Today, we are interviewing Kyle Brown, founder of Down South Clothing Company. Let's hear his inspirational journey…
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
I've lived a pretty tough life. I guess you could say life hasn't been “fair to me,” but I'm no victim. I didn't let those past experiences define me; I let them educate me. Truth is, I've hit rock bottom so many times that it doesn't hurt anymore. Get up and keep going, that's the only option!
2. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
I've been fortunate to spend a good deal of time in the entertainment business. I've been entertaining since I was just a kid! So, it's no surprise that I continue to entertain today. Give me a crowd… I'll show up and show out. But, clothing designer…CEO? HA! No one, myself included, saw that one coming. I've struggled throughout the years with who I was…or was supposed to be from a “fashion” perspective. Like most guys, I prefer function over form. I want a stylish, durable, comfortable garment that versatile and appropriate for where I need (or want) to wear it. I couldn't find shirts and clothing that encompassed my particular brand of Southern. So, I made it. Hence, the Down South Clothing Company.
3. Who are your role models?
This sounds really egotistical, but I think I'm my own role model. My dad died when I was 12, my mother when I was 30. With everything I do, I just try to leap another hurdle, reach another goal, attain new heights for myself. I'm a first-generation high school graduate. I'm a first-generation college graduate. I picture happiness in 10-15 years, then I pursue it relentlessly.
4. What inspires you?
Nothing inspires me more than people helping each other succeed. It's easy to be territorial and protective in business. But, it takes real talent and a nice personal touch for two or more entrepreneurs to find a way to collaborate and rise together!
5. Please tell us about your company.
The creation of the Down South Clothing Company and the items in our catalog was a difficult task! Sure, I've done manual labor for much of my life, and it's not a hard day's work. But, mentally… you'd better bring your “A” game! It really forced me to look at myself and determine who I am, what I represent, and what I choose to portray to the world. Kyle Brown, I've been in the public spotlight for years. But, this goes beyond the spotlight. I wanted the Down South Clothing Company to be representative of who I am. So far, I'm happy with the result.
6. What's your most memorable experience?
I wish I could tell you one of my wild escapades or celebrity experiences (there are plenty) was my most memorable experience. But the truth is, it is not. My experience in Iraq, even as memorable and formative as it was, is still not the most memorable! My most memorable experience was the winter of 2016. My personal life was in shambles, and I was homeless. I hear a lot of people talk a good talk, but they've never experienced true struggle or adversity. Until you've lost it all, you can't possibly understand how much it all means.
7. Which social media channels work best for promoting your work? What exactly do you do on the social media channel that makes it work for you?
For community building and hanging out with the people who love our products, Facebook has been really good for us. Most of our customers are there, and we've found that if we interact with them…not only do they reciprocate, but they truly begin to view us as a friend. It's a great way to blend text and image effectively. Instagram is also effective for us, but it's obviously a much more focused visual medium. You have to let your images do the talking on Insta, it's a different game!
8. What's your greatest fear?
Easy, homelessness. I've been there, and it was awful. I understand hunger. I've been cold, and I've had to choose between eating and getting a hotel to stay warm for the night. The fear of ever returning there is a large part of what drives me every day. That was a dark period of my life, and I try to put it farther in my rearview mirror every day.
9. Looking back, what's one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
If you don't work, nothing will. I've found that for me to be successful, I have to produce, produce, produce. Even if it sucks, and I throw it away later…produce ideas. Produce shirts, produce something. Produce progress each day, somehow and someway.
10. What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I used to be so concerned with how folks viewed me personally, whether they liked me or not, whether they'd agree with my decisions. I'd lose sleep over stuff like that! Now, I've blocked it out. I could care less. If you don't like me, or how I live my life… that's fine. If you're in my way, I'll ask if I can help you. If I can't, I'll ask you to move. If you don't, I'll run through you. Either way, my eyes remain on the prize.
11. What keeps you going when things get tough?
Honestly, I think about my obituary! I'll never read my obituary, of course. But, I think of it often. When I leave this world, and it calls to come down to those last couple of paragraphs…what will I be remembered for. If you live to protect and leave that legacy, everything else will fall in line.
12. Any message for our readers.
This is a personal note without going into to much detail. No matter how bad it gets, it will always get better. 1-800-273-8255.
13. How can people connect with you?
Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to chat directly with me. If you want to interact with any member of the team, just hit us up on social media. Facebook or Instagram is probably best!