SWERV MAGAZINE: The Dottin-Haley's Talk Love, Marriage And Socially Conscious Brand 'THE BLAIRISMS'
Living Out Loud 2.0 favorites, Blair and Brandon Dottin-Haley are lighting up the cover and inside pages of the July/August issue of SWERV Magazine. The Maryland based couple and entrepreneurs are the brains behind the increasingly popular clothing line THE BLAIRISMS, which they created in 2016 "because they wanted more clothing in their closet that celebrated Black culture," according to a statement written on their official website. The Dottin-Haley's wanted more clothing options that celebrated all of the beauty in the African diaspora and the impact Black people have on global culture.
SWERV Magazine writer Lawrence "el-Train" Evans sat down with the busy couple and discovered "an unfinished love story that has been riddled with passion, struggles, and triumphs."
Just when things with their marriage were flourishing, in steps the business ventures. And, much like their marital union, The Dottin-Haley business ventures have mirrored the valleys and mountain tops of their relationship. I asked about how they find the balance or separate their personal and professional lives, and like a singing duo they both immediately responded, "We don't." They engage in discussions either way, whenever and about whatever pops up.
The Dottin-Haley's are touching the community in many ways behind the scenes and at center stage. With that kind of work going on they have to strike while the iron is hot and keep things fresh and moving.
And fresh they have been. Just like their whirlwind romance, Blair and Brandon started The Blairisms, a specialty t-shirt company that skillfully echoes the sentiments of the Black community in witty, original quotes and visuals. In their first year, The Blairisms saw amazing traction with nearly six figures in sales.
It was a magical moment for Brandon, as he elaborates. "We did not necessarily see ourselves as being designers in a lot of ways. When we started just making t-shirts, we didn't envision that we would be sitting in kimonos, shorts and joggers and face masks. People are living their lives in The Blairisms and we started the collection in a way that people would be able to say what they didn't want to vocalize, with their chest. 'Say it with your chest' was one of our original mottoes. It allows people to live out loud as they want to."
Taking off the way they did, you would think it has been easy street from then on out, but the valleys have come along as well. Blair talks about how the next year sales were half of the prior year. And the year after that was cut in half again. In fact, Blair considered closing the doors.
Times were tough and they continued to get tougher. Brandon even recounts one day when he had a business meeting and walked out to hop in the car, but it had been repossessed. With major support from Brandon's mother, Blair's family and circle of friends (that includes DL. Hughley, George Lopez and EnVogue...just to name a few) they were able to see, not only a more optimistic approach to continuing on, but more options to expand their brand.
Blair and Brandon are now a full fashion line at TheBlairisms.com. Pushing their brand forward, they are consulting with other organizations to help enhance their online presence and have secured some very high profile deals, including a merchandising project with Kenny Lattimore, having their fashion line appear in the official virtual reunion for the Noah's Arc cast; and the launching of their celebrity filled podcast Savage Chats.
You can read the full interview here.