Just an Island girl, standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Meet James Black soon to be the next Big Jamaican Export

Owner and visionary of YC James Black .

Yes Jamaica is known for a lot of amazing things, the fastest man in the world, Bob Marley,  Reggae music, Dancehall with icons among icons, we're a small island that packs a lot of punch. It should come as no surprise to you that Fashion is one of those things, allow me to introduce you to James Black a woman I met a couple years ago and whose personal brand I have become obsessed with.
Yahdie Conscious Designs is one of the biggest underground brands in Jamaica, no special effects, no major fashion shows and definitely no excessive advertising, this is a brand that grew because people genuinely loved it and James is such a sweetheart (In real Life). To read the interview I did with James scroll down, she has a lot to say about building a brand, her personal style and handling social media as a entrepreneur you'll wanna hear all of it.
James wearing her Infamous Logo T shirts that made YC famous.

James Black wearing her own Design

YC Summer Collection 2013

YC Summer Collection 2013

YC Summer collection 2014

Get to Know Jami / James Black:

Lauren O Lauren - Is James Black your real name and how did you get started in designing?

James Black -  No it isn't. I started using the name seven years ago when I wanted a "cool designer name" lol. My friends and family were already calling me James(derived from my real name Jami) and I love black clothing so I just put them together and it completely stuck where people think it's my real name.

 I've been designing for about ten years. The first thing I designed was my high school's cheerleading outfit and we actually won best costume that year for the JAMFIT Cheerleading competition. It was really a desire to start my own business and I was getting increasingly more into fashion at the time so I wanted to put two things together that I loved- business and fashion. The line started out as just a cool and edgy T-shirt line, but our customers started to ask for more and so the expansion into other articles of clothing started in 2007

Lauren O Lauren - What are your plans for the brand in the future how will you keep it  going?

James Black -  My next plan for YC is to solidify my own retail space, in whatever form that may be, online or physical. I have pieces available online but it doesn't have the wide product range or volume available that I would like. I would also love to have my brand in a boutique overseas specifically New York.

Lauren O Lauren - What is your Most Popular design to date?

James Black - My most popular design may have to be the logo long sleeve tees. People really love the simplicity of the logo and that it's a piece that can be worn repeatedly in so many different ways. A close second would have to be the African print set, those were definitely the big hit this Summer! The vibrant colors and laid back style of it made it perfect for all the summer parties.

Lauren O Lauren - What is your favorite piece of clothing and your favorite designer item?

James Black - My favorite piece of clothing is maybe my YC logo long sleeve tee. I can wear it with my leather skirt now that it's getting a bit chilly. I jut love sweatshirts and v-neck tees in general, those are my go to pieces that I can dress up or down on a daily basis.
I am still waiting to treat myself to a designer item, or for someone else to lol and by designer I mean anything on the level of Chanel, Alexander Wang etc. I'm still shopping on ASOS, Nasty Gal and H&M :)

Lauren O Lauren - Define and describe your style. 

James Black - My style is definitely laid-back but still has an edgy and sophisticated feel to it. However, the Pisces in me also makes my style very unpredictable. Sometimes I can be girly and flirty in a flared, cocktail style dress and heels. Other days I'll be in an oversized tee, sneakers and ripped jeans. I also identify a bit with Bohemian fashion. LOL I'm all over the place but the base of it is really effortless but statement making fashion. I hate over-accessorizing and when I see people who do, I always quote my sister in my head, "She needs an eraser" 

Lauren O Lauren - Whats a must have in your bag or clutch?

James Black - A must-have is my oil blotting powder, either from MAC or Black Opal. I have very oily skin and this Jamaican weather doesn't help  so I have to do my best to reduce that Caribbean shine.

Lauren O Lauren - When did your brand started getting recognition when was that moment when you said, yes it hasn't all been in vain I just need to keep doing this?

James Black - I don't know if it was a single moment but just the support I've gotten over the years, whether through the media (local newspapers magazines and tv shows as well as Vogue Italia's Black blog, The Fader etc.) or just even when people come up to me and say they love the brand, those are the moments I think ok I can keep going forward because trust me nuff times I wanted to stop lol.

Lauren O Lauren - How do you handle your social media? You are a brand many people know you as the creator of YC, however you are also a person. Does that come into play when you are on social media, or you dint think about that?

James black - I started a YC Instagram page earlier this year but before then I was kind of promoting myself and the brand as one because I know in some cases people recognize/notice me first and then the brand. Later on I found the need to not want to mix my personal life and my business too much so I now operate the personal page and business page. Also, it gives people the chance to not have to be bothered with all my other non-YC related posts that they may not give a care about lol. However, I'm operating a legitimate business that I want to last and so even my personal page is managed in the way where I try to conduct myself in a manner that is still that of a businesswoman. It's fashion and it is fun so I don't have to be super conservative but it's still a business and I try to command some sort of respect without asking for it so I'm very conscious of the image that I portray even on my personal page.

Lauren O Lauren - Do you have any advise for anyone starting a creative business?

James Black -  Always be true to yourself and your style but seek feedback and constructive criticism from family and friends you know have your best interest at heart and will be honest with you. For me, that's my sister and mom, I don't have to question their motives when they give me advice. Everyone should have at least one person like that when following their passion. Sometimes you may get so caught up in the fact that you're doing something you love you may not realize that one, maybe that's not your calling or two maybe you could improve on your product offering. I'm constantly learning, the brand has come a looooong way. I'm happy with how it is now positioned in the market but I'm trying not to get comfortable with it. Read up on your industry and what has worked for people who made it. I love watching interviews or reading articles on business women in fashion who I look up to.

Stay Connected with James & YC Here

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