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creatives

Side Hustler Corner with Terrance

Very excited to sit down with you. We know you have a busy schedule juggling many hats so I appreciate you taking the time. To start off, let’s focus on the basic three “W’s” for those that may not know you; Who are you? Where are you from (born)? What do you do? 

(T) My name is Terrance Woolford but I go by Eazy Denim and I am from West Philadelphia. I’m a thrifter, reseller, and artist who has found a way to combine all three into one creative genre.

How did you come up with the idea or concept on blending the three into one? What brought on the lightbulb moment? (Reseller, Thrifter, Artist) 

(T) The concept started back when I used to paint the heart pins for Heartbrkers. There was a thrift store located around the corner from the art studio we had in 2013 where all adult clothing cost $1 and all children’s clothing cost $0.50. I remember going in there and buying items such as jeans, belts, and handbags which I would cut up and glue onto pins. I released 20 pins and called it the Thrift Store Collection.  That wasn’t enough, however, and in the back of my mind I knew that I eventually wanted to create larger art pieces. Thankfully I was able to do so in 2018.

What does your business represent?

(T) My business represents taking things that others may view as useless and turning them into masterpieces. I started and came from nothing but have been able to turn my life and vision into what it is today. Hence my business motto: If there isn’t a way you have to make a way and make sure it’s loud enough to be heard without you having to speak; all action.

That’s powerful, man - Actions and energy definitely speak louder than words! Speaking about representation, what does being Black mean to you? 

(T) This is a deep question. To me, being black is the best thing on earth. It’s beautiful. It’s expressive. It’s loving. It’s passionate. It’s the closest thing to God. It’s also overcoming not only stereotypes of who/what they said you’re supposed to be but also rising above certain circumstances such as poverty. Lack of resources. Failing education systems. The streets. Ancestral plight. It’s a lifelong battle being black.

What would you define as past vs. current battles being black? 

(T) Back then we were physically enslaved by chains and fear. Today we’re physically free but mentally enslaved by chains and fear. Same cycle.

That, it is. It’s crazy that in 2019 we are still facing the same hardships and injustices but definitely feeling the shift within the community for all of us to grow collectively. What does the word “community” mean to you? 

(T) Community is not only the place you come from or the place that raised you. It is also the change you want around you and the place you want to leave behind. We should seek to bring value to our community through the gifts, talents, resources, and knowledge we’ve acquired along the way. Be a living example. Be the change.

Sharing the gems of our journey is important. But some things we do not seem to share is the hardship of that same journey. What are the struggles that come with building your business?

(T) There’s too many to count but in every struggle, I have found a valuable lesson to be learned and applied in order to overcome future obstacles. With the power of the internet, books, YouTube, and seminars, there’s an answer to every question and an expert sharing their experience. We just have to tap into it.

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What current struggles are you trying to overcome in your business? 

(T) Current struggles would be sitting down and mapping out definitive goals/plans and executing accordingly. A part of me likes to move in the direction that feels right but a part of me knows I need a clear direction; I’ll figure it out.

*Laughs* One day we all will. That reminds me of pure adulthood and figuring life out. Which brings us to our next question. What does being a man in today's society mean to you?

(T) Another life long journey for me is discovering what it means to be a man. Most prominently since having my son and having been raised by a single mother. There are some things we grew up on that work and some things that are simply outdated. As a man you just have to find out what your values, principles, purpose, and mission are and let that guide you. It is also about being open enough to make changes along the way. We’re gonna make mistakes. It’s human.

What lessons do you want to instill in your son as a father, entrepreneur, and as a black man in today's society, that you either learned or wished you knew? 

(T) You have to stand on your ten toes at all times. Nobody is coming to help you. Nobody is going to walk up to your door and hand you the life you want to live. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to get out there and get after it. Make sure that whatever it is you’re doing it for the right reasons. Most people want the money or the look or the attention or the praise for things that they’re not 100% passionate about or just because they see others doing it. Money is the result of your hard work and effort, but shouldn’t be your reason and only motivation. The money will come. That’s the easy part when what you’re doing is meant for you. Make sure you stay true to your vision, have a solid foundation and real purpose for whatever it is you do. There will be ugly moments in your life and in your business to test how badly you really want it and if it is not truly for you then that’ll be the moment you’ll give up.

Man...That was good. I felt like someone needed to hear that today. (That someone is me, LOL). What was your motivation and inspiration to take your upbringing and where you came from to where you are today? 

(T) I’ve always been inspired by black-owned businesses. Having friends or hearing stories of people owning auto shops, restaurants or daycares always inspired me. Even people who wanted to make a couple of extra bucks by selling water ice and candy off their front porch was dope to me.  Not really having anybody in my family really into entrepreneurship made me want to be the example. I’ve seen many businesses emerge on the internet so I knew that there was a 24/7 opportunity to make money with the right product and consumer base. Lastly, having my son and knowing he’s looking up to me, as well as the next generation gives me the motivation to succeed in whatever I put my mind to. My motto is “I want to be the coach that played in the game” so when he comes to me for advice or knowledge about a business it won’t be from “what I think” or “what I heard” but from “what I’ve learned” through my experience.  

How does one keep inspiring to be the change we want the community to have when stories like Nipsey Hussle being robbed from us still remains relevant? 
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(T) Nipsey was a special individual who overtime changed his mentality, tapped into his higher consciousness, and obeyed what was in his heart. We feel his presence after death, even from people who weren’t tuned into him musically because he represented hope and real change in the most genuine and relatable way. My advice is this…we all have the potential to tap into our higher selves if we allow ourselves to shut the outside world and go deep within ourselves. I definitely feel we will see more people continue the marathon he started.

#TheMarathonContinues. He was very proud and invested in the city he was from and I know a lot of Philadelphians feel the same way. What does being from Philadelphia mean to you? 

(T) Being born and raised in Philadelphia I still think this is an amazing city till this day. I’m seeing a city striving to compete with other major cities. Over the past 10 years, it’s dope to see how progressive Philly has become with more events, activities,  spaces, and neighborhood growth. It is on the rise, culturally. Whatever you want from this city, it has a place that offers what you’re looking for.

Are you fearful about the idea that gentrification might take away from the culture that has already been established there?  

(T) Yes... I am afraid of gentrification interfering with our neighborhoods. It sucks because I love architecture, condos, lofts, spacious living, and modern design. All I watch is HGTV. My old high school, West Philadelphia High, has been turned into condominiums. It’s tough. Houses weren’t designed to last thousands of years. A good 100 years or so at max. The world is forever evolving and forever changing. Especially at an even more rapid rate now than ever before. Idk - I don’t have the answers. Just find a way to get into a position of self-empowerment where you give yourself a chance and more options.  


Appreciate you! Let’s end it with our Wordplay segment. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words?

Culture -- Black Culture.

Influencer -- Real Responsibility.

Ambassador -- Nipsey.

Meek Mill -- Philly to the core. Voice of the streets. Living example.

Philadelphia -- Home.

Entrepreneur -- It’s The Only Way. Nobody can tell you how much your time is worth because it’s priceless. Might as well get compensated for your ideas.

Side Hustler -- The more the better.

Art -- Everything is art.

Self Made -- Cool catchphrase. Even cooler if it’s true to you.  

Creatives -- We all have the ability to create. Go create something.

Fatherhood -- The best thing ever.

Black -- All I know. A Precious gift.

Minority -- “Wealth is of the heart and mind, not the pocket” - Pharrell. It starts with the mindset.

Unconventional -- There’s no a,b,c, step by step cookie cutter path to success. You have to be willing to be the first one to create the path where there once stood no footprints.

Underdog -- Your time will come. Stay the course.

Millennial -- Huge advantage.

Business -- A lot of people want to quit their job, start their own business and become their own boss. I read when you're starting a business “every client is your boss”. Also when you start a business you clock-in one time and never clock out. 24/7 lifestyle. Are you built for that?


You can follow terrance on Instagram @eazy_denim

Side Hustler Corner with Amber

Very excited to sit down with you! I know you have a busy schedule juggling many hats so we always like to start off with the basics three W’s for those that may not know you. 
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Who are you? Where are you from (born)? And what do you do?  

My name is Amber Mayfield and I am an Event Planner. My events company is called One Nineteen Events and I am the Founder of a pop-up dinner series called TO BE HOSTED. I am originally from Rockland County, New York and currently based in Brooklyn.

What does your business represent? 

When I started TO BE HOSTED in 2017, I wanted to create an experience for young professionals and creatives to connect and fellowship in a comfortable space. I make these spaces comfortable by bringing in delicious food, wines, live music, and art. Then, I seat everyone based on their shared interests or life goals (to help break the ice of dining with strangers). In bringing these like-minded people together so intentionally, TO BE HOSTED also became a platform for multicultural chefs, artists and musicians. So for me, TO BE HOSTED represents how magical it is when you get the right people in the right places. I use this same highly personal, diligently curated approach to events in planning for One Nineteen Events clients, as well.

How do you determine or find specific information about your TO BE HOSTED Dinner Series attendees before each event?

We have a TO BE HOSTED diner profile on our website. We use that information to learn about our guests and figure out who they might enjoy sitting next to at dinner.

Although these experiences are magical, we know not everything is magical when it comes to building a business. What are the struggles that come with building One Nineteen Events and the TO BE HOSTED Dinner Series? 

For me the biggest struggle is scale and marketing. My dinner experiences are very intimate, I only host about 20-30 people at a time a few times a year. So I am constantly torn between wanting to do the mass market flashy Instagram stuff and wanting to focus on just producing really great events. Like they say "if there is no photo it didn't happen," but if my guests want to be on their phone all night that is also not a win for me because I want them to be engaged with the people and the experience that's IRL.

Besides marketing, scaling the business in general is a struggle. Right now I am the CEO, the event producer, the new business account specialist, the entire finance department and administrative assistant (lol). So having everything organized and streamlined enough to keep up with myself and all my events is a challenge I am continuing to chip away at!

What are the joys that come with building your business? 

So many joys! Of course there is the joy of happy customers and clients after my events that make everything worth it. Then, on the day to day you have those small victories: learning a new software, pitching an idea your client loves or just organizing your desktop. Because it's for your business, every little thing becomes this joyous reminder like "hey, you can do this!"

Yes you can and you are! What do you do to celebrate those wins, big or small? 

Oh no over the top celebrating for me. I just do a little happy dance in my apartment (or wherever my makeshift office is that day), give the glory to God and keep it pushing. And then sometimes I have chocolate cake because why not?

That is so precious! Now let’s switch gears a bit. What does being Black mean to you? 

Everything. We are a people so rich in history and culture, it is sometimes hard to fathom all the complexities. And to be so uniquely positioned for triumph and resilience, it makes me sad, mad, happy and motivated all in the same breath.

Dope! Now, what does being a Woman mean to you? 

Well there's a loaded question. It depends on the day, but on most days, and especially as a black woman, it means I can do anything.

Interesting that you stated it depends on the day; Can we dive deeper into that statement and  discuss what that could mean on other days? And to take it one step further, what does being a black woman mean to you?

Well on "other" days I think being a woman is a little annoying to be honest. I wouldn't trade teams or anything, but sometimes I think our society is so unforgiving of women. We just deal with a lot of unnecessary pressures to be the ideal woman and subscribe to different gender expectations. Those expectations seem to double when it comes to black women. For me, there is immense responsibility in being a black woman because all eyes are really on us, and those eyes are very critical. They want to know how do we speak, what do we wear, how do we do our hair, what are we up to, so I try to just give them something to marvel about.

We had an overwhelming amount of love, it feels like, this past International Women's Day  especially from Black Men. Would you agree that you noticed a shift this year? If so, what do you think attributed to the shift? If not, why?  

I think there is a rumbling, not yet a roar, but at least a rumbling of more men being conscious of the black woman's narrative. I'm particularly fortunate in that the men who surround me seem to get it when it comes to different women's rights and social issues. I think we are moving toward a place where we will have more of our black males in a position to listen, and that's when things will really get interesting.

That is super important as well as making sure we are having the conversation with our allies to ensure they do understand the “black woman’s narrative” - I think it essentially helps in these liberal metro cities. Which brings me to my next question;  What does being in New York/Brooklyn mean to you?

I am from the suburbs so growing up, New York City had this glow. When I would think about my adult life and my career, I would always say, "I'm going to live in the city, be a powerful publicist and have a super cute, industrial-looking duplex loft in DUMBO." Now obviously this statement had to evolve a bit once I got older and learned about the rent here, but New York City was always the setting for me. I'm past the honeymoon phase with this city, especially in becoming a freelancer and a business owner here, so I know for certain I am in the right place.

Do you think you are going to stay in New York or are you looking for another challenge in another city? 

HA! I'm New York or Nowhere. I'm open to traveling for client events and pop-up dinners in other cities for sure, but I'll always have a home in New York.

As we are starting to close out, what are some tips or tricks you are starting to learn about organizing yourself that you could share with someone starting out, especially if they are still balancing a 9-5 job? 

Folders and Files and Guidelines. Even if you are a one person show right now, the goal is to not be that way forever. So everything you do should begin with a  process you have written down or a template of some sort that if you were to hire someone tomorrow, they could follow along and get the job done. If you treat yourself like a full business from the beginning, you won't feel like you are playing catch up once the customers and clients really start flowing in.

You are just dropping so many insightful gems - Thank You! Now, let’s have a little fun with word play. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear these words? 

Culture -- Is everything

Influencer -- Overused

Ambassador -- A glorified influencer

Michelle Obama -- QUEEN

New York -- Home

Entrepreneur -- Me

Side Hustler -- God bless 'em

Dinner -- My kind of self care

Self Made -- The goal

Creatives -- Pay them!

Events -- My love

Black -- My people

Minority -- The clique

unconventional -- Seek it

Underdog -- Me

Millennial -- We are what we are

Business -- Support your local businesses!


You can follow Amber @ambb_may on Instagram or visit www.tobehosted.com to learn more

CVG Takes Art Basel

A few weeks back, the CVG team attended the ever growing Art Basel event in Miami, Florida. Each member gained perspective in their own ways but shared a similar sense of inspiration. Follow us as we revisit our liberation & libations.

Culture & Environment

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Felix Vargas_

Absolutely loved the vibe and feeling in Miami during Art Basel. Felt like a place where everyone was welcomed no matter what, it was very non-pretentious. The events were designed and curated very well and the amount of sponsorship was more than what I had expected. Though event ideas were somewhat dated, the overall look and feel of all events were ok and appeasing to the eye.

Britney Wallace_

Being only the second time visiting Miami and the first time venturing out of the bellows of south beach, I was extremely impressed by the artistry and pockets of creativity. Wynwood, the heart of Art Basel, was essentially shut down from most car traffic allowing people to move freely and immerse themselves in artwork, music, vendors, shops, swanky bars, food and so much more. You can tell this city takes pride in this weekend and it open to contributions, collaborations and partnerships to the point that I ended up networking with a handful of individuals from the NYC and greater Philadelphia area.

Overall, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in checking Art Basel out, to do so. Although it is noticeable that the native originality is somewhat muddled by the growing popularity, the experience will be unique and fulfilling nonetheless.

Aya Mohamed_

There’s a vibe in Miami like no other, especially when Art Basel is happening! 
A similar sense of Bourbon St in Louisiana, where the streets are filled with dancing, creative individuals, expressing themselves to tunes of music, and tones of color.

Art Basel, was a great trip for CVG, as we got to meet artists, mostly native to NYC and the TriState area, ironically. Many artists I admired were there showcasing for the first time, after years of frequenting Art Basel. The one thing I kept asking them was how does it feel to be showing your artwork versus looking at everyone else’s. And the responses were the same thrill and excitement one would hope to have showcasing their creativity. It was such a thrill to see so many female artists, artists of minority and first time artists , being the norm , as Swiss Beats would reference, in an art scene that isn’t always welcoming of our kind.

Catherine Buccello_

Culture: Laid Back Vibes, Miami has a very south beach flashy vibe Wynwood has a complete different vibe where it resembles the new millennial feel not putting on a show for anyone and being comfortable and creative. The culture feels like creative people walking around expressing themselves and enjoying art and life.


Environment : Open and free, pretentious feeling is non existent feels like art for us, modern, vibrant expressive and able to speak to and interact with the art and the artist without feeling out of place and fine art for the rich. Brands have a way to directly connect with consumers and activate themselves in a way that feels like appreciation and possibilities.


Favorite Artist or Artwork

 

Catherine_

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Ashley Kay - Her art was simple but the colors she used, with the blend the texture and the visual for some reason spoke to me. it was very different from the majority which seemed to be a theme of owning blackness which i loved but i could tell she was from mixed decent and she only knew how to really express and find herself in her art. in speaking to her she mentioned how long it took her the courage to put herself out there and this is the first showing she was doing and to do it in Miami during Art Basel now thats huge leap! When we asked her what her muse was her response stood out to me although it felt more targeted towards a friend. Mushrooms. They can grow anywhere, including dead environments. It hit home because it basically entailed that no matter what situation you end up in started in or find yourself in you have full capabilities to grow

Britney_

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One of my favorite artists that I experienced was a NYC native, Tatiana Camice. Reasons being is that the extent of her creative ability was so diverse, I was impressed by the mixed mediums (whether stone coasters, pins, mugs, canvas) to the soft brush strokes and strong sense of detail in her work. I purchased a couple of things from her which included a pin of a African American woman, natural hair flowing with the words “Black & Unbothered” on a yellow fan. I’ve always been a fan of simplicity yet intricate design and I was very impressed by her catalog.

Aya_

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My favorite artist had to be a street artist we bumped into named Logic, with his collection “Are you Dying?”.
Not only was his artistic hustle admired, but his fluidity in explaining his work was truly appreciated.

Felix_

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I loved the Helicopter at the Walls. It showcases the oxymoron of life - we are always in the fast lane trying to be on the go at all times meanwhile everyone else is just chillin' and in your way. The cat represents how nonchalant other people are.


Favorite Event

It was unanimous...

Catherine - Unanimous No Commission, granted i have been to the one in the BX which i enjoyed more because it had an outdoor feel with the art strictly inside (and the AC lol) and it had a ride element and food trucks which this one did not have. it was still an amazing experience in a different way. There was other elements to experience like an airbrush fake tattoo station, VR, art was as soon as you walked in, you had some outdoor space, amazing surprise performances, Swizz walking in the crowd, and open Bacardi bar. the vibe felt more curated this time around giving extreme Miami old cuban vibes

Britney - Swiss Beats "No Commission” event definitely provided the best trifecta of music, art and environment amongst all the events we attended. Aside from it being a free admission and an open Barcardi sponsored bar, there was a great variety of artwork on display, temporary tattoo and VR vendors to experience as well as a dance floor/stage area where acts such as Busta Rhymes & 2 Chains and Swizz Beats himself performed. Most of the people who attended until the very end, same as us.

Aya  - The No Commission event by far was one to be remembered. It was thoroughly executed from the entrance, artists, music, and most importantly the message. That art should always be accessible from everyone for everyone. There was a sense of unity from all the guests that I haven’t felt from an event . We were all free to be as we please , and yet all equally unified for a greater cause.

Felix  - No Commission. Great energy, great layout and flow.


Inspiration & Main Takeaways

Felix_

The level of collaboration was very inspirational. There was a sense of community which we sometimes do not see in NYC.

 

 

Aya_

Roaming freely exploring Wynwood, dancing to music, watching artists create right in front of you, and enjoying the plethora of events accessible to everyone is really a trip to remember.

Can’t wait to be back next year!

Catherine_ 

"For the Artist By the Artist With the People" was a saying that Swiss used and it really stuck in my craw felt like FUBU and solange and the way minorities as a unit really came together in this tragic year. It felt like such a terrible year around us but our community within started to become united almost as if it was a necessary evil to bring people together. since CVG mission is to develop a sense of community amongst the side hustle gen and the misfits it gave me more of a push to encourage and even create and fix my own personal and professional relationships

Britney_

Simply put, my main takeaway is to become more intone with who I am and what I do. Being a black woman in tech and design, I was inspired to look more into the NYC and experience more of what it has to offer. This includes things like taking advantage of the winter season by attending more museums or local galleries or getting more involved in tech groups and create meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals. 

 

Check out the gallery below for additional select artwork: