The 22-year-old entrepreneur started his business back in December 2015 when he was still studying at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. After his mother died around graduation time, Eric was motivated to work his business full-time and since then, he’s been treading forward at full speed.
Now Eric is making a living selling his shoes thanks to a background in fashion design, a partnership with a factory in Brazil and his humble beginnings as the most stylish church boy on the block.
As someone who’s known financial hardships, Eric has made it clear that it’s never too early to follow your dreams. Check out our chat below where he describes all the things that put him on!
What was it like growing your audience on Instagram and what would you say was the one thing that helped bring in more followers?
Last year in November, beginning of December, I had maybe 3 or 4,000 followers for my company page and 6,000 on my personal. What helped me grow the most was I went viral in December. I made a meme and it had a picture of one of my shoes beside a Johnston and Murphy shoe, and it said “I replace a #BigBrand with a #BlackBrand.”
That meme got shared on Media Black Out and Black Wall St. and that jump started the whole meme viral-ness that I had experienced for like the past five or six months. So that’s the biggest thing that’s helped me build my audience, just making memes and getting other pages to share them. I’ve even gotten celebrities to share them as well.
You talk a lot about Black-owned businesses on your page. Why is this important to you and how has it shaped your understanding of collaboration?
I feel like if you don’t own stuff, you’ll always be enslaved because you’re not financially free. And the Black dollar is very important because if you look back at Black Wall Street and how long the dollar stayed in the community and compare it to now, it’s crazy. As soon as we get our check we cash it. The Black dollar’s gone. Where as back then, the Black dollar would circulate like a year in the community because we couldn’t shop with anyone else.
I’m a firm believer that there’s enough success out here and enough customers’ money for all of us. So I love coming together with other Black brands or even White brands. But I always go to the African American brands and say, “hey you want to come together and support and uplift each other” because we’ve all we’ve got at the end of the day.
You also post a lot of inspirational quotes on your page. What’s the earliest inspirational quote you can remember someone giving you that you can share with us?
My mom used to always say “don’t look like what you going through or what you been through.” So if you’re going through hell right now, just don’t look like that. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and just get out. Most people like vent on social media but me, I’ll come out and post something positive for somebody else and try to make somebody else’s day better. Just keep that positivity in the air.
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Any time I see “News” it’s always something tragic, negative or bad that’s happened, I very rarely see “Good News”. I think this is the type of News we should be exposed to more often, it’s more… how do you say… INSPIRATIONAL & UPLIFTING ✊🏽👞❤️👼🏽 Find positive in what may seem negative and shed light on it! ••• Amazing shot captured by: @jennterrellphotography 👑 ••• Tag someone that would love to be exposed to some Good News today! ❤️