The importance of good design transcends all industries. However, aspiring designers are often discouraged from pursuing careers in the arts because of the perception that there is no money to be made. But today, more than ever, technology has extended its influence on the design world and created a variety of career opportunities that will extend well into the future. Check out how this group of innovative BE Nexters (21-35-year-old) are using their passion for design to drive business and create their own enterprises. — LaToya M. Smith
Hudson was the lead designer on the 2011 Sonata, which lead to a 93% increase in sales year-over-year for the $98.9 billion company. He oversees exterior design at Hyundai and has also contributed to the Genesis Coupe, the Azera, and the 2009 Nuvis Concept. The College for Creative Studies graduate credits his success to the power of good design. “Designers have an amazing power because you affect people’s lives every day long after the product has left your sketchpad or computer; everything you touch was designed by someone. Great design changes the world.” To read more about Hudson, check out the January 2012 issue of Black Enterprise.
As an expert in the style industry for more than a decade, Allen’s passion for design led him to create his own International Image business, Transformers Inc. He has styled some of the biggest celebrities such as Beyoncé, Toni Braxton, Eve, Fantasia, Monica and worked for major beauty brands such as CoverGirl and Pantene. The New York fashion stylist says he can command $3,000-$6,000 per day for his services.
Teman and Teran have been able to use their Harvard architecture degrees for entrepreneurial advancement. They have expanded their jewelry and apparel line, DIOSCURI, into a brand consulting firm for major players in the design industry such as David Rockwell, high-profile design schools, and television networks such as HGTV, which has allowed them to create design innovations for Starbucks, luxury hotels, and department stores. DIOSCURI had revenue of $750,000 in 2011. Projects for 2012 are $1 million. To read more about the Evanses, check out the January 2012 issue of Black Enterprise.
Faith and Hope Rivers, 25, Founders and Acessory Designers forMoaZenJewelry LLC. @Moazen
Twin designers, Faith and Hope Rivers created their own line of affordable luxury multi-cultural jewelry. MoaZen Jewelry uses its brand power to influence positive social change. The twins dedicate 50% of their time and resources to community initiatives and the remaining 50% to growing their venture.
Johnson says her line of elaborate sunglasses has taken the fashion industry to the next level in the blink of an eye. The Houston-based designer launched her first line in 2010 after getting approached by women on the street who wanted to buy her shades right off of her face. Her second line, “Retro,” launched later that year. Most recently Ivy released her fifth and sixth lines of designer eyewear, “Rock Star” and “BBO,” in October 2011. The line grossed $499,762 last year and has been worn by gospel singer Yolanda Adams, Ashely Cheatum and Ashely Nichole of the Bad Girls Club.
Wiley is known for his larger-than-life paintings inspired by young men on streets of Harlem and the urban landscapes of Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar, and Rio de Janeiro. The Los Angeles native and New York-based visual artist/designer offered his artistic eye to PUMA’s Spring/Summer 2010 “Africa Lifestyle” line which includes bomber jackets, T-shirts, laces, and patterned sneakers. He was also commissioned by PUMA to create life-size paintings of African footballer starts to tour Paris, London, Milan, and Johannesburg as a symbol of unity among those countries participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Growing up in Nigeria, Ehrlich would spend her summers at a local handbag factory sketching women in fashionable clothing and shoes. By age 12 she knew she wanted to make handbags. Ehrlich launched her own line in 2004 after graduating from the Art Center College of Design and quickly attracted celebrity clientele such as Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross, and many more. Her bags have been sold at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel and Kitson ranging from $45 to $850. She says her bags are for the aspirational customer who doesn’t want to spend $1,500 to $1,800 for a bag.
As Director of Innovation, Mayden is responsible for design concept products-footwear, apparel, equipment-for mobile and Web experience, and for services that test their consumer relevance, technological feasibility, and strategic alignment to the various products at Nike. “Designers of today are moving away from just drawing pretty pictures,” says Mayden. We’re being asked to create products, lead business, set vision, deploy strategies, and drive tactical executions company wide.” He is the designer of the Nike Air Monarch, which became the second most successful footwear franchise behind the Air Force One. To read more about Mayden, check out the January 2012 issue of Black Enterprise.
Harvey says she stays within the box, but always colors outside of the lines when describing her hand sketched distinctive footwear collection. Harvey is the sole designer at FEVER and her collection is sold and distributed throughout the U.S., U.K., Canada, Africa, and the Caribbean. Her shoes have been worn by celebrities such as Raven Symone, Meagan Good, LisaRaye, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Rocsi of 106 & Park, among others. Her business is valued at $1.3 million. To read more about Harvey, check out the January 2012 issue of Black Enterprise.
After being denied admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons New School for Design, Smith decided to forgo college. His drive and determination snatched the spotlight at February 2010 Fashion Week. Since then Smith has created custom pieces for Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Tyra Banks, Raven Symoné, Lala Anthony, Selita Ebanks, Serena Williams and more. Smith describes his designs as the “personification of modern femininity and liberation.”
Foy was hired as a UX Designer for Windows after his phone and concept video promoting the virtues of Microsoft’s WP7 mobile OS went viral. As an UX designer, Foy creates the animations for Windows, Windows Live and Windows Portals.