We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Easley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve always had artistic strengths. As a kid, I would draw endlessly. I enjoyed drawing cars, shoes, even houses. By high school, I was even drawing floor plans. I also loved building things with LEGOs. When I say things, I mean ANYTHING! When the time came, I started in music. From middle school through college, I played the trumpet. What many may find odd, I never took an art class. This was mainly because the school curriculum forced us to choose one artistic form to participate in. Mine was music. I didn’t return to it until after my “music career” was over. One day, during a boring meeting at work, I started sketching things around the room on my note pad. Within that instant, I was drawn (no pun) back in. I started intertwining my interests, business (marketing) and art together. I started imaging myself creating powerful brand for others. I started teaching myself photography and graphic design. That led to connecting with one of my best friends and assisting him in his apparel business. Years later, I began to feel an itch I had locked away year earlier; having my own label. Despite my many semi-career paths, the undying, overwhelming internal call to myself is to be creative.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I spend lots of time creating licensed apparel with my partner, Thaddeus Reed of Reed Enterprises. We have been partners for about 8+ years and became the biggest online presence for our Alma Mater, Jackson State University, licensed apparel. We also do custom screen printing and embroidery for many other entities.
A year and a half ago, I took the steps to start my own athleisure label, All+Good Thingx. It has been a long road getting to where I was even confident enough to try my own label on my own. It took me having a solid partner to work with for years that gave me the “CAN DO” confidence I needed to attack my own interests with the same fervor. I hear a lot of people talk about a fear of failure stopping them from doing things that are on their hearts. I had a fear of imperfection–not only was I afraid of failure but I viewed imperfection, itself, as failure, also. In my younger years, that fear of not being perfect stunted my growth. This is where the name and mantra of All+Good Thingx came from. The belief that things are possible is the first step in any success.
Over my decade of being an entrepreneur, I’ve seen a lot of people try a lot of things. We are in a society that creates a false world of beliefs. People want to take someone’s once in a lifetime fluke and think that will work for them the exact same way. You have to fall in love with the process because you can go hard at something for ten years and it doesn’t work out until the eleventh. I tried to take the traditional approach of getting and growing in a “good solid job” and it bored me nearly to death! I learned critical business skills and knowledge but I knew the my story would not finish like this. I constantly complained to my friends at the time. I hated work. I felt constricted. I felt it was life or death to tap into my creativity and let it roam. I took one step at a time to “Find Balance. Free Creativity. (and eventually) Feel Myself.”
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Disclaimer: I am terrible with itineraries but… I like history so I always recommend seeing the King Center and Birth Home. Piedmont Park, Ponce City Market, and the Beltline provide for some good outdoor air and sights. Lastly, one of my favorite places to just hangout in the last few years is The Battery. There’s so much more I could name, however. Food: Local Green ATL, Slim & Husky’s, and Papadeaux all rank high on my list.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have many! I believe no matter how hard we work at something individually, we are made successful by positive people allowing us the space to try. That was made evident when a friend that had made his way in the space simply saw my thirst and lent a hand. My guy, Aaron, lit the spark and gave me the very tools that started me on my way. My friend and business partner Thad has been a major player. I dealt with strong feelings of anxiety when I started his creative journey. I would think, “I’m not classically trained,” and those thoughts made me shrink. This is something a lot of creatives battle. My close friends have been there to patronize, support, and recommend me for business. But, most importantly over the more recent years, is my wife, Yolanda, that allows me to just try things (as long as I take care of home lol). In a creative space, it is more important to be able to try something new than worry about instant success.
Main photo: Tara Harp Photography The rest: Illogic Creative