With messaging like, "Self Love is the Most Important Kind of Love", "Dear Black Girl, Do Not Be Afraid to Embrace Your Roots", "Black Girls are the Purest Form of Art", and "My Skin is Absolutely Gorgeous", Legendary Rootz is using t-shirts and its network of supporters to empower black women one t-shirt at a time.
Inspired to do something about the mistreatment and twisted narratives and stereotypes of black women, Raven Nichole founded, Legendary Rootz, a black culture clothing company (which has now expanded to include a number of products ranging from swimsuits and crewnecks to phone cases and backpacks) that is shaking up the status quo and demanding the world see black women for the gawdesses we truly are.
Recently, xoNecole had the opportunity to catch up with Raven to discuss her inspiration behind creating Legendary Rootz, the importance of branding and social media marketing, her wins and losses, and her advice to budding entrepreneurs. "Legendary Rootz celebrates black culture and beauty," she said.
"I want every black woman and girl to know they are the purest form of art."
Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Raven developed an early passion for t-shirt design in high school after being chosen time and time again to create shirts for her various organizations. After graduating and receiving a full ride to attend Arizona State University, she put her talents to good use to counter the rhetoric and accompanying stereotypes regarding a number of the racially divisive incidents occurring across the country.
"During this time, racially motivated events were happening around the country and it struck something in me. The mistreatment of the black community and preparing to attend a PWI inspired me a lot. I felt it was necessary to represent myself on campus and show pride. It was important for me to create something positive for black people; myself included. I didn't see many black women who looked like me in media and wanted to change the narrative on how black women are portrayed."
Motivated by her family and the events around her, Legendary Rootz was the product of her efforts and created to be a celebration of black culture and excellence. With over 46,000 Instagram followers and an active Twitter following, the message and products of Legendary Rootz frequently grace our timelines and are often found in the wardrobes of famous influencers and celebrities like Danielle Brooks and Chloe x Halle. Despite the widespread social media attention, Raven claims that at her core, her motivation is truly black female empowerment and mental health.
"When I created this brand, my intention was not to make money or to gain fame. My ultimate goal is to utilize my company to help others. Right now I'm working with my sister on a community called Brave Space Project, which is an open space for black girls to express themselves safely. Black mental health is something I find truly important, and Legendary Rootz has afforded me the opportunity to help those who struggle with asking for help. It's important to me to connect black women and men to organizations that support them."
However, Raven does mention the critical importance of social media marketing and the Legendary Rootz brand to its overall success.
"Without social media, I believe it would've been difficult to achieve success. My sister Jazz sent me a screenshot of Legendary Rootz Instagram [when it was first] at 10 followers. Those 10 followers were my family members. I never knew it would grow to the size it is now — that's the power of social media. It is a great tool to help any business to flourish. My first post was on Facebook and I slowly began to receive orders. While scrolling on Tumblr one day, I found a photo set of my designs. The set had more than 7,000 notes. I was shocked at the amount of people who liked my ideas. Soon after, my following grew and I received more orders. Branding, on the other hand, is the foundation of a successful business. Currently I am rebranding and working on expansion. I create all the graphics for the business like the logo and business cards. I'm all about improving my brand and there's a lot of helpful information out there [available to everyone on the internet]... I feel like my brand has been successful because I adapt and value growth."
"Being adaptable in my opinion produces longevity."
Despite her widespread success from Legendary Rootz' original founding, Raven shines light on her most pressing challenges as a entrepreneur and growing business.
"Copyright infringement – I've had my designs stolen many times. Once, I remember seeing my design connected to a TED Talk. I was so excited and decided to email the individual, but the person didn't care to understand my position as a businesswoman. So, they stole my design. It's frustrating because you expect other creatives to respect your design and it's not always the case. I'm currently working on strengthening and getting my copyright together. I want to take ownership of my designs. It's essential to protect your work; something I've learned while running my business."
Raven's advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is the importance of recognizing the power and manifestation of your thoughts and your words.
"There is power in the tongue. Whenever I speak about on my company, I speak positivity. I wake up every morning and speak positivity over my business. I feel that when you're hopeful your able to accomplish more. On the flip side, be okay with failing; if everything goes the way you want, you won't learn. Failures has helped not only my business improve, it has helped me become a better person. Embrace your creativity and stand on it."
To shop and learn more about Legendary Rootz, checkout their website: www.legendaryrootz.com. Use the code "xoNecole" for a 20% discount through the end of September!