There are architects of success behind the great Kanye West, and oftentimes they fly under the radar. Don C, try as he might, is never under the radar. People know his signature style, in fashion and technology, and respect him for that.
He sat down exclusively with The Source to break down a brief history of his personal brand, how important it is for brands to share the same philosophy, and five rules of entrepreneurship.
So Don C, can you tell me the biggest reason why you started Just Don apparel? And what’s the purpose or meaning behind it all?
Don C: I founded Just Don in 2011. When I first founded it, it just organically sprouted from an idea. I designed a baseball cap and people wanted to have it. I didn’t know that I was going to create the brand at that time. I was privileged enough to have a retail store, so I had a distribution point.
What was bothering me is that people started calling it the Don C hat. I don’t like to bring attention to myself. And I was like, “Oh, man, I just designed them. It’s not my hat.” I had to think of a brand name and make this moment mean something. Organically, I was being creative and designed a product that aggregated a community. So my charge was to build a business around that. It just organically flowed that way, I didn’t have a plan before.
Talk to me about your connection with Samsung and how did this collaboration come about?
Well, I’m all about being different and going against the grain. So, when I see everybody jumping on one bandwagon and going on, right, I like to go left and be like what’s over there. I am like “let me at least expose myself to it.” So, I was privileged enough to be exposed to the brand, I was able to build a really good relationship with them. And when they showed me this product, I thought the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 was a game-changer. I tell everybody, we live in a world where we receive information on multiple screens all the time.
When we are looking at TV, we’re also looking at the tablet. We’re also looking at our phone. We were at the sports bar and looking at multi-screen, multi-game, the tennis US Open, the NBA Western Conference Finals, MLB game over there, hockey final game over here.
And then we’re looking at the clips of all of them on Sports Center. The rate we can receive information is way different than a long time ago. Now finally, Samsung has given us a device that’s catching up with how we are living. And so I just love it. I was like “that’s the game-changer.” No other device has multi-screens and the phone flex capability. So I can look at a PDF, while I’m on a video call on the same device. Like before this, I used to be on zoom calls and excuse myself when I want to look at something on the screen. And then my screen would go black on people.
Talk to me a little bit about what advice you would give to young people, Millennials, Gen Zs, and Gen Xers, and how they would pursue an entrepreneurial lifestyle. What are some of the top five things that they should do?
1) Identify your talent or your uniqueness. 2) Figure out what is the fuel for your entrepreneurship, and then do a lot of research. 3) Read. Give yourself information about what you want to do. 4) Look at examples of people or businesses that you want to emulate or learn not to do from. 5) Then be persistent and work as hard as possible and stay persistent at that work and build good relationships. A bonus: make sure your community is good with like-minded individuals, like gold individuals, and then just continue to build that community based on all those pillars.
In what ways can our readers implement this in their everyday lives? How can they easily be introduced into our everyday
To me, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold can replace the phone and the tablet. Now you have one device that you could do everything on. Now, I know the ecosphere might be a little different, but that will be where an adaptation is and then you will do the work to build that community into a bigger community. So I tell everybody, if everybody’s on the blue bubble, don’t just want to be the blue bubble. Because everybody’s on the blue bubble. Make sure the blue bubble is the best bubble. So I decided, like, man, I want to jump out of the blue bubble. I want to be in the green bubble. And then I want to build with the green bubble and possibly from there even make other color bubbles.
What are some of the goals that are going to make you go to your next level?
Keep setting goals for myself. How I’ve been able to attain certain things in life is by setting goals and working hard to achieve them.
So, I just want to remain or stay true to that principle when it comes to that, and then adjusting. Some say “When I look back in the days,” I don’t relate. I don’t look back unless I’m trying to learn a lesson. I’m not a historian. So I don’t care about what happened in the past. I’m a futurist. I live for the future. And I’m just trying to set goals for myself in the future, to be really big and, and help humankind and help humanity and the future of humanity. So those are the goals I’m setting for myself. And I want to connect with people that have similar goals because then I know that we can reach those goals at a faster and better pace.
Yes, that’s what my dad was like. They have shown to me that they have similar principles that I have. And I love that and they have way more resources and honestly, so one plus one was Samsung is not two, one plus one is infinity.
Don C, whose real name is Don Crawley, is an American streetwear designer from Chicago, Illinois, with familiar roots in Louisiana. He was a manager for Kanye West, and an executive at Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label.