People have different reasons for starting a business – whether it’s a childhood dream, an entrepreneurial spirit, or they’re tired of working a regular 9-to-5 job.
nour anderson launched his business after a tragedy – hoping to send a message too.
Can’t Relate, a luxury streetwear brand, was created after Anderson lost his brother to senseless gun violence at an early age to send a global message to end gun violence, especially in the black community.
After starting business and sending samples to jim jones, The Lox, mike tyson, Funkmaster Flexand Victor Cruzhe started gaining support from more artists.
Eight years after self-funding Can’t Relate, Anderson has released his latest collection, Summer is ours. With messages against gun violence embedded in his clothing line, this entrepreneur also spreads the message by speaking to children at school and community events.
BLACK CORPORATE caught up with Anderson to discuss his journey to entrepreneurship, talk to kids about starting their own business and the daily grind.
You started Can’t Relate after losing your older brother to gun violence. Why did you decide to go this direction and how did you get artists like Mike Tyson, Victor Cruz and Jim Jones, among others, to support the brand?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been into fashion. My older brother, Malik, taught me a lot about business and manufacturing. My mum is also very fashion forward, which made me want to take things to new levels, so I thought instead of buying fashion, why not design it? Plus, I’m addicted to building healthy relationships in life; each person who has worn the mark has a unique story of how things happened. I discovered that real relationships go much further than opportunities. Similar to the difference between a job and a career. The more authentic relationships we build, the more doors open. There’s also a ton of luck that goes with it, being in the right place at the right time, being prepared, etc. Things like that mean the most to me.
As an entrepreneur, what motivates you to get started and keep living your dream of being a business owner?
Being motivated by anti-gun violence is a lifetime commitment. When you pair this with a high fashion streetwear brand, you get something very cohesive, and no matter what obstacles get in the way, I refuse to give up. It’s fun to know that you can control your own destiny in many ways. It is an ultimate gift in business.
You do community service by talking to kids and letting them know that there are other career options outside of sports and music. Why do you think it is important for them to understand this from an early age?
Owning a successful business has shown me that we can be great at anything as long as we are consistent, passionate, and mentally strong. I feel like the earlier kids understand this, the better. Not everyone is the same, but in my eyes, kids should own businesses from an early age. LLCs should be the norm for children, not just adults. I think it’s a better alternative than discovering many other life challenges around 18. The key to any field is no matter what adversity comes your way, losing and giving up is not an option, so we have to move on.
Your website states, “Pushing a message that adversity and obstacles can be overcome through art and creativity.” Could you explain this and how it relates to how you run your business?
Yes, I feel not only by art but by passion. In the same way, emotions can push someone to excel to the greatest heights in medicine, sports, law, and just about anything. In my case, art is my therapy. I like to create for others, especially knowing that there is a positive message attached to our creations.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing their passion and dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
My advice to them is to start immediately, even if they don’t feel prepared right now. There are days when I feel unprepared after 8 years of consistent branding. Stay true to yourself and learn that tunnel vision is a good thing. Set small goals and big goals, but don’t give up until the goals are met. Ignore detractors at all costs. Your journey will be difficult but magnificent. Just stay the course and never be too cool to be yourself.