There’s a lot of interest in a black-owned roller-skating arena opening this summer in Spryfield, and all of the company’s loot will be created by another black-owned business in the area, High Powered Customs Apparel.
Stefan Williams, who owns and runs High Powered Customs Apparel, said he had never met Shane Upshaw, the owner of Upshaw’s Roller Dome, until recently when Upshaw approached him about business.
“It’s very important to support black businesses to help money flow into the community,” Williams said in an interview with the Examiner. “A lot of black businesses don’t last because of lack of support from the black community.”
Williams said Upshaw wanted to use an upcoming roller skating event as an opportunity to promote the opening of the roller dome. He contacted Williams to order clothes for Upshaw’s Roller Dome to sell at that event, and possibly for the company itself.
“Big thanks to Stefan Williams for the quick and awesome work on our swag. If you’re wondering yes, we’ll produce clothes,” Upshaw wrote in a post from Upshaw’s Roller Dome Facebook group along with photos of one of the hoodies. hooded.
Williams said the majority of her clients and clients are either black people, other black-owned businesses, or black community organizations and groups.
After working a series of jobs, at 31, Williams returned to school at NSCC in 2012 to study business. While there he designed an “I Am HP” logo – HP refers to the black community in Upper Hammonds Plains where he grew up.
With no money to print the logo on the t-shirts, Williams began promoting the shirts via social media and taking pre-orders.
He reinvested the profits he made from those sales back into the business. Williams was able to quit her other job to pursue High Powered Customs full time.
Williams said the High Powered Customs acronym is deliberately meant to reflect the nickname he and his peers created as children growing up in their “Hammonds Plains Community” – “HPC”.
“It was just, as young people, what we called it, HPC, a Hammonds Plains Community type thing,” Williams said.
“A bunch of people even have HPC tattoos and stuff. My thing was how do I flip it? So I started High Powered Customs just trying to keep the acronym.
Williams said the fact that most of his clients are black is likely attributable to the extensive connections he has made in black communities.
“I’m known in black communities, just because I’ve lived all over the cities. And I have a good reputation in the city. People know me. And after doing my work, people like the work, so it’s word of mouth.
“The majority of business is black business. And not just black businesses, but black people too. Even people who are starting their own clothing line or starting their own business. »
His first major client was Habitat for Humanity. Williams has also created jerseys for basketball tournaments, Black Lives Matter golf apparel, apparel for Studio 26 Dance Company, as well as apparel for an event for black entrepreneurship through the Tribe Network.
He said he designed his own clothes that many people may have seen but didn’t know who made them.
“There are a lot of Black Lives Matter shirts, I mean a lot…that I’ve printed. Another, ‘Scotian Since 1783’, is another t-shirt I had developed a few years ago and released during Black History Month,” Williams said.
Williams was also contacted to design a logo and printed shirts for the African Nova Scotian Freedom School. One of the teachers at the school is Wendie Wilson, who also designed and created the African Nova Scotian flag.
Wilson told the Examiner how she and Williams connected through her work with the Freedom School and teamed up to create shirts for the African Nova Scotian flag.
“I saw him trying to do his thing and the quality of the work, so I contacted him and asked if he would be interested, as a small black business, in selling the Afro-neo flag gear. -Scottish so he could enjoy it, but he also agreed to donate 25% to Afrocentric education initiatives in Nova Scotia,” Wilson said.
“I think it’s of the utmost importance that we support black businesses and keep black dollars in the community. I think this is one of the key elements in building sovereignty and self-sufficiency, and it only benefits me when my community is doing well. »
“I just think all around, it’s really, really important that I think, when somebody in our community – the black community, the African Nova Scotian community – does well then it benefits everyone. It benefits us all. »
Williams said he talks with his teenage children about what it takes to run a business and make a living.
“I don’t know what they get out of it, but I talk to them a lot about it,” he said. “I’m super transparent with my kids when it comes to even how much profit I make. Like, ‘I bought this for this amount of money, this is the price I’m selling it for, so I was able to earn this amount.’
“I try to let them know that they don’t even have to go to work for someone, and I try to teach them that there are other ways to make money.”
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