“I Want a Bon Bon Vie Tee…”
During my spare time I love to read and browse through various inspiring blogs/websites that discuss a wide range of topics relating to black women across the diaspora today.While browsing one evening it caught my attention that there is a growing interest amongst some black females to recreate themselves and revive their cultural identity and individuality!! Whether it be growing out that chemical hair relaxer, creating a healthier lifestyle or wearing culturally inspired clothing.
This was proven further when I came across a selection of tee’s designed by web developer and entrepreneur Shari Neal who is from Chicago, Illinois. These tee’s displayed positive and unique affirmations which immediately stood out to me! The first tee I spotted was the “Brown Skin Lady” tee a simple yet effective line with a deeper meaning. My first thought was what a cool idea! These tees are so inspirational for black women but additionally they are also a wide range of designs with other inspirational affirmations that would also appeal to a wider audience, both male and female.
Following my excitement I had to contact Shari to find out more; so check out my interview with her below where she explains the ethos behind her tee business and even gives you budding entrepreneur’s out there some cool advice if you are thinking of pursuing your own venture.EXIST MEDIA: What does Bon Bon Vie mean and how did it all begin?
SHARI WEARING THE BROWN SKIN LADY TEE
SHARI WEARING THE BROWN SKIN LADY TEE
SHARI: Bon Bon Vie is a song from the 70's by T.S. Monk that a friend introduced me to a few years ago. It basically translates to "Good Life" in French. I started the company because I have always wanted to start my own business, but I was also looking for a creative outlet that I wasn't getting from my full-time job as a web developer.
- EXIST MEDIA: Can you describe your own personal style and does this influence the design ethos for Bon Bon Vie?
- SHARI: My personal style is very simple. I believe that shows through in my tees. I try to design my tees in a very clean & simple way.
- EXIST MEDIA: What is your favorite tee and why?
- SHARI: My favorite tee is Brown Skin Lady. It was the first tee I designed for Bon Bon Vie and it is still the best seller.
- EXIST MEDIA: Do you offer any other creations for sale?
- SHARI: I have a few tote bags that are almost sold out, but I mostly do tees.
SHARI: You can buy my tees at http://www.wearbonbonvie.com. I ship to anywhere in the world.
EXIST MEDIA: Can you suggest your top 3 tips for anyone considering the entrepreneurial route within the creative industry?
SHARI: Yes, definitely.
1. Research until you can't research anymore! You have to know what you're getting into.
2. I can guarantee that whatever business idea you have in mind, there's probably someone already doing it. Make sure that you find a way to make your company & products interesting & different.
3. It takes money to make money, so make sure you have a good amount of cash saved up or you're able to secure financing from loans or investors.
EXIST MEDIA: What did your friends and family think of your new venture when you decided to set it up?
SHARI: My friends and family were very supportive. They've always known me to be a creative person so no one was really surprised when I decided I wanted to design tees.
SHARI: I just hope my company continues to grow. I'm definitely open to branching out into other areas, but I'm not sure at this time.
SHARI: Be sure to follow Bon Bon Vie on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/bonbonvie) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/ShariBonBonVie)!
Thanks Shari for giving us an insight into your world!
So guys head on over to the website and check out her fab collection of tee’s, I’m off to grab mine! And according to Shari's look book...
“Bon Bon Vie designs are for individuals who share one commonality:
An uncompromising desire to live THE GOOD LIFE”
Images: Supplied by Shari Neal