What inspired you to start Boshok?
Think I have always been into fashion and being fashionable but as for what got me to pursue my own clothing line with "Boshok"; it was the lack of fashionable items that were available to people wanting to rep where they are from. This was the initial thing that drew me in but now I also like the ability to indirectly make people more socially aware through the clothing.
Tell me about the Boshok team?
Right now the Boshok team is anyone rocking the clothing and supporting the movement honestly! Lol… We’re all family so I don’t like to make anyone feel insignificant that’s supporting the movement by spreading the word, buying a tee or whatever, ya dig! But more on the “behind the scenes” level we have me and the Lead Designer “Nick Fave” and My Brother Yao as the Marketing Director. But we have countless people helping with the promo and expansion of the company so I don’t want to make it seem like that’s it!
Is there a meaning behind the name Boshok?
The letters of “BOSHOK” literally stand for "Blood of Slaves Hearts of Kings" but for me personally it's a statement of the triumph of a people and how someone can go from nothing to something!
Who is your target market?
There isn’t really any age demographic we target. Think it will be more appealing to young adults because that's generally when people come to terms with exactly who they are and begin to have that sense of pride about it! But I don't see anything wrong with anyone wearing the clothing! Going to be very trendy so think that might be a turn-off for the simpler crowd but we will have some more subtle designs as well.
Where do you get inspiration from for your designs?
Lol... this is actually a really good question and not really sure I know the answer! Kinda just comes to me. I will have a concept for the shirts and I will explain it to my partner Nick and he will just be like "ok I'm going to work on it". Sometimes he comes with something we both love and we totally vibe on it and run with it! Sometimes he comes back with something and we go back to the drawing board. The "Lion with the Dreads" shirt really just came from out of nowhere, I was brainstorming on a logo for the clothing and just thought about what if we had a lion but that seemed too typical especially with this type of clothing; so then came the dreads, followed by the "Boshok" across the eyes!! Some of the other designs were a bit more driven by the current political or social unrest in countries. That’s where we came up with the idea for the “Libyrate” t-shirt. With all the stuff going on there we just thought it would be fitting to come up with something that gave the people a voice and shed some light on the situation. But we didn’t want to feel like every design we came out with had to have a country involved, we didn’t want to limit ourselves in that manner. So you’ll definitely see a lot of shirts that just identify with the clothing’s name while others have underline meanings to it.
What message are you trying to send across with the designs?
That’s the thing, the message is just awareness! For people who are from the countries we highlight within a shirt, of course we would like them to “rock it” and rep where they are from. But for people who may not be from there, we would just like to serve as an information base. There are so many things going on in the world outside of the U.S. that get so little attention. So in essence, that’s what we’re trying to do; shed some light. After the drought began in East Africa we thought about coming out with a shirt for that but actually decided against it because we weren’t in a position to be able to donate as much money as some of the other organizations we saw doing it. So we just got behind them and promoted to our following to purchase a shirt and show support for East Africa. Things like that are the pulse of Boshok and definitely one of the main reasons we are in the game.
What strategies do you use to ensure effective marketing of your t-shirts?
At this point, most of it is word of mouth and making sure that people we interact with really understand what we are trying to achieve with the clothing. A lot of people get the wrong idea when they hear what “Boshok” stands for. So there is a lot of re-branding that goes on when we speak to people about the clothing that may not understand what we’re doing. Honestly think it's fitting for everyone! I know white boys that are skaters rocking Boshok, Mexicans, African-Americans, Middle Easterners, etc. and of course Africans! Really have people from everywhere that are down with what we're doing and that's what we envisioned! I think because of the name people begin to think that "Boshok" is only meant to be worn by "Blacks or Africans" but that's so not the case! I think it can be and should be worn by ANYONE wishing to identify with, our be more socially conscience about the beautiful African culture! Boshok is meant to be something that unites us under 1 vision as opposed to dividing us! Earliest civilizations are traced back to Africa, so in essence "We're all Africans"!
Do you have any tips for individuals wishing to venture into the t-shirt brand business?
Lol….. Hmmmm…. I would say don’t get used to sleeping a lot! If you want to be effective and really grow you have to take this seriously. You manage yourself and your time, once you lose grasp of that, there isn’t much you can do! Another thing I would say is, “take your time and put out quality clothing”. Our biggest customers are repeat customers because we put out quality! This goes all the way from the shirts we use to the tags on every shirt! If I wouldn’t “rock it” and feel proud of it, I don’t put it out. Of course there are some designs that I prefer over others just because that’s my style, but I still wouldn’t bring out something I don’t feel comfortable wearing myself.
Are there any plans to venture into other things through Boshok?
Actually one of the main reasons we started Boshok was to raise money to make an impact in poverty stricken countries in Africa. So “Boshok Clothing Co.” will actually fund its own charity organization from t-shirt sales. We plan to start a charity organization when we reach 1000 “likes” on the facebook page for our own organization that will work to do sustainability projects in Africa. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Civil Engineering degree so I have some knowledge about these types of things and really wanted to do something kind of like an “Engineers Without Borders” where we fund engineers to do designs and implement projects that are needed in other countries but the people typically can’t provide for themselves (like irrigation systems, road designs, schools, etc.). Basically want to focus on doing projects that bring more empowerment to the people of Africa as opposed to just sending money. “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach him to fish he’ll eat forever.” We would like to help teach Africa to fish!
Where do you see Boshok in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I don’t see any reason why Boshok won’t be widespread all over the U.S. We plan to open the first “Boshok Clothing Co.” store in Texas within the next year, after that we just have to see! Along with that, the charitable organization we start based on the company should also be in full-swing so hopefully we will have a few projects already completed and a few more on the way! Boshok Clothing Co. has a lot to of good things going on. Don't turn your head too far cause you might miss it and make sure to "like" the “Boshok Clothing Co.” facebook page and follow us on twitter @BoshokClothing.