Zeal Apparel Co is the brainchild of tech entrepreneur Carl Bazelais, CEO of Bonspoon Media. Zeal Apparel Co is one of several emerging brands that cater to an increasingly culturally-aware segment of Haitian-Americans. Let’s get to know the brand better and how it came about.
Kreyolicious: Why the name Zeal Apparel?
Zeal Apparel Co: There were several reasons why we chose Zeal Apparel Co to be the name of the company. And I say we, because it is a family business and collectively, we agreed on the name. The word Zealous is one of many positive attributes that is found all throughout the Bible (in different forms of the word) which describes the character of a person that we all hope to embody. Another reason that follows the latter is that we wanted something that is relative. Something that will exude positivity in people.
Kreyolicious: What made you go into the fashion business?
Zeal Apparel Co: Well, I really must answer this question in two parts; the what and the why. Fashion to me is something expressive. A statement or reflection of self – my confidence, my passion, my pride, all are expressed through this one S-word – my swag. So fashion, I feel is something that has always been part of me.
I didn’t study fashion, nor did I wake up one day and say, “I’m going into the fashion biz”, but my creativity placed me there. I want to be able to create fresh and new pieces that people will love and make part of their daily wardrobe.
Kreyolicious: It looks like heritage wear is big with consumers. Why do you think that is?
Zeal Apparel Co: Yes, heritage wear or goods are very popular these days which is a fascinating trend. If it’s okay to say, I think it is due partially to the fact that people are looking to connect or reconnect to their roots. We are very comfortable with who we are and want to identify with the cultures of our parents. And when we do settle with that definition of who we are, we want to state it boldly. This is who I am, like it or not. So, the fact that heritage wear is big with consumers has to do a lot with culture identity.
Kreyolicious: Is it tough being an entrepreneur? How do you handle the challenges?
Zeal Apparel Co: Oh, so tough. I think every entrepreneur to his core is indeed an optimist. We all have this mindset that we can do it all. And all can be done…which isn’t far-fetched. However, these four things I know we struggle with the most: funding, ideas, time and opportunity. What I find myself [lacking] the most is time and funding. Opportunities come and go, moreover, so do challenges – facing them is almost inevitable if you plan on succeeding. So, having people in your corner to mentor and guide you is so very important as an entrepreneur.
Kreyolicious: Where do you hope to take Zeal?
Zeal Apparel Co: Well, I have three children – a son and two daughters…one in high school getting ready to follow her dreams in fashion, and the youngest daughter loves the arts but too early to tell. Zeal Apparel Co will be in the hands of those two young ladies taking it over to the next generation.
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