BE Next: Fearless Young Entrepreneurs Reveal Most Valuable Play

in 2004 for a reported $12 million. Erving took his share of the sale and launched JEG, another entertainment management company; opened Absoloot Boxing Gym in Atlanta with R&B singer Mario; and partnered with three friends to develop two sneaker collections (Jhung Yuro and Ceasar Lunix). The shoe lines and gym’s combined 2008 revenues were $3.5 million.

Double Team: Realizing there’s strength in numbers, Erving teamed up with Carter again late last year, merging their respective companies to form Erving Carter. Erving brought with him JEG’s client list, which includes Mario, R&B songstress Angie Stone, and hit producer Rodney Jerkins.

If the Shoe Fits: “One thing that people respect about my father [NBA legend Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving] is that he wasn’t just an athlete but also an entrepreneur. So, in terms of business savvy, there’s definitely a lot to live up to. But if anything, his pro-ball career put more pressure on my basketball game, which is decent at best.”

Brandon & Lorielle Broussard Ages 32 & 27
Baracka Wear Inc. / Los Angeles, CA
Type of business:
Apparel and accessories
Employees:
4
Year Launched:
2002
2008 Revenues:
$600,000
Website:
www.barackawear.com
Game changer:
Repositioning your products and/or services

Change is good: In August 2007, the brother-and-sister team quit their day jobs (Brandon was a writer and Lorielle, a stylist) to promote one message: ‘Barack the Vote.’ More than 35,000 shirts have been sold to date.

The Agenda: After the election, Baracka Wear launched YOTOWN, a line of nonpolitical shirts that feature a personalized map of “your” city (i.e. New York, Los Angeles). And slated for fall 2009 is a denim line they’re designing themselves. Qreative Jeanius, the fashion company and line, will use high-end raw and salvaged denim.

Transition to (more) power: To generate interest, all ‘Barack the Vote’ shirts purchased leading up to the election were mailed with material promoting the new products.

Party like a rock star: Rapper Will.i.am, actor Hill Harper, and legendary entertainer Cher are some celebrities who rocked the signature shirt. And a portion of the sales (more than $17,000) was donated to President-elect Obama’s election campaign. Post-election paraphernalia such as ‘Yes We Did!’ and ‘Baracked the Vote’ are available, but they continue to sell ‘Barack the Vote.’

Community Organizers: Their e-newsletter reaches about 30,000 people.  “We have a following of people who want to know what’s next for us,” says Brandon. “Grassroots play a part too in what we’re doing.”    be

–Additional reporting by Letita M. Aaron, Tamara E. Holmes

This story originally appeared in the January 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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