Since I was a boy, I took satisfaction in creating things.
My mom used to buy me legos and K-nex and I would create whatever my imagination would desire me to physically manifest. As it pertained to fashion, I had these dolls that were used for a class project. Once done, I would use old nylon stretch socks, and cloth rags to make shirts and pants for the dolls. Being a boy, and being raised conservatively, my mother did not support the idea of me making cloths for the dolls. She considered it to be something that only women should do. That did not stop me from continuing to sneak and do it until one day, the dolls disappeared. My next attempt at fashion occurred in 2012, when I constructed my first handmade bowtie. When I made it, I had no intentions on making a profit. It was to simply enhance my wardrobe. Being unsatisfied with the result of the bowtie, I abandoned my efforts to perfect the craft. In 2016, I created my first bracelet to wear to a pageant. It consisted of a combination of glass and plastic beads, and wing charms representing that specific event. I posted a picture of my adorned wrist to Instagram and was surprised at the amount of feedback I received. I even had people who wanted to commission me to do bead work for them. It was at that moment that the Endless Journey Collection was born. Endless Journey was a name/ phrase I started calling life during a very dark period of my life. It means there is always a lesson to be learned and always a path we are on in this journey called life. I liked the idea of the wings and chose to use it as the signature for my business. Endless Journey wings represent the freedom to express yourself in a way that makes you happy without fear of judgement. So often, we put ourselves in a box just to avoid the judgement of others and to satisfy others’ insecurities. With this brand, it is quite the opposite. I champion for people to express themselves freely, boldly, and confidently because that is what being happy is about. A secondary meaning is perseverance. The ability to fly through or above a situation that is meant to be oppressive is a powerful thing.
Getting back to creating, once I began selling bracelets, I wanted to revisit the efforts of making a bowtie that would be sellable. This process was a challenge, and it really took me a year to develop a concept that was constructed with quality. It went from involving a sewing machine to converting to a fully hand-crafted process. Within the first year, I got my LLC and did my first popup, which was at a church. When first launching a business, it is normal to question yourself, the products, and/or services you provide. I did all of that and then some in the days leading up to that first event. However, once I got there, and made my first sale, the nervousness, fear, and self-doubt begin to subside. It was a successful event and to this day, it is one of the most successful events I have had. Upon finishing, I went into researching my next events and went into creating new merchandise in larger numbers. At this point, I begin to base that first event on the events that would follow. Although it was a motivating mindset to have, it would also set me up for disappointment, as I soon learned that every event, market, and festival out here is all different. Different markets speak to different demographics. Sometimes of the year are busier than other, Some days are better than others. Each of these functions speak and attract different demographics, and unfortunately, The Endless Journey Collection may not be a good fit for such. These were hard lessons to learn. After my first event where I didn’t do so well, I begin to internalize this, believing that it was something about me or my business that was not good enough.
After receiving encouragement from friends, I decided to keep moving. What I soon learned was some of the lessons I mentioned above. Also, some coordinators for these events don’t do their due diligence in making sure there is a decent audience coming to their events. They wanted us as business owners to attract the audience. Here is the thing though: If I had the audience to bring in enough business on my own, I wouldn’t need to pay that person for their space to gain profit. At this point, I started becoming more selective of the events I put my business in because to me, my business is like my child, and I refuse to let anyone abuse or misuse or neglect my business. Doing my homework of different markets and festivals helped tremendously. Not every event would be awesome, but I would always at least exceed what I paid to set up at that event. Income from The Endless Journey Collection was becoming steady until 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. With people dying and losing their jobs, the last thing people were thinking about was buying a bowtie and a pair of bracelets. This was the time to decide what would be next. I started making protective face masks. It was successful and fulfilling because I was helping people protect themselves and was able to make money in the process. Today, on the other side of lockdown, the Endless Journey Collection continues to move forward with headquarters now in Georgia. In addition to bracelets and bowties, The Endless Journey has a tshirt line and an upcycled denim bag line. This is where I make denim tote bags out of jeans. Further ventures I would like to take would be to learn to make clothes and sell them. It is my hope that I can continue to offer something for everyone that makes them feel great wearing it. The journey never ends.