Interview x Unikue Genius Creations (UGC) | Fashion Apparel Brand
Tune in below for the exclusive interview with Venise Bowen (CEO), Danielle Elie (Co CEO) and Christian Downey (Graphic Designer) of Unikue Genius Creations, a 2014 start-up apparel brand based at Memphis, Tennessee.
1. What is the start-up story behind your brand? UGC Apparel was birth out of our willingness and desire for a better future. Our brand is inspired by the individuals who usually don’t fit in with the popular crowd. We wanted to create something that was hip and urban but still have a Unikue flare to it. The idea of working for someone else for the rest of our lives really didn’t set well with us. So we knew that it was a time for a change. UGC Apparel had always been on our minds since 2010. But financial hardship always found its way in to hinder our progress. We finally said, “Not anymore this is our year and we will launch our brand!” And we did exactly what we set out to do.
2. Describe your visual concepts, what is it like? What are three words that best define it? When I (Venise Bowen (Veno)) sat down and thought about what I wanted our logo to be. I envisioned ACCEPTANCE through apparel that could be recognized throughout many nations. We want people to look at our brand and say yes that’s dope I would definitely rock that. Everyone is not meant to be the same, thus why we came up with the name UNIKUE GENIUS CREATIONS APPAREL. Now Unikue individuals can express their unikueness through our apparel. Three words that define our visual concept would be Unikue, Creative, and Acceptance.
3. In three words, characterize who you are. Trendsetters, Innovative, Intense (simply because we want and will take the fashion game by storm and with so much intensity people will not know what hit them)!
4. What’s something that’s always running inside your mind lately? How can we improve on our last design? How can we make UGC Apparel better? How can we connect with more consumers? How can we make our brand an apparel brand for the ages to come?
5. Being in your position, I’m sure it can be overwhelming with the workload. How do you achieve balance in life? Our balance comes strictly from our higher power in which we choose to call GOD. Without him none of this would be possible. When we feel like giving up we turn to him. When we need advice on what our next step will be we turn to him. He supplies us with all the understanding that we will ever need in this world. So I would say our balance comes from GOD!
6. What’s one incident that would serve as a turning point to your life? @Venise: I would say my turning point was when I walked out on a pretty decent job to focus solely on UGC Apparel. I had to step out on Faith and know that God would see me through. @Danielle: I would say my turning point was having my daughter and wanting her to experience everything that I didn’t get to experience in life. @Chris: I would say my turning point was realizing that life gives you what you put into it. If I work hard my hard work will pay off in the long run.
7. What three pieces of advice would you give to others when it comes to life & career? One always put God first in everything that you do. Two, “Success isn’t achieved without Failure”. So if you fail don’t give up get up and try a different approach. Lastly, Communication is the key. There must be great communication in everything that you do. Business partners, interview, customers, etc. Communication can and will take you a long way.
8. What’s a typical day in your life like? We get our day started around 7:00am Central Standard time, get up check for recent orders. Start production on these orders. Danielle is also a Nail Technician so when she doesn’t have clients she is grinding it out with me and Chris. We ship orders from the previous night out. Each and every day you can find us on someone’s corner or store front handing out business cards and flyers. We are hungry out here! After that’s done we return to do online advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and our website unikuegeniuscreations.bigcartel.com/. We are also looking for any type of way we can gain exposure. Whether it be fashion shows, conventions, etc. If it’s happening we want to be there. At the end of the day we make sure all our books are in order. We arrange our expenses to configure how much money we are actually bringing in versus how much we are putting out. After that’s done we begin to brainstorm new ideas sometimes we are up to the crack of dawn but it’s definitely worth it!
9. What’s one of the highlighting moment in your career? Why is it so? The highlight of our career would have to be when we launched our brand at a wonderful fashion Show here in Memphis, TN. A fashion show that we didn’t know anything about. We were actually contacted by the fashion show representative who told us that they had been watching us and wanted us to join the cast. FREE OF CHARGE! So no one can tell us that the world is not watching what UGC Apparel has in store.
10. What stops you from throwing in the towel and giving up during those frustrating days of being in this industry? @Venise: I refuse to throw in the towel I have too many people depending on me. I have me depending on me. I grind hard for me and my family. @Danielle: Throwing in the towel is for losers and I’m definitely not that. I keep my head turned towards God and let him guide my footsteps. @ Chris: I’ve come too far to give up now, yeah work gets hard and product doesn’t sale, but I know in the end it all will be worth it!
11. Biggest risk ever taken? Our biggest risk was walking out on our jobs except Danielle to focus solely on UGC Apparel. Yeah it gets hard sometimes but through GOD, hard work, and our willingness to persevere we will always make a bad day a productive day!
12. Who has influenced you most and been your greatest inspiration? @Venise: Not to sound cocky but my inspiration came from me. I was always seen as the nerd or the unpopular one in school. So I told myself you will be somebody one day and everyone will know your name. @Danielle: My inspiration is my 6 year old daughter. To see her go without is something that I never want to endure. @Chris: My inspiration would have to be my mom. She did the best she could to raise 5 kids as a single parent. I just want to give back and be able to take care of her.
13. How do you go about marketing your business or yourself? What has been your most successful form of marketing? We have business cards, flyers, social sites, websites, fashion shows, conventions, and networking. As I stated above Communication is key in everything you do. Our most successful form of marketing is our flyer. We leave them everywhere. People call us and say yes I seen your flyer here or there and I would definitely be interested in purchasing some product.
14. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? In 5 years we hope to be an internationally known brand with at least 10 store fronts. We also want to be able to help up and coming clothing line designers. Everyone doesn’t start out with a store front. For those designers we want to be able to feature their designs in our stores all over the world. You know give them a starting point like someone gave us. Shout out to Millionaire Grind Clothing based out of Memphis, TN. In 10 years we want to branch off into sub clothing lines. We actually have something in the works already. We also want to give back to the community. I Chris suffer from Diabetes and my goal is to be able to give enough money to the Diabetes Foundation for research on finding a cure for this deadly disease.
15. What’s the first thing you would say to the world if all attention was on you right now? UGC Apparel is here and we are here to stay. Why keep rocking the same old apparel when you can be UNIKUE like us. We taking the game by storm either you join the movement or get blown over. There is no stopping us. YOU WILL KNOW WHO AND WHAT UNIKUE GENIUS CREATIONS APPAREL (UGC Apparel) is all about. Like our motto say,” Dare 2B Different”!
Thanks again for your time & effort! The people here look forward to seeing this!