Everyone should be able to follow through with their dreams whether they feel it may be a risk or not. You have to understand that you’re not too young to develop your dreams and start it. If you’re not in the best environment and you have a dream and you have ambition, you can overcome your environment. Anything you set your mind to, you are able to accomplish. I had the chance to speak with a dope ass designer by the name of Jerae who’s from Chicago, but based in Houston who took a leap of faith and made a decision that would set her on the course of success. The clothing line, Lia Fame, launched in 2017 and has been excelling ever since. I have to tell you guys, I expected for this interview to only last about 30 minutes, like answer the questions and then bam, get off the phone, but it ended as us actually becoming really close. It wasn’t even on a networking tip either, we found that we had so much in common. We’re damn near the same person if you guys could’ve heard the conversation, but overall, I’ve found a new inspiration from her and get this…she’s 19! Freaking 19 years old, jumping straight on the money train and ready to relax and live comfortable. I find that to be so freaking inspiring and if you don’t, I’m not sure what you’re thinking about, but you should get it together now before you find yourself at the age of 50 still stuck in the same living pattern. I’ve seen people do it and trust me, it’s miserable as hell. I asked Jerae a few questions as far as her inspirations and goals and she had so much to share. Take a read….
So I was looking over your brand and everything and I saw that you’re 19, this is your own personal brand and I think that’s really inspiring to a lot of people, especially younger people out here in this generation. They need some sort of guidance or some sort of hustle or something so that they can understand that they can do it and I thought that you were perfect for the image. So are you from Chicago and you moved to Texas?
I was born in Chicago, raised in Chicago all my life. I moved to Houston October 17th.
Oh ok. Why’d you move?
It was initially for school but there were way too many complications with me getting back into Texas Southern, so really it boiled down to me either going back home or like staying here and figuring stuff out. So I just stayed and figured stuff out.
I definitely understand and that’s a big leap especially for someone your age and I keep saying your age because your young and the moves that you’re making are really big and I mean I’m 24 and I wish I had that mindset because when I was around that time, like at 18, I had just graduated high school and I could’ve been a lot bigger than what I’m trying to be right now. I think that’s dope that you took that chance and still are taking that chance. Most people don’t understand the sacrifice and the results, whether it be good or bad, they can’t accept that, so it’s good that you’re at least able to do that.
It took a lot for me to like, build up the courage to make the decision to stay in Houston or go back home and…I just took a leap of faith, like I woke up one day and was like don’t go back, ain’t no reason for you to go back...
Oh shit…lol. Ok damn, you inspiring me right now. So this is a career for you right?
Yea for now. It’s like I got the clothing line and I love what I do and I love the outcome of
everything, but I don’t plan on doing this forever. Like I always wanted to be around with this as one of my careers, but ten years from now, I don’t want my clothing line to be the only thing I’m doing, but for right now, yea this is cool.
Okay, okay, that’s understandable. So why did you decide to choose fashion design as a start off for your career?
Well starting my clothing line was something I wanted to do since I was a kid, like 6 or 7 years old and I always talked about it but I never had the resources to do everything how I’m doing it now. Like before, I never had the courage to bring my imagination to life
because I was scared like 'ok what if I do this and don’t nobody buy nothing' and not become big like I wanted it to be. So a year ago, it was really me and my best friend and we started making bomber jackets like putting patches and stuff on there, just customizing. Me and him had sat down and talked about it and he told me that starting a clothing line was one of his lifetime dreams too and so like that’s what we were working on. He ended up getting killed and I went through a depression. Like I didn’t know what to do or how to do nothing and I ended up not knowing what I wanted to do. Really, from March of last year to September, I was really battling
with myself and trying to find what I really wanted to do because I’ve always been the person that’s like I want to make everybody else happy, so it came down to me really trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I came down here and school ain’t work out so I’m like if school ain’t work out then god got another plan for me, it’s something else I’m supposed to be doing here. I gave myself a week to figure out what I needed to do and I thought about the clothing line and I thought about my best friend and what he really wanted to do and what he really wanted me to do and I thought about it and that’s how the clothing line started.
I’m so sorry about your best friend, but I think that that’s a good take away from it and I know when I was around your age, I know I was doing everything to please other people, like I really wanted to go away for school, but my mama and daddy at the time, they were like 'no don’t do it, you just need to be here at home, like go to a community college' blah blah blah. And like their opinion was like that much to where I just let go of whatever dream I thought I had and just stuck to what they wanted me to do…
I graduated high school in 2015 and after that, nobody wanted me to go away for school like that was like so negative to them and I believed them.
I think it’s really good that you stuck to your gut and took that leap of faith and you really sat down and figured out where you wanted to start at so I think that’s really good that you overlooked their comments and did you.
Yea like being so family oriented like I have 7 siblings and my friends are really close so leaving everything behind, man that was hard.
What is your favorite part of having your clothing line? Like what’s your favorite part of getting everything together?
Seeing the outcome of everything. Seeing the reactions, the positive reactions and the negative reactions and just getting all that feedback. Like when people tell me they like my stuff like I damn near be ready to break down and cry cause it’s like, I put so much work into everything and time and stress and to know that people like my stuff, like that was the best feeling and with the event that I had, that kind of shifted my mind because I always looked at my clothing line as just being mine and a platform and I got people that I know and that’s all just mine. With the event, me giving people the opportunity to showcase they talent was like…now that’s the best part for me. Being able to see people grow and the courage to do what they really want to do.
Bro, your fucking clothing line is dope af. I was like damn, I need to hurry up and purchase some shit before everybody find out about it and start ordering everything.
Like girl, I was like oh my god, like this shit is dope and I was thinking so long term like if you really get out there, like Rihanna's going to be in your shit. I don’t think I could stop talking about it for a while because I kept talking about it at work and I’m like no I have to take off on Sunday because I’m going to this fashion show, like it’s about to be dope blah blah blah. I was telling people at work like you guys need to come like do you see her stuff? Like I was snapshotting some of your snaps like this is a big thing. Like you never know like I may know a future celebrity and y’all don’t even know it cause y’all don’t want to listen to me.
Like now to the summer, I want to have all the up and coming artists like rappers, and singers in Chicago, I want them in my line. Not just because it’s mines but because we all
working like we're all trying to eat. Like last week at the event, I didn't know the impact I had on people with my clothing line, like one of the pieces that one of the models had on, a lady damn near tried to stop the show to purchase it lol like I didn’t know it made that much of an impact on people.
Like I don’t know what it is, but I need to hurry up and make my purchases before it get too popular out here and shit start flying off the shelves. And like with you being my very first review on my blog that people can see, like I try to keep it as encouraging and as real and as dope as I can and I was really trying to figure out a platform and I don’t really care about fashion enough to keep up with it, I don’t really do the health and fitness thing, but everyday lifestyle, overcoming fear and obstacles, like people in different in areas like things that I write try to always make somebody feel good at the end of reading my stuff like I get requests to do certain things but it’s like no I can’t do that because that’s not the image I’m trying to give to other people. I’m trying to make people feel good and feel comfortable when they're finish reading my stuff.
People need that type of encouragement, like especially now, like the shit is fucked up, like everybody just messed up. Like people don’t have any hope and then it’s like the people that do have hope, they are doing something but they don’t have the support that they could be getting or should be getting. That’s why I started doing my own events because it’s like I know what I have, I know what I have to offer, like I know what I can gain from it and I know what somebody else can gain from it and it’s not even me knowing them on a personal level like the event, like I didn’t know how many people were going come to the event but I knew somebody was going give somebody the confidence or get you to where you need to be or where you want to be.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge that you’ve faced as a designer so far?
The biggest challenge…the biggest challenge would be the patience part for me. It’s like I want to get to the point where it’s like I got 50 orders coming through the website every night but like shit just be going slow sometimes and I have to fully understand that things are gonna go slow cause like some days out the week it’s like I’ll make 4-5 sales and then some days I won’t sale anything. So that's really frustrating because I know I have good content, I know I have good intentions, like why ain't nobody buying my stuff like what’s the hold up?
Right. Like I know when I started my blog, I was like yes I’m about to have so many people viewing my stuff like this shit about to be lit, people about to be signing up and then when I launched it March 2nd, I had got maybe like 4-5 views and I was like what the fuck lol, like this is good, why is nobody looking at it? And it was only my friends that was looking at it and I was like no I know you guys like it lol, like you guys are bias so you can’t look at it, I need other people to look at it.
That’s how it was for me like my daddy was like I wanna buy 3 shirts and I’m like I understand but you have to do that cause you’re my dad lol you’re going to support me but I need some strangers lol
So how would you describe your personal style?
So I always battled between being the girly girl like heels and stuff or throwing on a pair of gym shoes and some jogging pants and calling it a day. I try to incorporate the girly style and tom boy style.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I actually have a list of things, but one of my main goals is having a community center. I kind of want to have multiple ones in the next five years, but if that can’t happen then I just want one community center and really that’s one of my lifetime goals because growing up, like
my daddy always kept me playing sports or on some type of team. I damn near played every sport like I was always into something so that I wasn’t in some little boy’s face or at a party or something. It was literally school and then after school it was practice and then after practice it was 'I’m coming to pick you up and we going home and eating dinner and you're going to do your homework and go to sleep and wake up and do it again'. On the weekends, it was games or some recital. Like I was always doing something. And like now I have two younger siblings and there’s no after school program or like you would rarely see a dance team unless it’s the summer time, like nothing, like kids got some much time to do nonsense. So I want to have my own community center with just a bunch of programs for boys and girls, like a YMCA. Something that helps enhance kids...
I can honestly say, after speaking with her and getting to know her, I made a friend. And this isn’t a typical 'oh my gosh ,we like the same stuff, let’s be friends,' no, it’s not that. This is a girl who has true goals and actually wants to give back and we are very similar. Like I can tell you guys throughout that entire interview, there was not a moment where I was like ‘oh lord what did I get myself into’ and I’m very happy of her outcome and her ambition and I know that she can only go from the top. I say all that to say that no matter your outcome or your situation, if you’re passionate about it, please go for it. If you don’t have the resources, do your research and work hard for it. No dream is too big. Take that leap of faith and understand that trials will come with it, but the biggest trial is patience and acceptance. You guys got this. Go make those dreams come true!