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Exploring Life & Business with Khamisi Benford of Blackfokapparel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Khamisi Benford. 

Hi Khamisi, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Blackfokapparel was started in 1998 by two art school students that were in need of supplies for the upcoming semester. We came up with the idea to design and sell two original t-shirt designs at a local art fair. Inspired by the enthusiastic response, we decided to keep going and Blackfokapparel was born. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been anything but smooth. We have faced many struggles along the way. The biggest challenge that affected the company was, in 2007, the untimely death of one of our founders. She was an integral part of the fabric of the company. She was also one of my best friends. Three days after her death, I was laid off from my job. This put my and the company’s finances in a tailspin. The mounting issues related to these events caused us to go on a hiatus. But by 2010 things started to look up. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Blackfokapparel is a Detroit-based fashion brand that is inspired by the people and the music of the city. One of the most popular designs is WHATUREP? inspired by the unique street layout of the city and its notorious mile roads. Another popular design is Stand Firm, a collection inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin and the birth of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Other shirts include designs dedicated to the celebration of Black women and Black love. Our ongoing goal is to create designs that speak to the needs of our people and educate them on issues that pertain to us. Last fall we had a series of t-shirts and social media designs centered around Black Votes Matters. We used all of our platforms to educate our people on how their vote, whether in local, regional, or national elections counts. Particularly at the local level. We also encouraged our people to educate themselves on who is running for office. 

In 2018, we saw that there wasn’t much emphasis put on or knowledge of the Juneteenth holiday. From there we decided to produce a t-shirt and educate our people through our social media outlets on Juneteenth. Our customers have expressed their thanks to us for bringing light to this important moment in history. 

Lastly, we continue to use our social media outlets to educate our people on a multitude of subjects ranging from business tips of the day, daily black history month facts, behind-the-scenes features of running a business, and Kwanzaa facts. 

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Most people are surprised that we started this brand in 1998. We have designs that are older than some of our customer base. 

Pricing:

  • T-shirts – $24.95 and up
  • Hoodies – $39.99 and up
  • Pins – $12.99 and up

Contact Info:

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