Black History Month may be over, but the need for inspirational figures representative of black culture is still absolutely necessary.
It’s great to have public figures and celebrities who can inspire and encourage the youth; however, it’s even more important to highlight successful people of color who are accessible and lead normal lives. This accessibility shows us that success is reachable! You don’t need to be rich or famous to do what you want.
SoulCulture’s Someone You Should Know segment is highlighting young people of color who have not given up on their dreams and who are obtaining success here and now. They are real people with real stories who have experienced hardships just like you and me, but have overcome them through hard work and determination. These are people you should know.
Meet Chris Peeples.
Chris is a college graduate currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, and the founder and designer for developing streetwear brand, Full Clip Global.
If you let Chris tell it, Full Clip is not just a streetwear clothing line. Instead, it’s a brand that will eventually develop into something much bigger than just street wear. We previously shared Chris’ vision for Full Clip in our quickie interview.
I want to get past just hoodies and t-shirts, and branch out to reach a wider audience than what streetwear is limited to. It takes time to do that, so right now I guess you could call it a streetwear brand. But in the longterm, that’s not so.
He started Full Clip after noticing that something was missing from the popular streetwear brands of his childhood. Rather than pray that something refreshing would come along, Chris supplied his own high and got to work to fulfill that need.
I loved Akademiks in ’06 or ’07 with the bright, colorful hoodies! That was when I first started exploring different styles and when I realized I had good taste in what I wore. Because of that, I definitely think I could add something.
Chris is a visionary – always two steps ahead, considering what’s needed next.
I was lucky enough to chat with Chris a second time, this time to talk about the man behind the brand.
What were your first creative experiences and what was school like for you?
In first grade, we had to draw in a journal to tell the class what we did that weekend. I always used my imagination and took things a step further. Really different stuff.
Do you still have the drawings from when you were younger?
Yeah somewhere, but they’re probably chicken scratch! It wasn’t so much the drawing, just the way things were explained. There was creativity behind that.
Was it different from what the other kids were doing? Or was it just being a kid in general that gave you creativity?
Everybody had to draw, but I made up a lot of stories that were different from the other kids. I also used to put a price tag on my journals. I don’t know why!
[Laughing.] Business minded!
Always been about the selling life!
In middle school before everybody had mp3 players and Internet connection, I would use LimeWire and sell people burnt CDs. I had the business booming! I’d get a list of songs they wanted and bring it to school the next day for like $5.
I respect it! A lot of people lose that creativity from childhood to adulthood. How do you keep it going?
Being overly optimistic and having confidence in knowing that I’m doing something right. There’s a certain way I want to live, but it’s great to balance the business with the creativity. You could be creative all day, but if you don’t have the business mind to back it up it’ll go nowhere. And I can’t be too business-minded, because I have to have the creativity to sell it. That’s my biggest challenge.
Being overly optimistic and having confidence in knowing that I’m doing something right.
Even moving forward with Full Clip, I’m slowly but surely adding more creative people into the fold.
Does that come with trial and error?
Hell yeah! It comes with a lot of trial, and a whole lot of error. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger, but when it’s time to execute, they’re not ready to sacrifice.
I want to build a legitimate brand and company. I love doing business, that’s my thing! It’s what I went to school for. I also love the creative side, but I don’t want to be labeled as just an artist. I don’t like labels in general.
Well you certainly have the business background. You majored in Marketing & Economics so you have what it takes.
Yeah, that’s true. And I know I have enough sense to bring it together in the end. It’s just about having a team that shares that vision.
I like your confidence. What did it take for you to get there?
Time! People as consumers are so particular and they love to chase trends. If you have an idea that’s not cookie cutter, people will be hesitant to back you up. But if you have co-signers and influencers to back up your brand, you’re golden.
I just need to work on positioning myself better and growing my target audience on social media. There are lots of people out there that would love my designs, I just have to find them.
How are you currently using your marketing expertise to spread the word about Full Clip Global?
In April, I’m planning to do a Street Wear Market here in Atlanta to share the brand and other brands in the area.
[This is happening! The Atlanta Street Wear Market powered by Full Clip Global is taking place on Saturday, April 22nd from 1PM to 7PM. Get your free tickets here.]
There are also a few influencers who we’ve sent packages to for more exposure. Instead of spending money on traditional ads, I want to share the brand more creatively.
That’s cool. Influencers are everything now!
Yeah! It’s kind of sad, too. You’d think most people could make decisions on their own, but the masses can’t.
Clearly you understand that it takes patience and risk-taking in building your brand. What did it take for you to become comfortable with taking those risks?
Whether I’m comfortable or not, I have to do it to get where I want to go. I’m still learning. Some days I’m comfortable, some days I’m not.
I’m still learning. Some days I’m comfortable, some days I’m not.
Like this event! I’ve never put together an event before, but screw it! You have to do it.
In our last conversation, we talked about having vision. What equips you to carry your vision and be a visionary in business and the streetwear industry?
You can really blame media. I read a lot of entrepreneurial magazines and observe people like Mark Cuban, Daymond John and Elon Musk. As a kid, I’d read fiction and fantasy books. It makes me a little delusional with my goals, but you have to be. If you’re not, who will?
If you’re not, who will?
What’s been your greatest challenge as a designer?
Brand wise – online sales. It’s hard to get people to buy how you want them to, especially since I think I have something special. You also have to be patient. I’m not really in a rush, but sometimes I have to remind myself about good timing and opportunity.
It’s a big chess game, not checkers.
It’s a big chess game, not checkers.
If there’s anything I took away from my conversation with Chris, it’s the importance of patience. No matter what your dream is – to design a clothing brand, manage a blog, or even work for a large corporation – effectively timing opportunities is essential.
The balancing act between creativity and business can be difficult, but should be top of mind in any entrepreneurial venture. As in Chris’ case, creativity is #1 in order to create attractive designs and share them in a way that they’re appealing to the masses. But without the business savvy that Chris developed while in undergrad (and even elementary school), Full Clip’s creative designs can’t be sold.
Ditch the fear and take smart risks, but be patient and ask for help. Those are the major keys. 🔑