Blood, Sweat + TIER: The 2019 Artrepreneur Fest
When TIER NYC powered the first Artrepreneur Fest last year, they made clear that they were more than a clothing brand; they were changing what it meant to be a creative entrepreneur. The mission behind the Artreprenuer Fest is to recognize rising entrepreneurship in others, and as creatives themselves, they’ve reminded me that art and innovation can come in many forms. One thing that is essential to both creativity and entrepreneurship is community. Being an entrepreneur, creative, or an artist can be a difficult and isolating experience. Its important that events like the Artrepreneur Fest exist not only for mutual understanding, but mutual growth as well. Our community as young black millennials is a powerful and resourceful one, and the TIER NYC team worked diligently to create an environment that promoted support, connection and potential.
Entrepreneurship is a personal journey of growth, consistency and preserverance. Each vendor I spoke with shared a different “road-to-Artrepreneur Fest” story because every business is different. The Artrepreneur Fest gave businesses access to 400+ of NYC’s most creative, influential and ambitious. Businesses at the Artrepreneur Fest varied from Beauty + Grooming, Wellness, Accessories, Art, and Apparel and their origins were not limited to our New York City area either. Reggie, a painter from Baltimore, MD spoke to me about representation at the Artreprenuer Fest, “Being able to come to connect with creatives, out here in Brooklyn and on other coasts, it means a lot.” The Artreprenuer Fest provided entrepreneurs the privilege to expand their networks while meeting their supporters both old, and new. Cadeja, founder of Peep New York a new eyewear line offering unique and trendy unisex styles described her experience hosting her first pop-up shop since launching her brand. “I love watching people’s reactions to my logo and set-up, first impressions are everything!”
Entrepreneurship isn't only about working on your own terms, or being your own boss. Most of it also includes acts of service. The outstanding service provided by the AF staff, I believe, is a huge reflection of the TIER NYC culture. They selected an amazing group to welcome and assist all the guests at the Artrepreneur Fest. What stood out most to me was how many staff members were creatives themselves who were known for their own individual niche. There isn’t much opportunity for hands-on support when we’re on the other side of a screen on an app, but these creative staff members proudly lent a helping hand while openly sharing their personal stories of hustling to make it in New York City as a Creative. The humility was unmatched and the energy was felt. I could tell somebody raised them right! This positive attitude wasn’t limited to the staff. Vendors, chefs, bartenders and security were at our service and they were happy to do so - and not that artificial happiness they force you to come up with at your ‘round-the-way chain retail stores. (if you know, you know!)
The Artreprenueur Fest was an influencer playground for networking, fun, and content creation. Vibrant backdrops, paintings to capture, chalkboards to tag, graffiti to color in, stickers on the walls, balloons, popcorn, cotton candy, Giant Jenga, Connect Four, and live music were all made available for guests to flourish. The Artrepreneur Fest wasn’t only a moment to monitor follower counts and engagement, it was a time for hopefuls to learn and gain valuable perspective. Select influencers including Gabrielle Amani of MEFEater Mag, Shaina Rene, owner of Blink Beauty Co and Shop Rene, Gissel Alvarez, BET Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and Rel Carter, A&R for Roc Nation were generous enough to share their knowledge and expertise in their field of entrepreneurship and Black Culture. They dropped gems including:
1. It’s okay to work for someone else while working toward your purpose.
2. If you want to start a business, work on your credit!
3. A “no” in the workplace means “TRY AGAIN.”
While the Artrepreneur Fest made all areas of art available from cuisine to lighting, a great addition to the growing variety was the dose of Performing Arts presented by Jeff Brown, 31 of Brooklyn, New York. He shared a monologue from his one man show titled Th3 Adopt3d On3, sharing his experience as a young Black man finding his way through the foster care system. Brown says the message behind his performance is to find relief in “accepting that it’s okay not to know.” In addition to the expression of art, there was the expression of self. The personal style exhibited at the Artrepreneur Fest reflected a community of support of Black businesses. Guest wore brands like Visionary Society, TIER NYC, Crate NY, Peep New York, and more. Branden, (pictured above) told me he loves being able to support a business he actually likes and is proud to wear. Honestly it was hard to tell who was staff and who was a guest because so many people were decked out in TIER. Bartenders wore the women’s reflective shorts set, staff wore custom Artrepreneur Staff tees, even vendors wore the iconic TIER cap and TIER sweatsuits. Im sure seeing a crowd TIER’d down to the socks really makes being an entrepreneur worthwhile.
Theres a phrase that says, “When you reach the top, remember to send the elevator back down for others.” TIER NYC and the Artreprenuer Fest are truly making a positive impact on creatives, artists and entrepreneurs alike. The growth in just two years has been top tier and I cant wait til next year! (see what I did there) A HUGE congratulations to Nigeria, Victor and Esaie on another successful Artreprepeneur Fest. Be sure to cop your TIER merch, follow them on social media, and stay on top of all Artrepreneur Fest news!
Thank you, create again,