Creative Minds Think Alike is an up-and-coming life style brand from Philadelphia, PA, looking to push culture to new heights. CMTA has hosted events, sponsored festivals, mixers, and spoken word tours. Behind the curtains are founders Brandan Lacey, and Curran Lewis. I got a chance to chat with Curran, who is truly a creative with huge and bold ideas.
Curran Lewis’ position at CMTA is Artist Consultant, Special Event Planner and Cultural Brand/Marketing Strategist. Yeah, this man does it all. I could hear the passion and dedication in his voice towards this brand, and the grind mode they have been in since it launched last year.
CMTA is all about unity and bringing culture together—what their minds and passions desire. They have a clothing line recently featured in Philadelphia Fashion Week 2014, and are poised to make major moves during the rest of 2014. Their collection can be described as a street brand essence. However, Curran wants to make sure everyone knows they are not just a clothing brand. You can’t put CMTA in a box, their creativity can’t be molded. The ideas they have are organic and bold, something Curran looks forward to continuing and achieving.
Philadelphia Fashion Week 2014
2013 was a huge launch year for CMTA. They were featured at Temple University’s Owl Fest (where Curran is currently attending) which showcased their clothing line at the time. They also produced a social mixer called “Turkey & Dirty Sprite” an event which showcased their work and a promotional mixtape dropped prior to the event. CMTA even went on a two city tour called the OPP Tour (Only Positive People).
Turkey & Dirty Sprite
I got a chance to catch up with Curran and discussed the beginning of CMTA, the struggle of starting your own brand, and the future vision of the company.
Can you go a little into your background—where you went to school, major, what did you accomplish with CMTA since then?
CMTA launched last year actually. I attended Delaware State University from 2009-2012. It was pretty downhill for me, I got fired from work and kicked out of school. Since then, I’ve done a lot creative stuff. I majored in Mass Communication the time I had at Delaware State. I moved back to Philly and last year Brandon came to me with the idea of CMTA. I shook him off at first, but he came back to me again with the idea and I said why not. Brandon wanted to do his own thing, and CMTA was it. Everyone around us was doing something creative and he wanted to make a move, so I hopped on board.
What is your position at CMTA?
I do marketing, events, styling, and production. Pretty much everything that has to do with the creative aspect. But I don’t like to be the primary leader in collections, with those we usually work together on that. Currently we’re grinding at getting material out for the deadline. We’re looking at pieces for the fall and winter.
What is your mission statement?
CMTA is a creative process. We are trying to unite mankind, whether it’s through turn up mixers, social networking events, music videos, studio booths—like helping release a mixtape.
Can you describe to me the process of going out and getting material for your clothing?
Our shirts go through a long process— they go through the manufacturer, getting printed, the seamstress, and then eventually pushing the product out. Last year, it was a three month process. It’s really hard to find trustworthy dealers to partner with and that’s something we’re trying to find. We’ve been through four different print companies and four different seamstresses. The bottom line is we need is finding reliable help. We’ve been pushing the collection since Thanksgiving 2013.
July 4th Fest definitely was the most impactful. I see it as our official launch day. It set the tone as far as quality, marketing strategy and learning what and what not to associate ourselves with. It set the bar, it was the kickoff.
July 4th Fest
I know you describe CMTA as a life style brand, but you guys invest a great deal in your clothing line. Is that something that will continue to be a part of your brand?
Look, right now it’s something that gives us credibility, it gives us a name. Look at what Pharrell did, look at what Jay Z did, and they started from music and now they’re huge businessmen. Our clothing is our foundation. It keeps us to the streets and keeps us relevant right now.
What social media platform do you find most useful and why?
Right now, it’s Instagram. That’s where we have the most followers. But, my personal opinion is they’re all important and essential. Twitter is hard, in the aspect of gaining an audience, but we’re going to do it the right way. We’re going to put in the work. Oh and we’re also looking into Pinterest and Tango.
How hard do you find it to get places to sell you stuff, like pop-up shops or events?
Our industrialization process is wack, that’s why it’s hard, because we can have 30 people wanting to buy our shirt, but we’ll only have 10 in stock. That’s the most frustrating thing we’re going through, but that’s why we’re looking at new partners to help us out.
What are your goals for the rest of the year?
We’re looking to get our website launched. We are also working on our logo still. Right now it’s something we just put together quick in Photoshop, but that’s something we really need to focus on now. Also, were looking to launch a blog—how are people supposed to connect through just t-shirts, we have a lot to work on.