As most people would do, I called my father to talk to him. We had an idea of starting a tutoring company that would help teach kids by rewarding them by improving their video game skills while helping improve their regular studies. We talked about it every day for months.
The idea never matriculated because it was too much of a risk and something that may not work out. I was working at a gaming chair company where I had just completed the biggest collab ever with PewDiePie. Everything from the ground up was conceptualized by me and we did so well.
It was after that I knew I had something special in me to do more for this world but I wasn’t able to come up with any ideas. I quickly spoke to my manager about doing something related to mental health in the gaming industry and was shot down. I felt very empty after that.
It was impossible to really speak to anyone about my issues. I was not only battling imposter syndrome but also battling anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. That day I spoke with my father about needing to do more for my kids and this world. The one thing I told him was, “Dad, fuck being rich I want to be remembered”. He brought up my venture in 2013 called Connect And Spread Love which was also a mental health clothing line.
I told him there was no way I could do that again because of how big of a failure it was. I felt so ridiculed because I couldn’t make any good designs or figure out how to make people love what I do. I was young and stupid and it failed so quickly. My dad told me I could do it.
He told me that with my knowledge, passion, and desire to help my family that anything is possible.
2 weeks later I sat at my desk for hours while watching football. I had a name, HLD which stood for Happiness and Love over Depression. I made designs and was ready to go.
Something didn’t click. It didn’t sound or feel right. So rather than rushing I sat down again with the TV on and created a mood board with all the feelings and words that meant something to me.
Love, Happiness, Anger, Pain, Journey, Embark, Hope, Resilience, and Dream.
Dreaming was my thing when I was younger. I always had a vision of my life and the way I kept going through dropping out of law school and almost being kicked out of college was by dreaming of my future and building up to it.
Telling myself what I need to do for the next day and planning things to get excited for helped me out.
I stared at that mood board for an hour. I sat down and just starting humming in my head “cash rules everything around me cream” which is one of my fav Wu Tang songs. I then looked at Dream and it clicked. Dreams rule everything around me. I scrambled. Called one of my closest friends and told him. He loved the name and we quickly made a logo. Called my best friend and we quickly started the paperwork for the brand. It was it.
Right then and there I felt it. I called my dad and he loved it too. We made a design called Prism, a logo tee, and a few hoodies. December 1 we launched and it was ready to go. I kept this one close to the chest because i was embarrassed to tell people because of my failures.
Everything was going OK for a few months but nothing picked up. I worked hard and made some hit designs like Rising Sun, Dream Chasin’, and more. I had a lot of flops but just kept pushing. I got lucky enough to have @SamoaJoe and @UberHaxorNova rock our stuff, it was awesome.
James really breathed new life into DREAM and I will forever be in his debt. We started moving from the guest room to the garage. We had one shelf of clothes and a few designs but kept pushing. On April 30, 2019 I lost my job and all of my hope. I fell into a deep depression.
Dream wasn’t enough to help my family and I had another child on the way. Rather than sulking I pushed hard until we made the deal with @SypherPK which was one of the best things to happen to my confidence and to dream. Before working with him we donated $10,000.
After working with Sypher we donated $3000 in ONE DAY. I knew we had something. In the meanwhile I had to get another job to support my family. I worked at the worlds worst company but kept doing it for my family. Dreams growth was stunted. We weren’t moving and I was scared.
Until March 2020 when we released Stay By My Side and started experimenting with multiple colors, joggers, and more. We were back and broke records I couldn’t even think we would get close to. In June of 2020 I lost my job again but I was happy. It was time.
Although I took a lot of torment from my old job I worked to make sure I can hire employees and take care of them financially and mentally. The garage grew more. We went from 3 shelves to 4. 4 to 5, 5 to 7 and on. Once we started working with @AustinOnTwitter we exploded.
Everyone heard about us and we kept pushing. I hired some help but couldn’t handle most of it anymore. The shelves were growing the space was getting smaller and people were being upset because it was impossible to run this alone. I knew it was time to expand or I’d fall apart.
On June 2nd I contacted @zumiez one more time and told them that I will do anything to be in their stores. I finally heard back and the wheels started turning. Working with the top names on Twitch and in the biggest streetwear store? What a huge thing for this small brand.
Here we are now...3 years later and on the eve of moving into our first warehouse. Did I ever think this would happen? Honestly, no. I’ve failed at so many things in my life that I thought this would fizzle out. Today we have 4 employees who I take care of like family.
Shipping is now faster. Customer service is rock solid. Inventory is on check. And most importantly, our non profit partners are well taken care of and helping us achieve our dreams when it comes to mental health awareness.
I’d like to thank everyone I mentioned in this. James, Austin, Joe, @JustaMinx , Sypher and all I’ve worked with, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made this perceived loser into a winner and someone who is now championing the battle against mental health.
To my designers and other employees, I’ll make sure you never felt like me feeling lost and alone with no purpose.
My kids helped me never give up, love you boys. Wifey, thanks for always keeping me grounded and taking care of my mental health throughout all this. I can’t do any of this without you.
And most importantly, Dad @sarky14, I love you, thank you for never giving up on me and always believing in me.
I hope this inspired you if you read this all. NEVER GIVE UP on yourself or your dreams. You never know where it will get you.