Join us for Part 2 of our interview with Phoenix Fashion Week Finalist and Founder of the men's fashion brand - Being Dapper.
Note: The interview below has been shortened and paraphrased for easier flow and reading. You can find the full audio at the end of Part 3.
Brandon Rohloff (B.R.): I also read in the same interview by FabulousArizona.com that your mom has always been your biggest inspiration throughout life, other than your mom - who have been some of your biggest supporters?
JC Donaldson (JC): My biggest supporters have been my entire family, they're just really excited to see me do this. I've always been a really creative person, naturally. My mom has always been a naturally creative person and my dad has always been a businessman. Maybe not a "top-notch" businessman, but the spirit of the entrepreneur has always been there and both of my parents have been entrepreneurs. So I look up to them and see how they did things and how they built a business from nothing to something.
B.R.: When we spoke earlier, you had said I would be surprised by how much your dad has helped with your fashion career - what exactly did you mean by that?
JC: Oh! He's helped a lot, as far as investing into the Being Dapper brand - investing in my dreams and so forth. I told you that he's always been a businessman, so I asked for a little investment and he asked for a business plan. Which is fair, that's what my parents have always done.
B.R.: I believe you told me that your dad is active military as well?
JC: He is. He's active military and he also has a non-profit called All Pro Dad, it's a mentorship program for kids that don't have fathers and where anyone can be a dad. He goes out there and connects with all the schools in the area, he sets his program up, and helps impact the lives for a lot of kids - sometimes just having a man in the household can have a very big impact on leadership.
JC: And with the way my dad goes out and helps with the younger generation, I'm going out and helping just men in general, making them feel more confident with how they look and how they carry themselves. I'm re-dignifying the man, because low key, we don't like to talk about it, but we wear our heart on our sleeve and sometimes we feel insecure - but we don't talk about it.
B.R.: Oh yeah, 100%, no guy is going to admit to feeling self conscious about how they look.
JC: Absolutely, it's pride.
B.R.: You wanna have that confidence and people expect you to have that confidence, so I agree - you can feel a lot better when someone is there to help mentor you through the changes.
B.R.: You've had your supports and I'm sure, that as a designer you've had struggles with criticism - do you have any advice for anyone else struggling with criticism of their own?
JC: Don't give up. Go with your gut. Don't fold - just keep persevering. Life is a marathon, it's not a sprint. You're going to have peaks and bounds, you're gonna have struggles, but that means you're going in the right direction. I sometimes say that 'hate' is just jealousy and admiration at the same time - it's true.
JC: Because everyone has an opinion - you can't be everything for everybody, because art is in the eye of the beholder. Go see Picasso at an art museum and you say, "I don't see why this painting is so amazing", but that's just your opinion. That artist has a certain expression and you see it in many brands, street brands in particular. You'll see they have a high price point, you'll think "Why?", and reason is because of Influencers and the way the brand is positioned, that's the price point - it might not even be the most luxurious brand.
B.R.: Just to touch back, your main advice is to just not give up?
JC: Absolutely! Do not stop, do not stop. Boot camp was very very hard, psychologically very hard, but I'm also very happy that I persevered and I'm excited for the next journey.
B.R.: That's right! We were saying how you kind of blew up overnight, well - not overnight, haha, but pretty dang close!
JC: Haha, not overnight but yeah, like I said, I was just a tee shirt guy.
B.R.: And now you're suits and so much more.
JC: Yeah, yeah, we're doing pretty good.