Everyone from hip-hop legend Wyclef Jean to fashion great Donna Karan have been spotted wearing the brand Dnalsi. But what is Dnalsi? A clothing line started by East Flatbush, Brooklyn-born and raised college friends Rob Constant and Gladymir Leveille, in case you didn’t know! The conversation is already in motion with co-founder Gladymir…Here’s what he had to say in terms of advice to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and his future plans for his brand.
Kreyolicious: What would you say to someone who wants to start a brand like Dnalsi?
You have to know you’re overall goal and vision for your brand. Once you know that, then you know what your starting point will be and what your end goal will be for the brand. Your customer may not know what your end goal is in the beginning but as long as you’re telling a story and keep them captivated they’ll stay with you on the ride. But speaking in general terms as an entrepreneur, you’ll face many obstacles when starting your business. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself how bad do you want it? What are you willing to give up and sacrifice? Is this your dream, your passion or just a hobby? It’s a mental grind and you will be tested every day, and that’s a fact!!
Kreyolicious: Also, you had an event where you helped raise money for a soccer program in Haiti. Why do you think it’s important to give back?
It’s a must us and it’s only right. We are the keepers of our legacy. Our Sak Pase collection is all about promoting the Haitian Culture in a positive way It’s a “Love Movement”, and so, giving back is also part of what we do. It’s important because although Haiti has made some great strides over the past few years; this generation has to continue to give back and be part of the continued growth of Haiti as a whole.
Kreyolicious: Do you have a favorite book that you turn to for inspiration or motivation that you’d like to recommend to others?
I’ll give you two. [Laughter] Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Branding and Lifestyle–We grew up not to far from Daymond John and his partners and watched the rise of Fubu with our own eyes. It’s a great story of not giving up, believing in your dreams, and finding creative ways to brand your company with no budget. Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out….This is Marc Ecko’s book and he lays it all out of all the mistakes he made in the fashion industry when he first started out. But even moreso, his story is amazing of he started doing graffiti shirts from his garage to a multi-billion dollar fashion label.
Kreyolicious: Sounds good..It’s two years from now, and we’re having yet another conversation about Dnalsi. What will the brand have achieved between now and then?
Among our achievements: our brand will be [carried by] more stores around the country. The Dnalsi brand which is the umbrella company would be on its second or third collection. Our new collection New York Is Hip-Hop would be in market for sale–we’d be celebrating seven years of our Sak Pase brand and you’d see us with cooler designs to rep Haiti and to rep your culture. You’ll also you’d see the brand move on ancillary products. So, look out for that Sak Pase Cocktail coming soon!
This concludes PART II of the interview with heritage clothing brand Dnalsi’s co-founder Vladymyr Leveille. Watch out for PART II. CLICK HERE if you missed PART I
CLICK HERE to purchase Dnalsi’s cultural wear!
CLICK HERE to visit the clothing brand Dnalsi website!