We had the good fortune of connecting with Seejai Erquart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Seejai, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Kings Before Slaves was a concept I began thinking about of in 2010 just a vision though. I had to get in my research ASAP. I was inspired to put out a line of clothing that customers can be proud to wear based on history. Not all black people in America are descendants of slaves, nor were all slaves poor upon arrival. Unfortunately many wealthy people and even royalty were enslaved during the transatlantic trade. I was and am focused on leaving a legacy behind that my family and community can be proud of.

What should our readers know about your business?
Kings Before Slaves is more than a statement. Kings Before slaves is a instant conversation starter. When you read those words know that we are edifying you and empowering you to move and the ink highly and better for yourself. If you ride the wave mentally it’s a instant boost of confidence. We’re taught slavery so much that we forget that we were something before that! It’s a mind set shift because we weren’t slaves first. That’s what they teach us to keep us from knowing. It’s a known fact. Speak truth know truth “KINGS BEFORE SLAVES” I have been successful in obtaining support from my network, but I truly look forward to expanding KBS brand. There’s a great upside to all is this. Lifting up your ppl will only bring blessings if it’s done from the heart. The process of starting a business has not been easy by now means: each day presents its own set of challenges that I am still navigating through. I am constantly brainstorming and trying to figure out different ways to market the KBS brand. Keeping inventory full is key for me. I would love for my company to cross into mainstream and raise some eyebrows. That would be pretty cool. It will happen when the time is right, especially as ppl start waking up and realizing there’s much truth and strength in the words “Kings Before Slaves”… Stay focused and embrace the process. I’ve learned how important it is to know that I am the brand. I move how I move. I don’t pressure or force myself on family and friends so I won’t don’t do that with my brand either. The organic way works best for me. It’s very uplifting to see ppl you don’t know embracing the brand, it has motivated me to work harder to get the message out. Let’s have a mindset shift and change for the better. Personally i am a battle tested individual.  I had a heart transplant recipient (10/2014) I was on my last few days if I didn’t get the right donor. Shout to my donor and his family, the Newman’s. I am so blessed and motivated to do the best I can with my second chance at life. After going through something like your love for life and focus is increased. Kings Before Slaves is my vision, my brand, my legacy  all in one.. it’s exciting!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d definitely visit all of the beaches! From Long Beach to Redondo, to Hermosa, to Venice, up to Malibu. I’d suggest renting a boat in Long Beach or Marina Del Rey and cruise in the Harbor or taking our bikes and skates for a coastal ride. We’d plan to eat at several restaurants like Harold and Belle’s, Red Car Brewery (Torrance), Blue Water Grill (Redondo Beach), Dulan’s Soulfood (Inglewood), and Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen (Inglewood) to name a few. I love walking/hiking so we’d definitely hit up Palos Verdes or Runyon to get some fitness in.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot of my success to my supportive wife Keesha. Not only is she a hardworking and dedicated high school math teacher, she has truly helped keep me focused and has been very supportive through it all. She has provided some insight using a woman’s lens, she has assisted me with pretty much all of marketing and designs. My family has also been instrumental in getting my brand off  the ground. They give me the energy I need to keep things in motion out here. Tomorrow’s not promised. I appreciate them a lot!

Website: www.kingsbeforeslaves.com

Instagram: kingsbeforeslaves

Facebook: Kings Before Slaves

Image Credits
Black and white photos only (Vision Entertainment)

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