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Help RBGTees Improve Operations

$1,065 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 21 days
Thank you for checking out this effort and all of the support I've received to this point!

My wife always says that I don't know how to ask for help and worse, how to receive it. Not out of pride but as a knowledge seeker, I want learn every lesson life has for me so that I may pass it on. This time is different. I started this mission for the overall good and it is not about me. So here we are...

I've made it a point thus far to not ask for your support to illicit sales, rather create a product that could stand on it's own merit in terms of fashion, quality and message. Up to now, I've accomplished that mission to an extent. So much so that I've been playing catch up with the growth of RBGTees since my first order. That game of catch up has been the most exhausting experience in my life and is similar to the dog walking the human. 

THE INSPIRATION
The inception of RBGtees came from opportunity and necessity. During the turbulent times in this country that started to ramp up with events unfolding in Sanford, Florida and Ferguson, Missouri, I felt uncomfortable continuing my same routine of going to work, forcing a smile and suppressing the true pain that was inside knowing what was happening in the streets. I knew I had more to offer but couldn't find my voice. I also knew that part of the change needed was showing the next generation to not accept the value placed on you by society.

While watching and participating in a few protests, it frustrated me that every shirt or sign slogan was either a plea of better treatment or attempts at validating our human value.  As much as I wanted to rock a shirt to bring awareness, I could not find one that truly conveyed one I wanted to send. I didn't feel any power in asking you not to shoot me or to tell you that my life was worthy. Plus the quality of most shirts were good for maybe one wear. And what good is a message on a shirt if you never wear it? I knew what I had to do...

THE BEGINNING
Over the next year I stayed in search of knowledge that would help me bring my ideas to life. I learned how to build a website and establish my social media. Near the end of 2015 I released my first product that went mostly unnoticed. Undeterred, I put out a few more designs before finally catching the eye of my audience.

Once the ball started rolling, I would work my 9-5 job and afterwards 6 till 2 am fulfilling order with the help of my daughter. After 4 months, I was bringing in more on this side-hustle hobby than my full-time job. I questioned "If I could accomplish this part time, what could I do full time?" No business experience and a simple plan of "do more of what you currently do and become more efficient at it", I gave my 30 notice at work and bet on myself. 

THE GROWTH
Over the past 2 1/2 years since, I've experienced the highest highs and learned the greatest business and life lessons. One of my biggest lessons was that the principals of a side hustle did not translate to a full-fledged business. Due to the game of catch up, my turnaround times have increased drastically and customer satisfaction suffered. I've been a one man operation and am only capable of what time and my body allows. The majority of my days literally consisted of working from 4am until I crash around midnight, all in my spare bedroom. Meanwhile my family is frustrated and I couldn't blame them.

GIVING BACK
During this time, I've helped a few aspiring entrepreneurs launch or grow their businesses and created platforms for us all to network and exchange ideas. Myself, my wife and a couple of partners have also since created a successful monthly marketplace for other local small black owned businesses to advertise and sell their products and services in Phoenix (Archwood Exchange). Over the past 2 years, the marketplace has been such a hit that we just recently opened a retail storefront with the same concept. With that opportunity, I was finally able to move operations from my spare bedroom to a centrally located business space. Now I was able to hire help. 

WHERE WE ARE NOW
Over the past 2 1/2 years I've gotten a great response and believe I've created the top brand in my category, tallying almost 4k orders online. I've also done a lot of pop-ups at various events across the country meeting people face to face. Even though some would consider RBGTees successful, a couple of hiccups here and there have caused the train to stall too many times. Each one harder to rebound from than the last.

WHY I AM ON GOFUNDME
I am here to ask for your help in keeping my mission moving forward. My doors won't close, but I won't be able to meet the demand I've experienced thus far and retreat and restrategize.
- As mentioned before, I now have one employee and plans for at least one more to assist with social media and customer communications.
- I now also have rent for my new space, which will pay dividends eventually but now is just a new expense
- Getting out of the business of catch up and keep proper inventory on hand for faster turnaround times
- Equip my new space with proper equipment, storage and security (currently looks like leftover cubbies from a daycare)
- OPERATING EXPENSES to be able to sustain the bumps in the road in stride
- I'll also be hiring a consultant to come in and help restructure my operations to ensure I avoid the coming pitfalls that lie ahead

So I graciously thank you for all of your support and will continue to strive to be an example of what can be and what WE can do, unapologetically.

"WE all WE got, but WE are all WE need"
Henry
RBGTees
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$1,065 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 4 people in 21 days
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19 days ago
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