"It's not just a movement, it's our culture.” That's the motto CEO and founder Nyara Williams upholds through her brand, BL✌CK and her clothing line, Black.Clothing.
Black.Clothing is a line of clothing products that includes shirts, sweatshirts, hats and hoodies intended to advance people of color. The clothing line seeks to empower, unify and bring positivity while also making the effort to cycle the black dollar back into its community, according to its website.
“I put out a voice for those who may not be as vocal,” Williams said. “I provide a space for people to get uncomfortable, to have those conversations and also learn things about themselves, their history and things of that nature.”
Williams created her brand in 2015 when she was 20. The 22-year-old is currently attending Southeast Missouri State University and is continuing to keep the message alive with Black.Clothing by spreading awareness about black culture while being both a student and an entrepreneur.
“I think it's important to continue spreading that awareness because there’s always something new to learn,” Williams said. “I feel like with us, a lot of us don't really know our history or ourselves for that matter. It's important to push out that love and that empowerment and just constantly keep uplifting each other and getting everybody on one accord through unity and empowerment.”
Photo: Brandi Fields of RNBeePhotography
Williams has made an big impact on the community with her clothing brand. She has given back by kicking off a back-to-school drive for kids who needed bookbags and supplies for school. She also helped provide shelter for an unhoused family in St. Louis recently.
“I think it's not just giving back, but interacting with people and having those real conversations,” Williams said. “Even to see those laughs, smiles and cries allows me to empathize and understand exactly what needs to be done within my community.”
With her brand, Williams believes that it is important to cycle the black dollar back into the community and generate the money amongst ourselves. She said that communities are outsourced and we look for other people to bring in money. She is looking to change that narrative.
“Once I receive money from people who want to buy my clothing, I make sure that the money is recycled back into the community,” Williams said. "Just like I mentioned earlier with buying bookbags for kids that need them in schools or hosting clothing drives. We can get into the practice of recycling the dollar and we can generate that wealth together.”
The entrepreneur believes that the quote, “humble with a hint of Kanye” is the best quality to have as a business leader. She said that in order to become a good one, you have to trust the process when it isn’t easy and realize that at times you will fail. She also said that getting back up is your choice and that there's always room for growth.
The young business leader is entering her third year with her brand, and it has already impacted her in more ways than can she imagine. Williams recently witnessed someone wearing her “Black Men Smile Too” hoodie at a pizza shop with one of her friends.
“I would say that my career as an entrepreneur has impacted my life by teaching me to never count out friends and family,” Williams said. “I say that because they honestly have been my biggest support system. It started out with them just wearing my clothing all the time and constantly sharing it on social media and critiquing my ideas.”
“Now it's at the point where people are passing by me wearing my brand and not even knowing I’m the creator. I think it is so dope,” she added.
This year Williams wants to accomplish a lot. She said she is looking forward to graduating, traveling more, networking with people and creating projects and pieces that shine a light on whatever light she hopes to convey at the time.
“I’d like to make BL✌CK an avenue for the community to have the resources they need,” Williams said. “So every year BL✌CK will be that umbrella for multiple endeavors, not just a clothing line. I want to do things such as opening a studio to act as a creative space for kids and a workplace for young entrepreneurs to learn about business. Eventually I would like to have a scholarship for students of color to help them get through their journey through higher education.”
“In the end I just hope to make an impact in everything I do. I just hope that the things I leave behind will prepare the ones after me with the tools to keep going, because this honestly is the beginning,” she added. “I’m the one who actually decided to start and be that light and I hope that others will see that light within themselves.”
Sponsored by U.S. Bank.