Self made entrepreneurs are taking this nation by storm. The Suites sat down with the creative director for Visionaire, Tomavelli, shout out to Chris and Zac for the collaboration.
To shine a spot light on an up and coming brand growing in our own back yards of Eastern North Carolina. Tomaveli is the mastermind behind VISIONAIRE MIND, a homegrown apparel company with an Urban-Skater kind of vibe attached to it. To this point the brand has cult following, with an interesting “pop-up” style marketing and selling method. This spotlight here on The Suites is not only to benefit Tomaveli and show love to his hard work and dedication, but also to continue the mission of The Suites blog, which is to provide our audience with quality articles about what they find interesting. Tomaveli provided us with some insightful and in-depth answers about his brand and how he reached this point in his own life and in the life of his brand VISONAIRE.
WARNING THE LANGUAGE IN THE FOLLOWING INTERVIEW IS NOT PG
1. How and when did Visionaire get started?
There’s chapters in my life where I go through ups and downs.
I want VISIONAIRES to be more than just a brand. I wanted it to be a story. But a story told through animals, an animals mind.
Chapter 1 was The Tiger: The Begin of the End
I came in with the mindset of a tiger. I was fearless. I didn’t care what people had to say. I just went in for the kill. I was so selfish I lost so many good people in my life because of it. At one point, I lost hope and faith. I lost motivation. I lost my girlfriend, she was the biggest motivation ever, and she guided me through this part in life
It took me 8 months to come up with just the name VISIONAIRE. I kept changing the name over and over until I finally settle down on the name when I was lying in bed talking to myself. I’ve always had that mindset where I wanted to create and inspire people or being ahead of what the kids (our generation) called now “The Wave”.
Originally I started this brand when I was a senior in high school but I was never serious about it, it was just something I had in the back of my mind for a long time. I just wanted to make t shirts and sell it.
A lot of people don’t know this but VISIONAIRE took off BECAUSE of my depression and anxiety. I was living in Vietnam at the time and that shit was just eating me alive. I’ve made decisions I wish I can take back, I wasn’t in school, I was barely working, my dad had a stroke and I wasn’t even there to be with him, I couldn’t handle the all the hectic that was going on so I decided to move back to the states.
That’s when I was like “I need to stop bullshitting, high school is over. This is reality now.” Like every other kid in my town I always dreamed of the bigger picture. Everybody would talk about how they want money, fame, foreign cars, and all this other rich fancy shit but they’re not making no moves. They expect everything to be handed to them for free. No matter what I did at the time I was constantly just trying to find money. I busted my ass for every penny and dime I could get. Nothing satisfied me more than knowing I worked hard for that money. So why not make money doing something I love? Fashion. But then it’s still not even about the money.
Now that I’m in chapter 2 of my works
The Bird: Time Flies When You Do.
I learned from my mistakes, I learned how to crawl before I walked again and now I feel like I can’t be stopped. I came to realized that there was so much more. I had so much support and supporters. I could not see myself disappointing none of them. I had a clear vision ahead of me. Success was calling my name and I cannot wait to fly high until I reach my peak.
2. What first interested you about the field of fashion and design?
See there’s a difference between an interested and a love, you can lose interest so fast and so quick. But love builds up over time, Interest is just the path to love.
I fell in love with this fashion stuff when I was young kid. My brother and sister would always dress me up and take hella pictures of me pretending like I was a model. They would sign me up for fashion shows and photography studios and made me wear these gay ass clothes. When I was 4 years old. I almost won my first ever fashion show. The grand prize was $10,000.00….. But I lost because I was picking my nose on stage… so I just won a little trophy instead.
3. Describe your design process? How hands-on are you in the process?
My whole design process is literally on a laptop. I am on my laptop 24/7. My laptop is like my creative buddy but also my resource buddy. I’m always on the search of what I can find and turn into a “visionaire”.
I’m only hands-on on certain products if I wanted to tweak it up a little bit. I taught myself how to use a sewing machine and from that point on it was hands on from there. Everything else I literally was self-taught. I taught myself how to cut and sew, how to distressed, how to hem, etc. If it wasn’t for YouTube I’d be lost.
4. Who else is involved with this group? And in what capacity?
At first it was just me. I did everything myself, from branding to marketing. I didn’t wanna work with anyone. I had so many people come up to me and asked me if they can work with me but I turned them all down. I didn’t wanna clash my creativity with someone else’s creativity. No disrespect to anybody but I feel like if you have your own ideas, move forward from there. Go out and build yourself, show your talents to the world. There’s so many hidden talents and people so scared to show it but you CAN’T be scared, You have to have confidence in what you do.
There is this one dude. He lives in Raleigh. Shout out J.Ho!!!!! Never met him face to face but I thought he was unique and thought he could bring some heat to the table. So he’s the 1st member of team visionaries I guess you can say that.
5. Are you open to collaborations? Have you done any so far? Who are some companies, local or well-known with whom you’d like to collaborate?
I’m not just going to collab with anyone. I don’t want to work with someone if I feel like it’s just a waste of my time or if they just wanna work with me because it’ll give them clout.
We have to have a certain partnership but most important…. friendship.
But I am currently working with a couple of local talented people here in Elizabeth City. There’s this dude name Jaylen Brown or JB for short. He’s the CEO of Opposite Society. It’s a dope ass movement he got going on too. Everywhere I go I see people reppin’ his t shirts. He kinda reminds me of a young Tyler the Creator. He does more than just make t shirts though that’s the thing. It’s more of a culture thing. If you wanna know more go check them out!! Twitter @osxsquad I’m also collabing with this music group called Graffiti Mobb. Go check out their soundcloud too! https://soundcloud.com/graffiti-mobb
In the future I’m hoping to collab with more groups and artists
6. There are many other local clothing brands, what would you say separates your brand from the rest?
I love all these local brands ya know? It spices things up. There’s more competition being put to the test. But you gotta love what you do. I see too many local brands out here just making t shirts for money. I respect the hustle but it’s not fair to the people who are actually putting alot of time and effort and detail into each one of their craft.
On top of that, I don’t give out no information on when Visionaire merch is gonna drop. You just gotta be on top of it. If not that’s your lost. I don’t post pictures of my products either until the day of releasing. I keep my quantities really low too. So not everybody is gonna walk around with the same product on.
7. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
Honestly I don’t care where my brand takes me in the next 5 years.
I’m not thinking of the future right now. I’m thinking of what has to be done right then and now.
Cause if I’m thinking about the future, I’m just wasting all this time that’ll help me get me to that point in life. I want what’s best for me, my team. And my brand, and that’s long term goals. NOT no shortcuts.
My goal is to get better and better every year.
Now if I’ll have an opportunity for me lined up at the door within that time period. That’s just a blessing.
8. Where can people go to buy your product?
People can go buy my product at www.visionaires.bigcartel.com
We here at the Suite Blog appreciate the time Tomaveli gave us in order to spread his movement to a wider audience. If your brand, or a brand you know of, is interested in a possible Suite Spotlight in the future, feel free to contact Chris Liverman, Zac Singletary, or any member of the Suites Blog family and we’ll be happy to discuss a future partnership. We accept gifts and swag of all varieties.
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