Building A Brand - You Have To Love It Or Else You'll Never Make It
Let's rewind to sometime in 2014. I was making $19.55 an hour working at a job that I hated. I had a house payment, two kids and of course the bills that come with life. You know, a pretty common situation for many people out there. Every two weeks once my paycheck came around, I made sure that my family was fed and the bills were paid (hoping that no other expenses came up causing me to come up short) I would take the extra money left over, usually $20-$50 bucks and I would buy supplies to build Rookie Rise.
I spent about a year developing the brand, before officially launching Rookie Rise on April 15th 2015. That was the day that the website went live. I spent days talking with people who followed the line. It was really cool to see people start to gravitate towards the brands message. I sent out decals to followers on instagram along with friends and family. Again, I had very little to offer in the beginning, but I did what I could to get the brand out to those watching. The shirts in the pic of this blog were the very first Rookie Rise tees printed. The logo on the shirts came out smaller than I had approved, but I didn't have time to have them corrected. I had to get them to a show that night. I gave all of the shirts away to an up and coming music artist and his crew. I couldn't afford to give but I did it anyway. I went to sleep broke that night since the amount to have the shirts printed tanked my wallet.
What nobody will ever see is the price of your time and effort. They'll never see your hard and easy decisions. They'll never understand your stress, your hardships or your failures. You must trust yourself and prepare to move forward and continue on, no matter what happens when things may not fall your way.
When I hear people say that they are tired, trust me I feel you. When I hear someone complain that they are broke, I know what that's like, those overdraft fees were devastating! People assume that I was given a special deck of cards in my favor to start this. I will end that speculation now and confirm, that assumption is way off. This wasn't a deck of cards at all. This has been a chess game and I was only given 2 pawns to try to take out every piece on the other side. I will assure you though, if you can put effort and energy into every step that you take. Move cautiously, calculating everything in front of you. You will knock shit down and you will move to higher ground. The baby steps will add up and it'll seem significant from those who are outside looking in, but that effort that you gave and are giving is never forgotten.
To this day, I move like I did back when I had nothing. I'm always thinking about the next 10 steps forward. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to type this knowing that I never took a handout, I never took out a loan to make ends meet. I worked really hard to bring a vision in my head to life. This brand allows me to exhibit my art and most importantly, push a message to those watching. I couldn't be more happy about starting this. I have zero regrets about the choices that were made along the road to bring this line where it is today. The first couple of years I was crawling to bed and emptying my own pockets. That's what it took, along with more energy than I can even begin to explain. I'd do it all over again knowing that a vision can be had if you want to put in the work. The struggles will build you if you let it... Or you can give up and forever wonder what would've happened, if you kept going. Start today and never look back. Rise Up!