By Taroue Brooks
Tell us about your company and product
The name of my company is called Jewels of Hip Hop, Jewels for short. It is a high-end Street luxury apparel brand we like to call it trap a luxury that represents the being the best version of yourself every day while making a way out of no way. Which indeed was how the foundation of Hip Hop was formed, from nothing by using the remnants of other genres and creating an entirely new multibillion dollar culture. Therefore, unlike any other luxury Brands, we start from the inside out because all true and timeless value starts from the inside out. You have to see yourself there before you actually put in the work, time and consistent dedication before you get there. It is imperative that you understand when you go through things, that you must harbor the awareness to grow through things in order to show the world the best version of yourself each and every day.
The backstory behind this brand is very interesting because it was not intentionally meant to be a brand let alone a luxury one either. It all started off as a small tablet of deep philosophical and motivational life quotes to keep myself motivated during a very economically challenging part of my life at the time. I recall standing in the shower after a long day of flea market sales that we were doing day today just to keep us afloat and surviving that I can continue to do this and only survived or I can take out the time to take Destiny into my own hands and create my own way that way if anything were to ever let me down it’ll be me and I damn sure was never going to let myself down I never have I never will and I never would.
This particular song by this artist cut playing in my head and it kept me motivated to do to keep going and I thought to myself what would be absolutely dope is that if somebody could actually has a book or a conglomeration of all of these motivational and philosophical things that aren’t saying there lyrics and I thought that somebody should do it and I said why don’t I write a book about it but I immediately shot it down because I thought it was going to be lame and I didn’t think that people would get that much about you from it so I put it off for 30 days. And everyday doing those next 30 days every time I got into the shower I would think about the idea of collecting of deep philosophical sayings of wisdom from hip hop artist in there lyrics. So the next day I told my girl to drop me off at the library. The first day I wrote five pages the second Arrow 10 pages and when I roll 15 pages I said you know what I got something here and I’ve been at the library everyday all day for 12 hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and on the weekends I actually would go to Zaxby’s or McDonald’s and use their Wi-Fi and work all day 14 hours plus and I will only eat can red beans and rice very cold canned mixed vegetables 60 sins can beans and peanut butter sandwiches everyday for the next year and I also cut off all of my social media and I told no one about this project. I locked in because I understood that total concentration is the perfect method. I wore the same clothes and pair of shoes throughout the weeks.
Throughout the entire process of compiling this masterpiece, I had no idea on how I was going to get it published or where the money was going to come from to fund publication and I knew in the back of my mind that working a regular job was not going to do it. So after I finished the book, I put on that one ensemble of slacks, shirt, tie, and vest that we all tuck away just in case, and the one pair of practically new pair of grey chucks and I walked to five banks and they all told me no. I had walked so much that hot spring day, that my feet had blisters on them to the point that I couldn’t even stand at the end of the day. The next day my girl used our only car to take me to the remaining banks and the first one we stopped at, not only did I get a dope loan officer, but he was actually the VP of the bank. I told him my story up until that point, showed him the entire book on his computer, and told him my plan and vision. He liked it and allowed me to use my 2000 crown vic, my grandfather had passed down to me for getting accepted into college, as collateral and issued me $3000 THAT DAY ON THE SPOT despite me having to job, credit history, no money and no references he still gave me that loan because I had a vision. And I was determined to make this happen no matter what.
I used most of that loan to pay for my website, blank for my apparel, a heat press, a desktop computer, and other miscellaneous accessories and to repay the monthly amount. Well after about 3.5 months it got to a point to where I was going to have to have a consistent way to draw in income and still pursue my dream. That’s when I came across rideshare. I used the last of my $200 to book a reservation to get a car. I had to pawn my diamond and gold earrings, sewing machine (that I had bought with the loan), and a MIDI Keyboard to cover the insurance deposit. All was well, all I needed to do was pick it up and begin driving but I still needed a way to get to McDonough GA while I was currently in Rome, GA with no car. Interestingly enough a guy that I would see periodically in the library while I was writing the book, took it upon himself to sit next to me and ask me what have I been so dedicated to working on over all of these months. I showed him, he liked it, and told me that he’s actually heading that way towards Atlanta tomorrow and he’d be happy to drop me off as far as Marietta for free! He kept his word, gave me $20 and left. As expected my homegirl who stayed in the Meto Atlanta area at the time was delighted to take me the rest of the way. When we got there everything went according to plan, singed all of the papers but the only caveat was that I would have to travel back 1hr and 40 mins to Rome to get a car tag and back before they close. We rode to Rome and I paid the car tag fee, which was exactly $20 and filled up my homegirls gas tank with an overdrawn card in order to get back to McDonough. The manager was gracious enough to stay late after the sun had gone down with my keys in his had to happily hand them over to me. Wished me luck, and I sat in my car with -$17 in one bank account and 32 cents in another account with nothing but a full tank of gas and a sack full of dreams and ambition. I slept in my car in Atlanta, woke up and drove all weekend. I made $454 and the rest is history.
I saved up enough money to buy my own car from a used car lot and gave back the Uber car, then I was blessed enough after running the low mileage used car from 30,000 mi to 250,000 to trade it in into an official car dealership for a brand new car with 0 mi! I literally started from nothing and continued to press through and create something All in all, I put up 4.6K to have the book self-published and more to create and establish this brand.
Share your love of music with us.
I heard a Rasta say that music is the king of all professions. Plus it is a universal language. Good music is good music, enough said.
What inspires your creativity for your designs?
Just life really, any deep personal thing that I’ve gone through and something I can draw from I try to incorporate that into Jewels. For instance, my personal philosophy is: life is so serious that is not funny it’s so funny that is not serious. I want people to be the best without being stressed and be reminded on a daily on why that is important because your life’s purpose IS important. The greatest gift you can give the world is the best version of yourself.
How has COVID affected impacted your business?
Covid has really had an impact on my business in so far as getting everything ready for launch but I pressed through it and got through it. Like I mentioned before, I had no money no car and no credit, no Wi-Fi and I was watching my drawers and socks out in the bathroom sink, eating 60 cent cans of mixed vegetables, canned red beans and rice and peanut butter sandwiches everyday while I was building this brand and compiling the 909 page Jewels of Hip Hop: A Modern Mosaic of Social Philosophy masterpiece so going through a little Covid and pushing through was nothing! I was built for survival. Because the funny thing is once you’re broken down to the lowest of your lows you’re able to analyze yourself and see what you’re made of so when you build yourself back up nobody can tell you how worthless you are and what your value is because you already know what it is because you’ve been through there and seen it through your experience. That’s why our slogan is MADE IN EXPERIENCE. Everybody every dream every thought and everything is made and experience. And that’s what wisdom comes from hence the brand name Jewels.
What keeps you motivated?
When people ask me, how am I doing always tell them another day another way because I understand that no matter how many times people may tell you no all you need is one yes to continue going on your journey. I just appreciate the opportunity to have my arms and legs functioning to be able to draw breath to just actually manifest whatever I want to create every day. That’s what keeps me motivated- the opportunity to create what’s in my head and manifest into reality.
Because when you look around everything that’s to see is created twice: once in the mind and the second one in the physical plane so as long as I have that opportunity to do that, that’s more than motivation that’s a purpose. And I realize that I’m walking in my purpose on purpose so people who choose walk with me will help me to do it on purpose! There’s no waste of a day when you appreciate the opportunity of every single day. You’d be surprised what can happen in one day, one moment or one conversation. I wake up every morning thinking another day, another way even until this day. Shit, I’m still grinding hard like is day one with no money and holes in my drawers! Real shit!
Where would you like to see your company in the next five years?
Having Jewels in the conversation is one of the top luxury brands in the world. I see us making Furniture, bed sheets, household items expanding in every facet of life that you can imagine that can be branded with Jewels. Basically everything that you see that’s MADE IN EXPERIENCE, we’re going to make that through our experience and bring out the best version of you while we do it. I see having Jewels plastered all over sporting events from football, soccer, Esports, paintball, tennis, track, the Olympics, Billboards, magazines, television shows, movies, and fun events being sponsored by Jewels. I see people creating graffiti murals of this brand. I see people tricking out their cars in this luxury brand Jewels of Hip-Hop. I see the 909 page masterpiece of lifelong timeless quotes of wisdom from Hip Hop artist being debated in college classes about the philosophies of one artist versus the philosophy of another artist. I see this being inducted into museums around the world. I see this being a collection of Timeless and priceless art for generations to come. I feel like this Brand, bookmarks an epic in history that will never be forgotten and will always be for revered into Eternity. I see this brand influencing and impacting everybody from every Walk of Life to dig in and be the best version of themselves because the greatest gift that you can give the world is the best version of yourself. No matter whatever you been through it’s always best to show up as the best you.
SM: @jewelsoh2 + @kingtholysses