We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Stephens and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
One day I literally decided that I wanted to start my own clothing brand and I was born in 1994 . So ultimately the idea came from wanting to celebrate what I consider a great year and the year where so many others who are doing big things were born. My generation is literally the ONE ! In the midst of doing this I also wanted others to be able to represent the year that they were born as well in which the original name of my brand was year gear lol . At the time of the idea, I noticed how bigger brands were always adding the founding year of their company and I knew that people would love to represent theirs while also catching the eye of others simply because they would want to know what the Roman numeral meant .
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets me apart from others is the time I take to constantly learn . I do a lot of research to find new ways to add to my branding. From watching others to staying up late watching YouTube videos on different techniques. I’ve begun to implement some new ideas that I’ve seen from other small business owners to give my customers a personalized experience that increases with each order . I originally started with giving branded socks , in which I will be going back to because it’s pretty cool , to now making sure to personalize my thank you cards to each customer by name but not the way you’ve seen others do it . I do not rush my processes either because a rushed job is never a good one . I’m most excited about the plans I have for my brand in the coming months because for all of the ideas I’ve had , I’m now putting the money behind making them happen . I’m creating a lot more and simply moving out of my comfort zone to expand myself as a creator and not limiting myself anymore as to what I can do and how I can do it . I got to where I am today simply from determination after choosing to completely give up and finding that stopping would never get me where I want to be as well as the amount of consistent hard work required. It hasn’t been easy but what I’ve learned is that I’m truly destined to be more than Great and far from mediocre which means things can’t be easy for me because I won’t appreciate it the way I should . And because I’m doing this without what I would consider the support I thought I would’ve gotten initially, it drives me to prove to myself that not only is it possible but that with the support that I do have , it’s going to get done.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
For a week long trip I would start with the Battery. There are so many things to do there and we would definitely stop by Yardhouse for food & sports and social for drinks. After that we would head to Colony square on peach tree to have some fun and watch a movie at IPIC . The last few days we would hang out at little five points because I’ve been riding past and there are so many cool places that I would like to stop by to check out & then end our week on Highland Avenue where there are so many places to shop and eat & allows us to walk around to get the full experience to not miss anything.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My elementary school friend Shantil aka Preshay is to thank for not only taking the time to help design my original logo but actually working with me to learn photoshop. She is the life to the brand starting . Then I would like to dedicate this to my parents who have financially backed the cost of my machines and my work space lol, my uncle aka Unkie who literally buys every single item that I make & last but definitely not least my baby girl London. She has been and is the reason behind me pushing myself beyond my limits to make what I’m doing meaningful to create the life I want her to have without limitations.
Image credits to my Bestfriend Jordan – IG grindhardermedia