Over the past year I’ve had contact and conversation with Ms. Johnson, a black female entrepreneur, and I find her to be very inspiring. She was just a woman in Atlanta, Georgia looking to share her passion about her culture with others and she wound up starting an online t-shirt Company that is still prospering to this day. Not only that, but she did it all from scratch on her own doing her own research, coming up with the designs, and each personalized message. She’s doing something great not only for the black economic movement but for the culture period by incorporating a piece of what we know to be a missing link.
“Honestly, in 2014 I had no intentions of starting a t-shirt company,” Johnson stated.
In a time when new businesses, especially black owned businesses, weren’t proving to be sufficient and stable enough to create, Ms. Johnson still took a leap of faith. She enjoys working for herself and being able to express freedom and creativity through her work.
“I felt that l had nothing to lose so l took the steps to start my business. The current injustices we face in this country are certainly a major influence. As l began creating various designs, l made a conscious decision to make sure that l give a positive approach to the issues we face.” Johnson explains.
She continues, “It is a universal law that the words we speak order our life. In my line of shirts, each image is accompanied with an uplifting message, hence the name Black Tongue Clothing. I think it is not enough to just protest in the street, but to remind our people of the spiritual and economic power we have, I think my designs convey this message.”
Johnson explained further on the importance of how our community needs to love ourselves first in order to progress, “I want our people to love ourselves first! Take time to work on ourselves. We are quick to say “we need to unify”, which is true; however, if we have many individuals that haven’t taken the time to work on themselves, we will unify a group of unprepared individuals, and that is pointless. I want black people to understand the importance of supporting black owned businesses, locally nationally and online. Black power is fueled by education and economic empowerment not just word of mouth.”
Black Tongue Clothing was created to embrace LOVE, LIFE & CULTURE. Through our wearable works of art, the goal is to reclaim, embrace and incorporate African culture into mainstream America. Although the designs are influenced by African/African American culture, the principles expressed in each design are cross-cultural. Through this media, Johnson expects patrons will initiate solution based dialog on the topics that affect our health, wealth and freedom.
At the time, she was doing more reading and research of Black culture for her own understanding. One thought led to the next and she created the federation design and she felt that it needed to be on a shirt. The federation flag design is a defined representation of Black America. It has elements of the Pan African flag, but gives a deeper meaning to our culture and contributions to this country. The objective of Black Tongue Clothing is to incorporate positive images of black culture, and incorporate our African culture into mainstream America through fashion. Aside from the federation design, all of Johnson’s designs have positive messages that any culture would be proud to wear.
Johnson is definitely an inspiration for all upcoming and rising millennial entrepreneurs.
“If I could give any advice or just speak to the next generation of entrepreneurs it would be to go for it and don’t think small,” she say’s. “Think through the idea you have and if you feel it will work, go for it. Just do it! Plan accordingly and don’t let fear hold you back. Be excited about sharing your God given talents and skills with the world.”
She continues, “I would also let them know that business is more than products, services, customer service and marketing. Starting a business will teach you more about yourself. It will mature you in areas in and outside of your business. Learn all you can in your current job and know that those skills may very well be transferable to your venture, and take advantage of social media! I didn’t grow up in the iPhone era, so l appreciate and never take for granted that l have the world in the palm of my hand. Know that there is no failure if you can walk away from an experience with a lesson learned.”
To purchase a shirt and to view the inventory, please visit Johnson’s site here.