The WTF moment!!!

Article Image

EVERY business owner has had an ultimate WTF moment and questioned whether to keep going or not.

In 2020, we had the brilliant idea of creating a 3-day pop-up experience. We were going to build a museum focused on the culture of Harlem we grew up knowing, similar to The Trap Museum in Atlanta. Our team understood and recognized the necessity for a museum of this nature upon witnessing the appropriation of one of our icons, Dapper Dan’s designs, by Gucci.  It took a Twitter campaign and a true historian to identify and highlight the rip-off. Harlem has sparked numerous trends extending beyond the realm of fashion, yet the unfortunate reality is that many of us may never find representation in a museum. For example, we truly believe Dipset made it comfortable for men to wear pink, while God Shamgod created one of the most famous basketball moves known today.
While planning this epic experience, we also began working with a new manufacturer. We spent a whole year building that relationship and thought it was going well. We made orders with them and they delivered. They understood quality was important to us and would make adjustments to fabrics and materials as needed (a designer's ideal situation). The relationship was going so well we decided to work with them exclusively.  
LESSON 1: Never put all your eggs in one basket. 
In 2021, we created an entire collection and placed an order to feature at the museum later in the year. As we started preparing for the creation of this 3-day museum, we flew to Atlanta for a day to visit the Trap Museum for research. Our goal was to make this curated experience special for our hometown, and during our search, we stumbled upon a 3-story brownstone that hadn't been occupied for 10 years. Putting it together as best we could, we embarked on the journey to bring our vision to life. Shout out to EVERYONE that helped us make the museum happen. It took a village, and we are forever in debt to you all.
Two weeks before the museum was supposed to open, we were getting sketchy vibes from our manufacturer. We were a little nervous about not having a new collection to showcase, but we continued to push along with the museum because it was bigger than us–the town NEEDED this! Everything came together despite us never receiving our new shipment of clothes and Harlem enthusiastically embraced it. The museum was so well received that we decided to keep it open for a month despite us only planning and budgeting for 3 days 
Never let the outside noise, no matter how good or bad, sidetrack you from your plan. With the choice to extend the museum’s duration, we were forced to begin charging an entry fee to keep it open beyond 3 days. Once we began to charge, the reviews changed from great to us looking for a quick money grab. Two blows at one time:  our manufacturer ran off with our money and a good deed was deemed as financial opportunism. 
2021 was truly the year of unforeseen challenges that tested our resilience, determination and commitment. However, what appeared to be a breaking point, ultimately paved the way for profound growth, personally and professionally.

Back Home
All Articles