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.
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?
(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?