Article by: Kiaire Duclos
The name “Ushindi” means victorious in Swahili, but to chief creative Director, Destiny Lawson, it is a lifestyle brand. A brand that seeks to engage afro-centric culture with nostalgia of old school pop culture.
22 trails the name Ushindi, the victorious age that Destiny coined her business. She wanted to create a brand that not only stand out, but also draw conversation and stand on something great even if it never grows from a small business. With the help of her husband, Destiny choose Ushindi22 for the name of her brand because it actually mean something. It implies victorious and is something meaningful to celebrate because it means triumphant, conquering each day and prospering.
Starting out making headwraps and Ankara print accessories for women, Ushindi22 has expanded to incorporate men and pop culture items such as pins, patches, and t-shirts. Products roused by Destiny's love for art and 70's-90's R&B, Hip/Hop and rap, giving her products a old school feel. All items are made and composed in Jacksonville, Florida. Even with such a huge variety of products, her most loved item would have to be the "By Any Means" lapel pin she has made.
"I love Malcolm X and the left-winged revolutionaries that were marginalized and casted evil by white history . That picture to me shows how far we have NOT come where we still have to guard our lives (afro lives) as if it was war. By Any Means necessary protect you and yours."
What personally caught my attention about Ushindi22 was the BCU epic graduation shirt that read "Tried'It". It stood out to me, so I had to know the significance of this shirt. On the epic day of May 10th, 2017, spring graduates of the historical black university, Bethune-Cookman, took a stance against Betsy DeVos, a poor excuse of a national leader for education. Graduates turned their backs to her while she was giving her speech at commencement. It was a poor choice on the BCU administration, knowing DeVos stance on education and HBCU's. This resulted in the "Tried'It" shirt, which begun as a thought from one of Destiny's sorority sisters in the wake of the great BCU Clap Back as she would portray it. She wanted to make an entertaining shirt with a significance behind it, however she made it so even if you did not attend BCU or a HBCU could wear. The great thing about that shirt is that the proceeds will be given to PACE center for Girls in Volusia County to help with literacy.
"My biggest challenge would be finances and planning. At first I was not 100% aware of all the things. I needed to plan for ahead and honestly I did not receive a lot of help (without being charged) so my research took longer than expected. I would go back and plan before releasing"
Planning ahead is one of Destiny's biggest tips to anyone who wants to start their own business and even though she despise branding sometimes, here's some of her tips for branding.
1. Love what you do first.
2. Be yourself.
3. Invest in marketing like social media Ads and analytics.
4. Grab a nice logo and everything will come as they do.
Following her own tips, Destiny would like to see her brand develop and manifest to something greater than just for-profit business. She hope to start blog and has been writing this summer and traveling to more vendor shows. Her biggest accomplishment will be her business surviving a year and she is counting down to August. Now 23, a recent graduate with a concentration on sociology and criminology, and now Mrs. Brewton (6/24/2017), Destiny continues to conquer each day with her afro-culture fashion. Bringing diverse styles, fonts , colors and schemes that stood out from the robotic and cookie cutting branding she has seen. Join the movement and get your old school afro-culture gear now!