my B.O.B. - Kubitees

What a week? With the election and many other events you probably want to hear about someone and something positive. Got the perfect solution with our November #myBOBstory series continuing with Kubitees. This myBOB stories introduces you to Kubrat Salaam, owner and creator of Kubitees. Embracing our culture, our excellence, and the creative limits we’re willing to surpass, Kubrat gives consumers access to art and apparel that reflects who they are while also being a megaphone for artists and artisans globally.

You may have noticed Kubrat’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Kubrat started her grind at a very early age, not knowing how it would blossom to the global marketplace it has become today. Definitely a glowing example of starting young with encouragement, empowerment, and education of Black children.

What made you feel your message and voice would be well-received in the clothing apparel industry?

When I first started Kubitees, I was very young and very unaware of the "real" aspects of running a business. Not only did I not have a message or a voice that I wanted people and companies to receive within the apparel industry, but I didn't even have a business plan or any long term goals. Luckily, this isn't the case now, and I can proudly say that Kubitees has come a long way from where it once was. Today, the message I want people/companies to take away from Kubitees is that it's striving to provide quality products that make powerful statements and start meaningful conversations. Moreover, I think the positive feedback and continuous support I receive for my products are the predominant components which make make me feel that my company's message is resonating with people in the apparel industry.

You mentioned how you started young as a Black entrepreneur in grade school, who were some of your influences and mentors at that age?

Growing up, a lot of my everyday life comprised of entrepreneurship. Both of my parents had side hustles and flourishing businesses back in Nigeria. My younger brother even had his own business where he made wallets out of duct tape and created tutorials on YouTube. With that being said, I believe that my family members were my main influences as well as my unwavering mentors/motivators. They showed me how to persevere, and they've supported me throughout my entire journey—still are today.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling to find their place in society?

Sometimes we simply aren't meant to fit in with the rest of the crowd. I really believe that this is because we're supposed to be the ones leading the crowd. People like us see the world differently; we move and think in different ways. I say embrace this! Happily ride your own wave. There's nothing wrong with it, and you'll soon realize how empowering it is to live life on your own terms.

Tell me more about your efforts with creating a space for artisans and artists worldwide? You've recently started a collaborative, THE YCVC—tell us more about your mission and vision there.

For the past few years I've had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing artists and artisans, many of whom are creating their masterpieces outside of the United States. My work with them is centered on providing Kubitees customers with unique and quality products while simultaneously exposing the creators behind the works to an increased means of obtaining self-sufficiency (so that they can continue creating)! In addition to my efforts to support independent artists and artisans worldwide, I've also launched the Kubitees initiative called the Young Creatives and Visionaries Collaborative (YCVC).

Through the YCVC, up and coming millennials (just like me) are given the opportunity to come together and create some magic with like-minded individuals. At the most recent YCVC, which took place this past August, we spent an entire day producing some photoshoots, video shoots, and flash fashion shows in Santa Monica, CA. By the end of the day, each participant involved was able to gain some exposure and experience in their respective fields, as well as lucrative networking opportunities and professional portfolio content. The outcomes were extremely worthwhile for everyone involved, and many of the people who participated are still reaping the benefits of the YCVC today.

Of all the kubitees apparel products, which is your most favorite and why?

My favorite apparel product has to be the "Power to my People" t-shirt because it's a statement that I resonate with on a deep level. Everyday there's always something new in the media that either negatively portrays our communities of color or negatively impacts our progress, and I think the only way out of this constant, detrimental cycle is by empowering/uplifting one another. Also, I really like how this shirt plays off the popular "All Power to the People" slogan by the Black Panther Party.

Is there anything particular we can expect from Kubitees during the 2018 holiday season?

I really want to give back to all of the customers and supporters I've acquired throughout the years, so this 2018 holiday season you should expect a lot of sales, giveaways, and some new Kubitees products! I actually have a new art collection dropping this month, so be on the lookout for that as well.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?

Think of everything in your life that you were scared to do, but ended up doing anyways. You overcame that initial fear--survived whatever it was that you thought you couldn't do. Try using those experiences as motivation, and be brave enough to take the first step required to launch your business. Regardless of what the outcomes are, at the very least you can say that you gave it a shot!

Kubrat’s story hopefully inspires you to make that move you’ve wanted to; try that idea you’ve been afraid to bring to life; or simply grow in your being to the next version of yourself. There is no time like the present, and no future is promised!

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - Noisy Knits

October is nearly over and there remain two more months of 2018. What better way to end our October #myBOBstory series than with a business that wants to empower Black women. Our myBOB stories continue with Kendra McCartney, co-owner of Noisy Knits. Through witty words and simple messages, Kendra and her business partner Ke’er provide more options for women to express themselves.

You may have noticed Kendra’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!

Actions speak louder than words—yet sometimes words work just fine! Focusing on empowering women through words of strength, resilience, and more Kendra has established a t-shirt business that allows women to embrace themselves exactly as they are.

With a variety of t-shirt companies in the market, why did you decide Noisy Knits would be a good venture?

We felt that we had something to say to empower women to embrace themselves. Yes, there are a variety of other companies out there, but our tees are very simple, both in their designs and statements, which sets us apart.

Your brand is about positive, empowering messages —what is a meaningful message you received thus far in life that motivated you to be unapologetically you?

I was always told I could be anything I set my mind to. Things will be hard, but to always believe in myself.

What advice would you give to young Black girls and women who are struggling to find their purpose or space in the world?

Keep looking. Everyone has a place and a purpose. It may take a little time to find your way, but continue to believe in yourself and it will manifest itself. I am an attorney by training and never would’ve thought I would be part owner of t-shirt company. But, I felt like I had something to say and could add something to the market.

Are there new products you'll be launching with Noisy Knits? Or, do you have special t-shirts for the holiday season?

We’ve thought about launching other products and we’ve played around with a couple of ideas. However, we always want to try to stick with the core of our brand, which is empowering statements through simple messages. Who knows what the future holds. We launch new tees when we feel we have something to say. We aren’t trying to keep up with the latest pop culture saying or new “slang” statement. For that reason we launch new tees a little slower than most t-shirt companies. But, we’re OK with that. We’ve added v-necks and hoodies for the holiday season, and there is a new tee.

How did your partnership with Melodrama Boutique come to be? What has that partnership taught you about small business ownership?

We participated in a sidewalk sale that Melodrama Boutique does twice a year. From that relationship, we were able to begin discussing a partnership with our tees being in the boutique. The relationship has taught us that small business ownership is about constantly evolving and being open to change. It’s also taught us that sometimes you just have to ask. We approached the owner and to our surprise she said yes to allow our tees in her boutique. The owner has been very gracious in her advice and guidance as we move forward with our business relationship.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step?

Basically, just do it. You can over analyze to the point of never starting. My business partner and I have come a long way since we first started Noisy Knits, but the key was we just started. We made mistakes, but nothing we couldn’t overcome. We’ve learned along the way and got better each year.

Friendly reminder, you can also purchase bracelets along with your t-shirts, hoodies, and kids shirts from Noisy Knits. By stepping out on faith and having a partner to pursue an idea, Kendra is a great example of going after what you want—risks included!

Hueful stories for you.