The Curse: Reasons Why Summer Line Never Happened

Running a Leadership based brand is really hard, really running any kind of business PERIOD! I’ve had to do a lot of self searching to figure out why I run into the walls I run into. It’s mainly because I spent years running from my destiny of who I was made to be. Even though that’s a life long process, it began at the end of 2014 where everything started to change.

Everything looked promising I dropped out of college to pursue my “Westside Dreams” (listening to too much Kanye West College Dropout Stories.) I was on my way to having a promotion into my own store, but for some reason I could see myself managing my own FootLocker I would finally be able to put more money into the brand, but deep down inside I couldn’t really see myself managing a Foot Locker for the rest of my life. (Power Of Your Thoughts.)

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I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD GET FIRED THOUGH. After being loyal to the company for 5+ years I was fired for one mistake that, I owned up to and told the truth. I was in shock, I thought that if I left it would be on my own merit. God had different plans. At this time I’m job-less, I’ve dropped out of school, and I had to find a way to survive.

Previously in my life I had messed up my G.P.A. In college not being serious and not understanding why I couldn’t focus in school, Lost all my financial aid. Then I heard a speech about “Generational Losing”. How things go through your family and they are always ran from and you end up in a generational rut. My Father didn’t graduate High School on time because in part he did see his Father graduate high, my dad ended up graduating late. Neither of them finished college, my dad started for a semester and quit.

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I found myself at a stage in life with a 1.9 Cumulative G.P.A. No finances to fund my school, and a weight of my future children sitting on my shoulders because I was scared to go through school because I’ve seen two self made business men who didn’t go to college, but never realizing how long it took them because of not attending school.

I STARTED TO UNDERSTAND THAT IF I DON’T GET MY ACT TOGETHER AND BREAK THIS BARRIER OF COLLEGE DEGREES I’M SETTING UP MY SON TO LOOK AT ME AND SAY “WHY SHOULD I DO THIS? YOU DIDN’T!” (In my hyped up motivation speaker voice).

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I had to take my life to the next level. To get off the ground and push myself forward, but with out the funds to do so because of my stupid past actions I had expended my Financial Aid to pay for my school.

I had two choices to make, I could accept my fate and keep running from my problems, or just hope something fell out of the sky, or I could get out and grind to break through this wall in my way.

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I decided to break through (duh, gotta be Leaders) and Sacrifice whatever was necessary to get back into school and pay for my education. That sacrifice came at the expense of Westside Society. I had the full winter line already purchased and ready to go. Stephon, Lavantae, and I traveled to CMU Fashion shows, any events we could to sell these shirts to create enough money for me to go to school

During the semester I stitched over 125+ Hats and I took shirts to campus and sold them to students and went directly to the cashiers office, it was that seriousIMG_20131123_204125.

The lost of infinite losing for my family motivated me to want more. My first Semester back in school January 2014 i received Straight A’s on 11 credits, my G.P.A. to a 2.3 and still grinding. Due to my sacrifice I wasn’t able to create a Spring or Summer Line.

I want to thank everyone who purchased a shirt. You helped me start the process of breaking chains in my life. My challenge spread over to you now.

What Generational Chains Will You Break?

Music: Meet Deez Nuts…@Mamasol & Tha N.U.T.S.

20140712_212915-1_HagridI’ve had the honor to meet some dope people since I’ve been building this business. I’ve always wanted to have a musical artist I could sponsor and follow on the road that practically spread my message but through their music, but I never really seemed to find THAT ONE. I’ve worked with plenty of different talented artist and have friends that make amazing music, but they way the brand is set up I need the one that would make someone aware of the talent and power inside them! Mama Sol & Tha N.U.T.S. fit perfect I don’t know how I didn’t think about them in the first place, but everything is in Divine Order (Sol voice). It’s much more than music though I have a real life friendship with here. She’s #BeenLeadin and Iron sharpens Iron! Mama Sol is a spiritual Leader full of wisdom and chocked full of knowledge, whenever you’re around her you are definitely going to get some meat to take back with you for your journey. The N.U.T.S add a presence of during performances that are dead in today’s music, with a Live band playing the music! It doesn’t get any better than this! You’ll definitely see music more of Mama Sol On here Coming up!

Deeper Than Threads S1:E1 – Future Leaders

Our first episode of Deeper Than Threads has dropped! This episode is our visit to “New Standard Academy” for Career day. We spent our time talking to students about leadership & being entrepreneurs, and just having fun being that light that a lot kids may not see at home. Check out the episode below!

Dope People, Real Life Issues : Hip-Hop Caucus Detroit

On a groggy evening Stephon and I rode out to Detroit to check to The Hip-Hop Caucus tour stop on Wayne States Campus. A little back ground on The Hip-Hop caucus is “The Hip Hop Caucus is a civil and human rights organization for the 21st Century. Our movement began in 2004. Our vision is to create a more just and sustainable world by engaging more people, particularly young people and people of color in the civic and policy making process, and including sports, art, and music powerhouses to aid in the progress.”

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Today their focus was on Acting on Climate. Informing people about the need to take action on the way manufacturing plants etc. are effecting minority communities, causing health issues, and changing the climate in their areas.

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There was a panel of some pretty well respected artists from across the nation Amanda Seales, Raheem Devaughn, Dee-1 and Ro-Spit. It’s inspiring to see some of the people with the biggest influence on society get involved with fixing it.

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We personally didn’t know much about the climate issue, but after the fact it made me think about where I’m from and where the plants are located by us, and how they say living in a 3 mile radius directly affects your health.

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At the end of the meeting they gave us time to meet and network with the people on the panel. I’d already know Ro-spit so I went over and showed him some love and chopped it up with him about life for a bit. It’s always good to see familiar faces doing positive things.

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We ran into Raheem Devaughn and took a picture with Stephon, he didn’t seem to interested in what we had to say about creating leaders, and encouraging people. I’ll give him a pass and say he was tired from traveling and probably wanted to hit a taco spot and get a chimichanga or something. It was dope though we appreciated the love.

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Next up we ran Into Dee-1, I snagged a picture with him and randomly one of my Homegirls Liberty Bell came up and ask me ” You don’t know who this is?” she went on to explain Dee-1′s life story, and what he was all about. Then a light turned on in my head. How many times will you find a rapper that doesn’t swear has substances and is conscious about building other people up? She popped up the Jay,50,Weezy video and I was an instant fan! It’s no doubt about it real recognize real and I turned into a kid at a candy store I was so excited.

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So we took a few minutes and exchanged things about our mission and what we do, and the old say is “IRON SHARPENS IRON” and just that conversation was as sharp as the corners on the Bag Head. The next day I researched Dee-1 and indulged in his music, and I’ve been a die hard fan ever since. Id love to one day endorse Dee-1 and his music on a consistent basis.

Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time, always looking to learn more about improving yourself, your community, and meeting people of the same mindset.

Check out Dee-1′s Jay,50,Weezy Video Below!

Lessons of Life : #LeadNeverFollow Shirt BANNED!

I think you may finally have the attention of a few people when a company contacts you about one of your shirts. This contact was different though, one would hope that someone is contacting them interested in buying a *insert emoji doo-doo here* load of clothing from you. They were contacting in regards to a shirt that they believe was copy-written from their design vault.

 

The company that contacted me was “Leaders 1354 ” an 11 year old company out of Chicago, Illinois, they contacted me via Instagram I would place a screenshot of what was said you know in the modern day world screenshots are like the devil, but i’d rather just keep it professional and summarize what was said.

Mehhh I’ll post the screenshot anyway, it’s not too bad.

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Yeah……. and all the typos and misspelled words between both of us. We probably need to get Hooked on Phonics…

But as seen “Leaders 1354 said it uses “Lead never Follow” as a slogan blah blah, and “this is infringement upon our brand rights” blah blah.

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That wasn’t the problem though. The problem came in where they started  saying ” We will expose you the the industry as a copier, and EXPOSE you all over Instagram which will damage your credibility.” So I had a conversation with our new sponsored artist Mama Sol and she brought up a great point. We both run leadership brands, so why want to expose somebody for putting an effort to create something. If you’re a leadership brand extend your wisdom to help guide, not “EXPOSE” someone for trying. I feel like that’s exposing yourself as not being a LEADER, because you have a drive to de-face somebody else. Just think on that. BUT DON’T TRY TO EXPOSE SOMEBODY THOUGH REALLY! WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BE LEADERS YALL!  They could’ve e-mailed me, direct messaged me, anything except leaving comments on pictures, and even attacked a few peoples profile wearing the shirts.

CHECK OUT THEIR LEAD NEVER FOLLOW SHIRT HERE

On the other side I agree with “Leaders 1354″ because if somebody took Leaders -Over- Followers and designed it up, I may feel a certain way about it also. I don’t feel “Lead Never Follow” is truly unique enough to trademark but I may be wrong. I’d rather not get into legal battles at this time in business, totally focused on building and learning.

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All of It just reiterated my personal feelings of having to constantly be different in order to survive The long time standing brands don’t want you in the market they created, I’m fine with it because I know myself, and my team can be WAY more creative than that. In am promising you we will be more creative.

I have my opinions, but no hard feelings towards Leaders 1354 at all, I even feel a collab in the future would be powerful. I wonder if they will ever see this article I wrote, and read through it. If you have a LEAD NEVER FOLLOW Shirt by us, you’re part of the accidental rebellion feel special, if you want to keep buying Lead Never Follow Shirts hit their site www.leaders1354.com. See we’re not evil over here. E.L.E “Everybody Love Everybody”. It’s enough resources out here for everybody.

- Jimmie Westside

Deeper Than Threads Season 1 Trailer

We’ve compiled A LOT of footage over time at first we decided to make a recap of each individual event. That’s not fun at all! We decided to break down and put some commentary on the videos and create our first full Web Series “Deeper Than Threads” Season 1 Coming within the next month! So be on the look out and check the trailer below!

Dropping that Kn-Kn-Knowledge!

So one day I was walking through campus at school and I ran into a familiar face. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly who he was until we sparked a conversation. He was Randall Wilburn director over at the Big Brother & Big Sisters of Flint, i’ve always been interested in giving back you the young men in my community and the BB & BS club is a place where the youth go that can’t go home or have a safe environment to go to after school.

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So I rounded up Stephon and we took time out on a Thursday to head over to the Mcree Theatre to meet with the young boys, Randall told me they were excited that we we’re coming to spend sometime with them.

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DSC_0172After they had their Pizza Party, and goofed around for a bit it we decided to kick them into a some group activities to get them used to working together, because they environment we are from sometimes you aren’t taught the importance of being able to work with other people.

DSC_0177The first activity we broke them into was the “Human Knot” game. Where each person has to grab another persons hands until they are all tangled up in a mess. Then they have to figure out how to get themselves untied without letting go. A game where someone naturally becomes the problem solver and the leader of the group. So we created two groups.

The craziest thing happened in one group, the young men didn’t want to hold hands which was a shell shock to me. We asked them about shaking another man’s hand and they said they wouldn’t do it because you’re not supposed to hand another mans hand. So Stephon and I had to teach them about the importance of shaking hands and being able to be friendly with other people. So you probably know which group won? The first group that was willing to hold hands and work through their problems.IMG_20140328_154311

After the fun & games we sat them down and took some time just to have some one-on-one fun time and conversation with them, talking to them about Confidence, Staying in School, & working hard. We played a Trivia game with them quizzing them on all types of various things. Anything from which two color mix to make Orange, How many championships Lebron James has, and even history of the United States. We gave away packs of gum each time a kid got the answer right.

DSC_0180This was such an experience, to spend time with the kids that may not get all the attention they need a home, or don’t have positive influences on their life. You never know how much seeing something different can change a child’s life. They’re so full of imagination and life and Hilarious too. I had a kid suggest a question we should ask and he didn’t even know the answer to it.

DSC_0183Every child just needs someone to spend time and believe in them, nurture them, take them under someones wings and teach them things they would never know other wise. You can’t save every child, but you can plant seeds that they will remember as they grow older. These are the opportunities we live for.

-Jimmie

 

 

 

 

The Experience : #HashtagLunchbag – Flint

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A little background information directly from the website about #Hashtaglunchbag is a humanity service movement dedicated to creating fun environments to bring together diverse groups of compassionate people in local communities across the world to focus out and give back in local communities .HUNGER IS STUPID.

When I first got word about the #Hashtaglunchbag movement I was on board, this is something our Brand has to be a part of. Not from the stand point of its good for our image, but the stand poinf of we are LEADERS and its our duty to get out and serve our community. If nobody does it the people who claim to be leaders have to step up to the challenge.

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The day was full of good vibes from the jump. Do Good x Feel Good is the motto.We started the day off with the assembly line of mass sandwich production. Working to produce enough sandwiches to distribute through the city. I may have squirted too much mustard on a few of them though I get mustard happy.

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It was a great place to meet and network, One of my favorite teachers and AUTHOR Ms.Matthews from high school brought her entire soccer team for community service.

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YaBoyLV Shoe connoisseur and Radio host  from 93.7 showed up we talked about possible business moves and creating move event like this for the community. (Stephon is forever staring directly into the camera with the lost look.)

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A few other people showed up in Westside Society gear to lend a helping hand. Or maybe they just came receive the extra 15% their next purchase I promised them. Whatever it was i was just glad the decided to come out for a good cause.

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Right before we left from assembling the lunches to past them out there was a guy standing next to me. We had been talking for a little while just chatting back and forth with each other. I saw him put on a Two/Eighteen by Burn Rubber Hat (Men’s streetwear shop in Royal Oak) and it sparked a conversation. I said ” That’s a 2/18 hat, I was just down there a few days ago talking to RoSpit the owner. He was like yeah that my business partner I’m one of the co-owners. Who would’ve thought I would’ve ran into somebody that’s going to FOR SURE have some sort of impact on my life? I’m serious it seems like these things are planned, but they aren’t at all it’s like just being in the right place at the right time. IMG_20140322_192102

So we exchanged names his was Fred Walker. So while we we’re out and about passing out sandwiches to the homeless people or the people who needed them walking the streets, I had chance to pick his mind and try to learn as much as I could from him while i had a chance and build a friendship with a business owner who’s shop I’d love to be carried in one day. I found out he works with young entrepreneurs, and also does motivational speaking (Also my interests). So as we traveled I popped Stephon into the car with him so they could get acquainted.

We rode up to this building (Flint neighborhoods aren’t the best) and saw a bunch of people huddled around in a small area. To ME it looked like something fishy was going on maybe a Dice game (number 1 rule don’t walk into a dice game) or something illegal. My conscious told me not to go over there. Seriously though… not trying to be funny, if you see about 8 people huddled in the corner of a boarded up school what would you think? This sort of fear came over me. So we skipped that area, and moved on to another. We could put a dent in the bags we had left. So we get a call from the coordinators of the event Chuniq PR & Deandra called is telling us where to take the rest of the bags. It ended up being the spot we didn’t go to before.

How salty did I feel, all of us learned about 3 valuable lessons there. 1) Don’t judge a book by its cover, just because something looks a certain way doesn’t mean it’s that way. 2.) As a Leader you have to be courageous in situations where most people would other wise fold. 3.) Still being cautious is a good thing also you don’t want to walk into a decision you shouldn’t have, but just be brave.

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After it was all said and done we all felt great. It feels good to know you’re helping other people with your biggest resource and it’s not money, just your TIME. Time is precious. At the end of your journey on this planet what will people remember you by?

-Thanks #HashtagLunchBag for teaching us, and allowing The Westside Society to give back to our community!

- Jimmie Westside

Taking Over the SLC!

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I messed around and caught the worst stomach flu in the history of life so I got really behind on blogging. We’ve done a lot lately made some good moves, attending some dope events that are going to push us into the future. So on Friday March 21st we went to the Student Leadership Conference at The University Of Michigan.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this, was it going to be an interactive event, or a 9 hour lecture about you can become a leader and “bahk bahk bahk!”? The conference was based upon bringing your “Passion to Action” kicked off with a “What’s Your Passion?” Conference wide discussion.

So the host went around as people raised their hand. I’m not going to lie as much as I enjoy speaking in public, I melted in my seat at the thought of sharing Westside Society with everybody I was terrified. My conscious kicked in a beat my brain and said ” If you want to be a little punk a** and not share your passion with these people you’ll never advance or get ANYWHERE.” So I mustered up enough strength to raise my hand, and talk about my passion.

The words just flowed out of my mouth, I didn’t have to think or plan what I wanted to say because it was in my heart. As I was speaking, the host cut me off (I thought she was trying to disrespect me I almost had to revert back into old ways. #Sike!) She told me to come down in front of entire conference and continue talking about what we do at Westside Society. I gave them the entire spill that you all should already know. “Everybody has a skill the world needs to be a Leader.” Pushing my beliefs to everybody.

At the end of me talking it was the most awkward pause as she looked at me. Out of nowhere she told me “I want to hire you.” I was shocked because I didn’t apply for ANYTHING. I learned something valuable though. When you’re a leader it shows, when you speak, when you walk, or when you’re in the presence of other people PERIOD. True leaders have something about them that people CANNOT resist and they constantly want to be around you or have you on their team or join you on your journey! Its like being a Super Saiyan from DragonBall Z. You KNEW you were going to win! It had been bumpy, but they knew it was a way that they we’re going to pull it out. Because of the aura they could see the Leadership in them!

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So throughout the day we attended a few great Leadership Classes about Igniting the Fire Within, and another class where we learned the 5 “V’s” of Leadership (Expect to see that here soon!) Throughout the day of classes people came up to us getting our (Stephon & I) information to set us up for future events. One little step I was scared to take opened up a whirlwind of doors for our brand. We networked with some great professors/ radical leaders. The Keynote speaker David R Mcghee was amazing too. Talking about getting over the initial fear of being a Leader.

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The day was great stepped out of our comfort zone, allowed our Leadership qualities to be seen! Looking forward to attending this conference again.

-Jimmie

To School? Or Not To School?

There is always a fork in the road in your life where you contemplate. Should I Reeeeaaallly go to school “or Nah?” We’ll I’ve been on both sides for the spectrum I didn’t go to school and I’m currently in school.

Reality tries to teach us that we have to go sit in a class with a professor who is supposedly an expert in their field because they have a piece of paper with their name on it. The experience of school is way more than going to class and getting a degree and joining a work force. And the experience of not going to school is a highly frowned upon act.

You’ll never do anything great relying on a college degree to do to open every door for you.

Not To School Route

This route sometimes seems like the most prosperous because we’ve seen Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Shoot even Kanye “Wait til’ I get my money right.” West  make it without walking across that stage with a degree. This is because they had a skill they possessed and found out the world needed it.

But they grinded, harder than anybody could’ve imagined, put in more hours than the regular person probably could handle! The thing about them is they knew what the wanted, they had a goal and school was just an obstacle in the way of them reaching their goal.

All of their connections Besides Zuckerberg(Who attended Harvard For two years) came from getting up and finding out how to create a living.

By not going to school you more than likely won’t have a crapload of school debt to pay off at the end of your college career, you can focus more on building your business network and skills by attending workshops, seminars, events. Instead of trying to figure out why the homework says 2x-4 =? and the quiz says 12321434xcy x 85739fg = “the square root of planet I’m not going to use this bull after I pay $75,000 for school.

You may make it BIG or you can flutter and drown, and have nothing to fall back on in the future.

It’s a risk. I took that risk you need capital to start a business, so you have to work somewhere to generate enough funds to start to create your dream life. I worked a Job dropped out of school Lost my job with nothing to fall back on because my business wasn’t built enough to support my life.

To School

After dropping out of school twice because I felt i didn’t need to go to school for someone to tell me how to run my dream. I went back. Had a change of mindset.( And Major Yes! no more brain crushing math.)

A lot of successful entrepreneurs went to school look at Mark Cuban, who probably has the dopest life, and is possibly one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. Out here cussing out refs and tell people how sucky their business is on shark Tank. Thats beside the point.

School is a great environment to start a business and I didn’t notice it until I went back for the 3rd time. When your sitting in school skipping class to laying the dorms jacking your life off you’re surrounded by a network.

Everyday you are involved with the same people in the same setting, people who are essential to your growth as a person and a company. This is the time within 4 years of your  schooling to build your cult following. You don’t have to go out and scavenger for your target because they are sitting right in front of you all the time.

WE BETTER INFLUENCE SOMEBODY WITH ALL THIS EXTRA TIME! Pkus the extra time lets you hone some skills.

And you have the insta-bank called Loans (that you eventually have to pay back at probably double the amount you took them out in.) to start your business! you don’t have to ask for investments, you don’t have to grovel at peoples feet you can get money at the expense of your own well being in the future. (It’ll pay off though.)

The Verdict?

Smarts cant be measured by the same test they give everybody in the class. That’s like giving a test to a bear and fish to climb a tree. Telling a fish to climb a=the tree and then the rest of his life he thinks he’s stupid because he failed a test (picture below). If “smart” was measured by school then Bill Gates is the smartest dumb person to ever live on this earth.

A Grade that is chosen by a discretion of a teacher isn’t vaild in telling you what skills you have than can benefit the world. Having a college degree doesn’t ensure that you will be successful, and not having one isn’t going to make you a failure.

The networking that can happen with enrolled in school is great if you use it the right way it can really benefit your future, you build friendships and have mainly free access to money,events, and social life (Don’t party to hard and lose sight of your dreams.)

I can’t make a decision for you, but its a lot of successful Smart Dumb People (No Degree) out there and alot of Dumb Smart People (Degree And No Skills). Do as you feel weigh the pro’s and con’s. Your skill set and your network will take you farther than anything else can take you.

VPqOi