Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Rufai Kasim, CEO of Carlo Van Clothing.
Please tell us something about yourself.
I am a Ghanian based in the United States. I grew up with my grandmother, and my whole life growing up, she taught me about giving. While growing up, I have been trying to leave a legacy that I will be reminded of. I always had a passion for helping others. I started selling iced juice, which was homemade by my mom. I used to bring it out to the school when the kids used to get off school. They would love to get iced juice from me on a hot day. I love the feeling of selling something that people enjoyed. I have always wanted a way I could put that joy into people’s life. So, when I came to the USA, I wanted to join the Navy, but down the road, things changed so, I started a clothing brand Called Carlo Van.
How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey.
I started the brand by doing just African traditional clothing, which was more unique and authentic. People actually loved it, and it stood out. Most people loved it, but they couldn’t see themselves wearing it. So, I decided to expand it with modern and tradition together so that I can expand my fan base and have something for everyone. I then thought of putting out a logo that will represent me. So, I took a lion with a triangle in which the triangle represents what kept me going (Faith, Motivation, and Hope.) My life has been a struggle, but as compared to others, I was always grateful. I continue with this journey not only to put joy into others but to unite and give others hope. I started by feeding orphans in Ghana. I always wanted people to know if I could do it; they can also do it and just need to wear the courage. The lion symbolizes Strength and Courage. Pushing through with this brand has been really a hard journey, and almost got to a point where I wanted to quit. But any time I look at my logo, I remember why I started and the legacy I want to leave. My own people I counted on broke me and didn’t want to see me win. So I want people to know that they can do it, and all they need is God, and with hard work, faith, and patience, it will be ok.
Who are your role models?
Daymond John and Mr. Sean also known as Puff Daddy, are my role models. He is an example of what black excellence means. He is a hustler just like me, and he shows us the power of giving back. That has inspired me to continue to give back to my people.
Please tell us about your company Carlo Van Clothing.
Carlo Van Clothing is a company that I started based on Faith, Motivation to give people hope. Carlo Van is a luxury and a street brand. We are all about the powerful and positive drip. We are a universal and unisex brand. We are not only known for our quality work but also known for our charity work. We represent love. I wish my brand go globally. I find joy in people wearing my brand and also having the courage to take action and do positive stuff while wearing my brand.
What’s your most memorable experience?
I had a lot of people doubt me and compared me to popular brands. Basically, my friend was saying, why will he buy my brand if there is Nike or Gucci while still asking for a discount. The same day, I went to a car wash to sell my stuff from my trunk, and a person bought a shirt from me, He took off his Nike shirt because my shirt matched his sneakers better. I was amazed and confident in the quality of my product. Here, I had a friend wanting a discount and questioning the value of my brand. On the other hand, I had a complete stranger take off his internationally known name brand shirt to put on mine because it matched his style. He believed in me.
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?
I actually use Facebook and Instagram, but what really works for me now is by word of mouth. And also going on the street myself and interacting with people.
What’s your greatest fear?
My fear is not having the strength to keep pushing when it gets harder, especially when I am there to make it.
Looking back, what’s one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
Not believing in myself and depending on people to push me.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
Self confidence and Faith.
What keeps you going when things get tough?
Hard work, Faith, and Patience.
Any message for our readers.
Believe in yourself, self promote yourself, you are your biggest ally. Know that you have the strength to break through every obstacle and only put your trust in God.
How can people connect with you?
People can connect with us through social media @carlovanclothing, drop an email at email@example.com and through our website.