A Career From Creativity

A few weeks ago, I was invited to be a guest feature on Jonathan Harris' blog series, the Classy Gent Chronicles. Below is a repost of that interview. (Thanks, Jon!)

Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,

Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. 

Every month, we will have a special guest feature starring a different amazing person doing some amazing things.  This month, we are going to take a look a Darnell Brown, who is a talented graphic designer, brand coach, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur.  It gets better as Darnell and I have the same birthday (#TeamLeo).  Welcome Darnell and let’s jump right into it....

Jonathan: Tell us a little about yourself.

Darnell: Yeah man, I’m an entrepreneur, brand coach and graphic designer. Most recently, I’ve done some public speaking and am on the verge of becoming a self-published author. As a big believer in craftsmanship within everyone, I help people define their brands and unleash their superpowers to the world at large. Everything I touch is centered around serving humanity to live more fulfilled lives.

Jonathan: Awesome and welcome to author's club.  Can you tell us how did Nelly Bloom come about?

Darnell: Nelly Bloom first started as eureka moment of just waking up one morning and being like "these two words together just work! I don’t how I’m going to use this name, but it sounds kinda nice.” Haha. So I immediately grabbed the domain name the same day which was fortunately available and then sat on it for a few years. Eventually, as I started moving away from being a freelance graphic designer and starting by own businesses, I circled back around to Nelly Bloom and tied it into helping people share themselves via clothing, empowering them to bloom.

Jonathan: Wow! So how does Nelly Bloom stand out compared to other companies in the clothing industry?

Darnell: We don’t sell clothes. Well, we do, but that’s more of a byproduct of what we stand for. What we actually do is help people share their dopest stories, ideas and beliefs in bite-sized fashion, which we deliver to doorsteps worldwide. Graphic shirts is the physical embodiment of how we serve. Transparency, diversity, quality, and integrity are our cornerstones because we believe in open businesses who are candid with their customers. These days we are producing very sustainable clothing and we’re an Empathy Business disguised as a lifestyle brand.

Jonathan: Where do you see Nelly Bloom in five years?

Darnell: I just see us being a completely singular brand. Maybe with a few pop-up shops and retail locations across the globe. By “singular”, I mean that we’ll be distinguished as both a lifestyle brand and a clothing line. A deeper commitment to the most sustainable clothing possible, customer loyalty, incredible partnerships, and fantastic design work. The Bloom Box will also be our flagship product offering. 

Jonathan: That sounds great.  Who/What do you look to for inspiration?

Darnell: I mostly look at people, brands and companies that have a remarkably empathetic approach to how they share what they do to their markets. Brands like Buffer, Sevenly, Amazon, Lyft, Google and Netflix are all very distinguished and inspiring, both internally and externally. I’m very motivated by companies that exude excellence, openness, and vulnerability, so much so that I’ve brought these principles into Nelly Bloom and my entrepreneurial status as a brand coach, when I’m working with clients. 

Jonathan: Interesting.... with that being said, let me ask you this.  Do you think it is more difficult to achieve a goal or maintain that goal? Why?

Darnell: I’d argue that it’s harder to achieve a goal than maintain one, because most people are stuck on perfecting the idea over taking action. We often don't hit ‘go’ on ideas that energize us due to commitments, distractions and waiting on the right circumstances or permission of others. I’ve seen countless ideas that friends of mine have had, that have been brought to life by other people and startups. Great ideas aren’t difficult to source. Executing those ideas and realize them is harder for us to do.

JonathanWhat advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to breakthrough in the clothing industry?

Darnell: My advice would be start your business before you think you’re ready, before you think it’s perfect and before waiting for all the puzzle pieces to fall in place. You mustn’t depend on others to build your soapbox and bring you an audience. You’ve got to get out there in these streets and preach the gospel with simplest version of your product or service. I’d also suggest crafting your business around a problem that you’re passionate about and know better than anyone else, so that your solution is organically made to matter to the people who have that problem.

Regarding the clothing industry - and any other industries that are saturated and ubiquitous - I believe to break through, you have to start with intimacy. Talking to those you want to sell to, finding out what they value, what’s important to them. Ultimately, it starts with knowing your audience like the back of your hand and crafting your product to serve them because you understand them, you care about them. If you are genuinely empathetic towards your target market, you can excel at whatever you create for them, because you know them more than everyone else. And all it costs you is your time and curiosity.

onathan: I know that advice will be very helpful to readers?  What are your other hobbies/passions?

Darnell: Meditation, books, movies, yoga, cigars, wine, gymnastics, speaking and writing. Overall, for me, I’m not happy unless I’m producing twice as much as I consume. I still have fun, indulge a little and kick back of course, but at my core, I’m a content creator who craves enlightenment. Mostly, I’m a home-body who is a total extrovert at the same time, haha.

Jonathan: Do you have any upcoming projects?

Darnell: Yes, in deed, I’ve always got something going on, haha. But yeah, the big thing on the horizon is the release of my first book, The Bulletproof Hustlerwhich I wrote in just 10 days this past January. It’s a nifty little guide that outlines the 10 key virtues anyone can master to go from Side Hustler to Bulletproof Hustler, and I wrote it specifically for the entrepreneurs, creatives and entertainers of the world. You can preorder it at Amazon via this link.

I also recently started a Meetup Group where I speak publicly to help the guests that attend my events define their personal brands and unlock the kick-ass force of nature inside them.

Lastly but not least, a better Nelly bloom is underway. More singular. More sustainable. More transparent. Better clothing. Better designs. Better partners.

Jonathan: Wow, we definitely will have to pick up a copy of your book.  How can readers stay in touch with you?

Darnell: The best way to stay in touch with me is to join my newsletter at:
darnellbrown.net/join. I can also be followed at instagram.com/MrDarnellBrown
fb.com/MrDarnellBrown, and twitter.com/MrDarnellBrown for weekly updates on all the things I’ve got going on.

Moral of the story:  Discover what your passions are in life and you can turn that into your career.  You can have opportunities beyond your wildest dreams if you follow your heart.

Stay tuned as we feature more talents right in our own backyard. Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it!  Until next time, stay classy...