Fuck The Hype
It’s been damn near 3 years since the idea of starting a blog popped into my brain. But not just any ‘ol blog, a blog to share my love for street culture, music, and fashion in addition to detailing my entrepreneurship journey. The idea was to create something with the sole purpose of connecting with like-minded folks across the globe in the hopes that somebody, anybody, would read it and I could make a cool online buddy or two along the way.
That was my frame of mind at the time. That’s it.
However, as this blog gradually grew, so have I grown. What was once a passion project has now become a small but growing community. With this growth comes a responsibility that I wasn’t quite aware of when I was keeping these ideas all to myself, afraid to share my thoughts with the rest of the internet. And now, what may appear to be just a hobby to the outside world is something I take full responsibility for. I’m not here to just create some fly-by-night site for my pure enjoyment. I want to create something special. A platform that not only represents the neighborhoods I grew up in but also brings together folks from all walks of life.
I’m trying to create a brand that is not only intentional but also impactful. Something that makes the effort day in and day out to break down barriers for black folks and show the world that no matter our circumstances we all have the ability to do something magical. What society considers disadvantages we are able to flip to our advantage and make something out of nothing. This is what drives me. The pursuit of transforming thought into a tangible thing while serving the growing number of supporters, both locally and online.
This blog is a part of our brand. It is the reason why we even started this journey in the first place. A brand is more than just a cool logo for your profile pic, a design printed on a t-shirt, or your name stitched on a ball cap. A brand should be centered around the community it serves. A good brand should provide value in return for your commitment to them. Too many times we are loyal to brands who do not represent us or our best interests.
We will never let BEINGSINOUTERSPACE become this type of brand, a brand that is more concerned with popularity and profits than with the people.
We are not one of those, “How many followers do you have?” types of Instagram brands. We don’t put likes and follows over providing real value. We try hard to put together something that will resonate with our community, whether it’s a blog or new merch. We are in this for the long run, not a quick hit.
In other words, for us, this is a marathon and not a sprint.
What we’ve learned over the past few years is that the more work we put into our brand, the greater the rewards will be down the road. In many ways, we approach our site as a grassroots, boots-on-the-ground operation rather than a large corporation. And, in all honesty, we don’t really know what we are doing. We are bootstrapping the site and merch, building things as we go with every little bit we have in our checking account.
We are independent.
Our “marketing campaign” and “advertising budget” are basically you, the people who read our blog, spread the word about our page with your friends, and purchase our merch. Simply put we can’t do this without you. The pics you see on social media are just us sharing what we love. The graffiti, the music, the fashion, the creatives who have touched our lives in a special way. These are all things we want to share with you. Nothing more nothing less.
We are using the resources we have at our disposal. We use our phones, laptops, and some borrowed equipment from our photographer friends to create content from the bottom up. Isn’t that what the “hood” is about? Isn’t that sown into the fabric of street culture? We use what we can because that’s all we have. Too many brands want to be seen on the gram as having the biggest following and shown on the backs of the most talked-about influencers. But that isn’t what makes us tick. For us, it’s about going against the grain and telling our story while embracing the struggle and the hustle. No matter how long it takes we would much rather be honest and lead by example to show the world what’s required to build a brand rather than some recycled copy and paste articles and trendy bullshit clothing line that is here today and gone tomorrow. We are inspired by the legendary streetwear brands that have come before us and laid the foundation: FUBU, The Hundreds, LRG, and Supreme to name a few.
Let me talk about this on a personal level for a moment. I would be lying to you if I said all of this was easy. This is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yeah, I’ve read books, sat with mentors in the industry, connected with creatives in the space, gone to trade shows, you name it. But even with that support and knowledge, this is still one of the greatest challenges that I’ve encountered and it’s definitely not for the weak. This is something that you really don’t understand until you decide to hop off the bench and get into the game. Only then will you begin to realize how daunting a task this really is.
There have been many nights I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and many days when doubt crosses my mind. I am constantly questioning myself, wondering if I have what It takes to deliver something of value to the people or if am I wasting my time. Whispers of “Am I good enough? Am I even qualified to speak on these subjects? Is anyone even paying attention? Am I just throwing away money? Does anyone even care? Will anyone even read this blog or purchase this merch?” constantly creep into my mind. However, what I learned throughout this process is that I would do it for free, even if no one was talking about our site or buying our merch.
However, if just one person reads the blog or spends their hard-earned money on a piece of clothing then I have done my job. I have done what I set out to do, connect with a like-minded individual on an almost spiritual level. Something that would not have happened if I did not turn my ideas into a thing, into something real. What I have learned is that no matter how we are feeling we have to show up and serve our community in some capacity, every single day.
We never know who is watching and who we will connect with. Whether that is an Instagram post, new blog, new release, passing out stickers, or a contest giveaway. As long as we keep pushing our community forward, our community will continue to push us to do more and be more. It would be a dream come true if our Instagram count reached Virgil Abloh’s impressive Off-White following of 11.1 million (at the time of this posting) but even just reaching 1,000 loyal supporters would make us just as happy to continue to deliver the goods with the BIOMoji smile on our face.
At the end of the day, we are grateful for all the support we have received so far on this journey. There are much easier paths for people to take in this life, but we are not them and that is not what we are about. We have learned, chosen, to take the road less traveled. This idea started in a small studio apartment in Alameda, California, writing blogs on a used laptop I got from an ex who didn’t support anything I was trying to do, who thought it was a complete waste of time. They were constantly pushing me to Netflix and Chill all day rather than pursue my dream. Despite this, I decided it was best for me to cut out the “Netflixing” and go with my gut. This taught me to embrace the unknown and step out on faith and use the negative energy to fuel my ambitions.
It doesn’t matter whether or not we hail from sacred street culture meccas like LA or NY, or the dusty mountains of Montana, the universe is our playground, and street culture has a worldwide influence. Each one of us has our own take on how the culture has shaped our lives. Our stance isn’t any less valid. We are proud representatives of Northern California with aspirations to connect with street culture enthusiasts from the icy shores of Alaska to the pyramids in Egypt and everywhere in between. We are all connected and it is this quest for connection in a world that encourages and even purposely establishes division throughout every facet of society imaginable that makes BEINGSINOUTERSPACE special.
What I have learned is that we may not be for everybody. Not everyone will like what we stand for and that is quite alright. We are for those who are seeking something different in a world that is content with peddling the same shit. A culture that chases trends instead of creating them and preys on insecurities rather than celebrating our differences. A culture that disowns you once you stray away from the status quo instead of acknowledging there is room for all of us to coexist.
But instead of giving in to the pressures of the outside world, we will continue to always do what is right and fuck the hype. We’ll let the chips fall where they may.
I’m not sure what to make of my relationship with The Bay after all these years. I wake up every morning loving how the velvet sun caresses my face, but feel disgusted as I pass makeshift shacks constructed out of discarded pallets. What happened to the place I call home?
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