Founder Leadership in the 20’s

There is a new venture I’m exploring recently. Before it was I get all my brothers jobs, let me recognise the meet performance indicators of industry and show all the people how it’s done. Engineered to the state of reproduction.

now I am bootstrapping from the ground up, my start up, self funded and self starting it’s proposing a different set of challenges, as my goal before was to show one person (over the course of many repetitions) what they are missing, so one person could be hired. Now it’s to show the marketplace what they should be tuned into for many people to appreciate. I can’t say it doesn’t sound totally different, however the key differentiator here is in the end of the former one person needs to buy in and hire, basically you are waiting for one person to do their job so you can do a job for them.

As a business you are the socket not the plug so you are tapped into a whole electrical grid that is drawing from a whole power station. Which means when engaging with the public there are so many things that have to click together for them to see one instance.

Sticking to the analogy, people don’t ask every time they flick a switch if the light will turn on. They assume every time they flick a switch energy will be running through the house. For that one instance to be true there need to be so many other instances to be true. Where the public themselves worry if they pay the bill and have a working bulb, you as the company have to ensure you are tapped into a grid of energy sufficiently enough for any one person to have an okay time.

These things aren’t a dilemma on their own the dilemma is to create the right grid. To be literal instead of analogous I mean you need the right team in place for your company to work, just okay. Being a part of the competition let alone performing at a high level or even market dominance are all separate endeavours. In the start you just want to be part of the grid and know if you even have product market fit first. Which is your companies own challenge into on-ramping into the marketplace, once you on ramp you then have to worry about certain other challenges. Right now we are only talking about the right people in this case.

Assuming you have a particular type of product market fit and know where you are going and your company mission well, there you have a nice little mast head and logo. Jokes aside people can see what they are *supposed to buy into.

The real steps is to find people who care about the things you care about and have them care enough to work towards the goal you’re working towards. All rewards being long term and not short term.

Today as a person or individual or even founder you are representing a company as a singular entity, you alone know where you’re going and how your company fits in the grand scheme of things. It’s up to you to talk about your company as if it were that 1000 person global organisation.

I get butterflies myself, an enthusiasm I feel as a person who can provide jobs to that many people and for me it’s a driving force that propels me forward. For others it’s daunting, and others still pie in the sky, as you are one person standing in an industry full of giants.

Meaning before you find the right person to be a part of your organisation you need to know up and down their full responsibilities and job description, they need to know not just the value they believe they’re bringing to you. They need to know the level of competency they have to put forward to fill the position.

In saying that. I understand how organisations find themselves mediocre in the market place, as there is a good enough mentality from the top down of an organisation from the leader to very newest employee.

As for me I am in constant pursuit of being a master of my craft and creating the right environment for that to be the standard means you as a leader, better yet I, need to know the roles a person must be executing consummately. Comparable to the electrical grid, that person who is filling a position mustn’t have their wires crossed less they burst a fuse. Said personnel must endear themselves to the role so much it must feel like to me that I had the ability to do that job in the same time they did.

This level of understand comes from key knowledge in the field whether it be from a logo and the power of brand; a campaign that displays key marketing skills; key tech functionality from competent understanding of code

That fervent belief in the project, discipline of wanting to do the best you can at a task, and the demeanour of a consummate professional, those are key personality traits everyone wants to see in their personnel. Else you find a diamond in the rough and reveal to them their potential. Further still a peace of coal engaged in so much pressure they become a diamond.

All in a world where them market is in the position it’s in. Employee tenure is low and workplace happiness is even lower, who is really here for all of that.

This is the job of real leaders in the marketplace. Someone with the empathy to understand and the ability to create an environment where someone can thrive in a bootstrapped environment as well as recruitment ability to spot a talent or a quality individual.

That is ground up bootstrapping. Finding and catching the cow, looking after it, priming the hide, tanning the leather, stretching and pressing, curing. Then constructing the upper for the boot. That’s just the leather, the same must be said for the rubber, laces, thread and metal holes.

That is the task at hand. The landscape given for anyone who chooses to operate in these conditions.

Outside Fundamentalists Fashion – With Hope I Transform Everything

I thought I could watch the Virgil show but I can’t. Today they show what will now be Virgil final presentation. There’s so much about fashion that is about the wonder and the enjoyment of culture. today it gives me the feeling of sour candy apples, you know it’s the last but it’s for the wrong reason and you know it’s by him but nothing will be again

I remember coming into the fashion world post McQueen. I would be in University/College wondering if I would see anything new. Sitting in my dorm room researching the Antwerp 6 Rei Kawakubo and Yohji all the while making 3D models practicing my animation. Late nights with my people on Skype (yes that old) talking about the new thing I learned and telling my friend ‘They used to call Balenciaga, ‘Master of Us All’.

Later down the line I would see the Anti Fashion Movement was more of a representation of an amalgamation of underground culture from the youth. Simply the beauty of the youth and essence of Us in clothes. Then I hear the guys who ASAP Rocky were wearing [HBA x Been Trill] have a new show coming up. It’s called something like ‘Pyrex Vision 23’…

Yo bro this is about to a vibe I wonder if I can buy one …

I genuinely thought. Maybe I could afford one. I would end up selling blanks and graphic tees much later but the point is I had to see this video as soon as it dropped – this guy named VIRGIL ABLOH – say swear my man is Ghanaian and worked with Kanye. Makes sense he’s an architect right. African like me and did what I like to do. Technical design. The discipline of real world application of your art skills using human cantered design principles, this guy even knew about Dieter Rams

Little did I know Virgil would be the biggest thing in fashion for America and for European fashion

Long story short the parallels between him and I played into all my biases. I just want to put you all in a space where someone who looked like me and lived in a way I was living would create to represent me and where I come from. From what I could see they start and end with design and want to inspire the youth and express myself through design.

A way I can explain it in short is. The way in which Vivienne Westwood encapsulated punk and the way the Antwerp 6 Grunge we got Virgil Kerby Sam and Shayne developing with akin concepts based on black experience.

For 2 years indirectly and 9 years directly I followed Virgil’s story. As it was one where you know when it’s history, tell a lie, my intuition told me to look, the references told me to keep looking and the misrepresentation of what Off White and Hood By Air created made me stay. I knew for a while there needed to be someone who could translate to people what we really were looking at. Not what you thought it was because if you were as young as I was looking at this OG create for you. You’d want to protect it in the same way Europeans protect the Antwerp 6 Comme and Yohji.

Not that I don’t relate equally to European fashion but that this is the first interaction for many people of what Virgil is doing and he was unlike Sean Jean or Jordan he was the guy who watched and lived through what they did and wanted what they created (much like I to his clothes) and wanted to develop the cycle of inspiration entrenched in the fashion community.

Knowing what I knew and feeling as I did. Being in a position where all I could do was write that is very much what I did and once I saw how it was all going I would write about Virgil. I have wrote about Virgil consistently for 4 years, for one it deserved it and 2 it became a meme to entangle his essence in bounds of knots and not care for what you were creating a jest about.

So I spent hours trying to create critique and thesis around Virgil’s thesis, because it deserved it. The more the essence was understood the less I felt the need to intercede. Without those hours of streaming talking about Virgil to swing guys to neutral it would just be me writing review and reactions.

Virgil as a celebrity induced attention however he moved. As a man he could be living his life, as a celebrity he would inspire a generation, cultivate disciples and create a language of design for those who followed him can walk for years to come.

The fluidity of how he moved in business and consciousness he gave to a culture of you that that didn’t think that Fashion was for them vitalised a healthy amount of curiosity in the next generation

Outside Fundamentalists Fashion – With Hope I Transform Everything

#VintageBlackGlamour – Damilare Debut as Curatorial Editor of Voices In Fashion

There was a time when I noticed that I was the first instance someone was seeing a black person not fed to them on the media. I remember when I was a teen and I was the token black friend and dealt with terrible behaviour because of it.

Then I went to university and saw a different world, intermingling with people of different regions cities counties socioeconomic background ethics and different classes who had never met a black person before. All they saw was what was shown to them on the news, this was a time before social media.

Now we have social media to amplify the stickiest subject matter that happens to be disturbing imagery. I’m still seen as one of the good ones, so at best I’m guessing it isn’t the most endearing imagery of blacks people they have seen, to have this opinion and have never met one.

That being said I discover that imagery and media are a drastic factor in how people will perceive entire communities they have zero interaction with in the real life. So in many ways I’m a token non threatening avatar. There were many instances where I hated that part of my life, legitimately felt like Pinocchio ‘trying to be a real boy’ and not have the standard of what people think of a black person on me. it’s hard frustrating and restrictive, as no matter what if you show you’re human, who makes mistakes, one time, they wipe out your whole history and initiate the “I always knew there was something…”

I say that to say, dealing in black imagery is very agonising to live through, extremely dense characters are part of your audience and many black people feel like the have to shuck and jive till the make it home. There are others now who welcome the challenge and endear themselves to the ideal of, only black person in the room, ‘my presence is representation’, ‘I am one of the good ones’, ‘black people are sluggish lazy, stupid and unconcerned but not me’. Which is enough to make this a very political game at every phase of life, this goes all the way to the top.

This is all my understanding, before I really cared about fashion writing and black supermodels. What hits the most to me is the monotony of the monopoly of black womens imagery. It upset me enough to start my career out talking about needing more black supermodels then doubling down and speaking up about the fetishisation of our extremes of either light or dark skin. Black people with albinism and those with hyperpigmentation, namely Sudan models.

How I developed interest was in part protest and just knowing better, over time images I have saved and curated around black imagery that has a multifaceted appeal quality and diversity.

I call it vintage black glamour as it is more than just Black people in fashion or in books that are out of print it is the worlds worth of Africans that are who they are and someone has taken a snapshot of them doing it, being themselves. Some of the best works I can say conceived surrounding black people. I had wondered if I should make a page about this but there’s enough. My pages are built with this ethos regardless. So this isn’t about an @ it’s about a life choice, to share black people as is. Beauty splendour rugged Curt firm coarse gritty bright and everything in between.

My enemy is peoples decision to not have quality control in their lifestyle choices of media they share. Nobodies perfect and there are some amazing pages out there there’s just a story that needs to be told and I want to teach and open myself up to that journal properly. If you’re with me follow Voicesin Fashion on Instagram and Twitter

Meet with me on this journey every week on the voices in fashion page for updates