereotypes, we will dismantle stereotypes by offering resources and attention to participants of this project.
A dialogue around hyper masculinity, relationships, mental illness and the overall state of black manhood, sacred spaces that are inclusive and free of prejudice will be manifested. In order to facilitate dialogue, we have begun to ask local black men about their lives. During these interviews, each participant's experience is reviewed and renewed. By talking openly about Blackness or Masculinity, we are also learining about ourselves.
A community, a tangible or virtual village, can emerge from this effort. We strive to decolonize our own minds and to celebrate the diversity of humanity especially demonstrated in diasporic minorities. From this village founded on love, compassion, and courage, black boys will be provided with the means to embrace a holistic sense of self-hood, unhindered by social norms and derogatory stereotypes, and to unapologetically embrace one's black individuality."
His before and after was not one of simply changing outfits but an energy shit.
We had to choose an energy, we had to figure out what Jegas Ideal self would look like. As an artist we wanted to stay true to his creativity but honour his church boy beginnings. This process started with Jega answering a long list of questions and ultimately I narrowed down his answers and my expertise into the vision board below. Then we went shopping!
The question of the day is, how do you develop an iconic brand?
1. Energy: Everything on this planet carries energy. Energy is the reason some words taste sweet and others bitter, some visuals move us to our core while others do nothing. Feelings carry energy. Everything in life has the power to move us, bore us, excite us, even change us. That is what you look for when shopping. That is how you decide what look to go for. Vision your best self, feel the energy of that moment and only purchase clothing that is inline with that energy and makes you feel how you feel when you vision your best self.
2. Storytelling: What Story are you telling? What do you want to communicate to the world about your self and your brand? Everything in life tells a story. People will make assumptions based on your clothing and you need to be clear with your self what you want to communicate so that you are taking back your power over the story. For example, I wear very feminine clothing, short skirts and thigh highs when I facilitate or work in general. I love the story of being a powerful femme in conventional ways that says brilliant things, challenging people to believe that pretty is intelligent also. That is how I tell the story of unapologetic. Jegas story of carefree for him looked more like embodying what spirituality and self love means to him while challenging masculinity. This manifested it self with bright colours, patterns and structured lines.
Choose your story, combine it with your energy and tell it how you want to because ultimately this only works if your story is your truth.
3. Truth: I will keep this short and say, "real recognize real". If your brand is to be successful it must be authentic. The story, purpose and meaning must be authentic. It must be your truth. Reach deep down inside yourself, figure out what moves you. The reason you get up each day must some how be present for people to see the humanity in your image and connect. Otherwise you are just a pretty picture to look at and thats boring. Your style is simply an extension of you so be true to you boo.
4. Confidence: I want to say go head and fake that shit, but remember what I said about truth? Confidence is the difference between people thinking you are rocking the shit out of Blue hair or them saying they liked your better before... well there people may be kind of shitty but you get my point. Confidence makes the look work, YOU make the look work, not the other way around. How do you get confidence? Write Affirmations on sticky notes about how amazing you are, try one thing daily you are afraid of, power pose, I don't know what works for you, but do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and shows you your own badassery. The shirt you love and are terrified to buy, get it and wear it at home while you get use to it. When your ready dress to the nine from head to toe in that shirt and let your confidence do the rest.
5. Freedom: No one can free you but your self. As a artist or intra/entrepreneur you may have already taken steps to do so and believe this new look will finish the package, and it may. But Ultimately your freedom is in your own ability to get out of your own way. When your shopping, pairing outfits together or any other task, it is important to get out of your head and feel your way through this. Grant your self the freedom to be you.
If you need more support in your glow-up process please feel free to connect with us for personalized Glow-up Classes, Here .
Please watch the video below for a look at our process with Jega.
With so much love,