Claima Tales Dares Entrepreneurs of Coloration to Dream Huge

Some folks select to chase their desires, whereas others determine to construct theirs. For Bimma Williams and BJ Frogozo, the latter was their solely choice. However rising up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Terre Haute, Indiana, respectively, didn’t precisely present an surroundings for networking or strong tradition. But what these budding entrepreneurs might have lacked of their environment, they made up for with imaginative and prescient and unwavering dedication. 

Bimma and BJ’s enterprise into creativity formally started with sneakers. BJ’s first gig was working retail at End Line, whereas Bimma earned his first paycheck on the first-ever Black owned sneaker boutique in his hometown. After faculty, their careers continued to blossom with Bimma touchdown a place at Nike and BJ changing into the advertising supervisor at Interscope Information. Regardless of their particular person success, the pair had but to satisfy however had an identical need to do extra to assist creatives and entrepreneurs of coloration. Their paths lastly crossed in 2019, after they have been launched by a mutual artistic in Portland. Based on Bimma, it went from being a brief catch as much as “feeling like we have been two outdated associates.”   

“We began assembly on daily basis at a espresso store and talked about concepts and the lack of understanding for Black and Brown creatives, folks making an attempt to get in footwear, and puzzled how can we inform that story?” BJ shares. “We developed this cadence. It was, ‘Hey, Bimma, what’s your thought for the day,’ and I’ll begin calling folks and determining go produce it. And that’s type of the way it began.”

By “it” BJ means Claima Tales with Bimma, which is impressed by the “declare a seat on the desk” mantra. The cultural leisure firm has turn out to be the No. 1 careers podcast on Apple, and has featured interviews with high-profile figures akin to Melody Ehsani, Jeff Staple, Tyler The Creator, and most not too long ago, J.Cole’s supervisor and Dreamville co-founder, Ibrahim “IB” Hamad. 

Coming off the heels of their Dreamville Pageant taping, we caught up with the Claima founders, who’re a part of the Complex B.O.S.S. program that spotlights the work of minority-owned small companies, to speak about how every part got here collectively, their very own private hurdles, and why imposter syndrome is on the root of all our fears.

Claima Stories BJ Frogozo
Claima Tales Co-Founder, BJ Frogozo

What would you say was the toughest facet of launching Claima Tales?

Bimma: On the time, I used to be working at Nike, and it was difficult as a result of I spent my entire life making an attempt to get to an aspirational place in a profession however Claima was taking off, so I had this fork within the highway. Profession clever, I’m at Nike, bro! However then BJ and I received Claima, and we’re getting consideration. Footwear information is speaking about it, Sole Collector’s speaking about it. It was this identification disaster of, Man, can you permit this cultural icon and go do that factor? You’ve gotten two private tales of people that’ve failed at it, and also you wish to go strive!? And on the opposite aspect of it, BJ and I confronted our first main lesson. I don’t name these losses, however we have been pitching an organization for about 4 months to carry funding. Primarily, a sponsorship to fund the following season of Claima. We thought every part was aligned after which they despatched us an e mail and informed us that the deal was off. That was a significant blow.

As you proceed to develop, what has been the most effective drawback you’ve encountered by the success?

BJ: One of the best drawback is you get a lot inbound from manufacturers that wish to work with us as a result of the message is one thing everybody desires to align with. Our lens is genuine to the Black and Filipino and Asian and Latinx communities that they need it, they want it. They’re knocking on our door. How can we replicate this? I’m beginning to see folks attempt to do what we’re doing. And I’m similar to you haven’t been there, so that you don’t know talk that to folks. 

Additionally, our factor is we’re constructing neighborhood. I’ve an inventory of individuals I speak to each morning who’re in our neighborhood, simply checking on them and ensuring they’re doing okay, and ensuring they’re in a great psychological place. I’m an open e-book. I’ve carried out every part in leisure from finish to finish, and if you happen to need assistance with one thing, I in all probability know anyone. I’m going to attach you simply because we’re making an attempt to be a conduit for that type of power.

Are you each good with folks?

Bimma: Oh, yeah, that’s a shared power. We get together with folks fairly effectively. We construct networks, we construct neighborhood. If something I’ve realized in life and on this journey it’s that life is folks, household is folks, enterprise is folks. For those who aren’t good with folks, it’s going to be very onerous to navigate this world. It’s individuals who pull you into conditions that you simply don’t see for your self, or you possibly can’t see for your self, since you’re not in sure rooms. 

I really like chatting with of us on this house as a result of oftentimes their tales are informed and oftentimes, of us from our communities don’t even know these choices are potential.

“If the surroundings that you simply develop up in you’re solely proven the trail of employee-employment, effectively then that turns into your consolation zone and your definition of success.” —Bimma Williams


You have been capable of file an episode through the Dreamville Pageant. How did that chance come about? 

Bimma: We now have an ideal accomplice at Vistaprint and so we began working with them on an idea referred to as STORYTELLAS, which is stay neighborhood constructing with entrepreneurs of coloration. And truthfully, it’s a second for us to get actual candid about enterprise and what the journey’s like. We began it in Portland. We had Trinidad James as a visitor and Trinidad spoke with our area people about his expertise, going from stylist to artist to model builder. So the following alternative that got here up was Dreamville. 

How was the Dreamville Pageant completely different from different tapings? 

BJ: It is a tour. We went on tour final summer time the place we visited 5 cities. We’re going to do, I believe, six cities this time round, and Dreamville was the second cease. We invited about 50 to 60 Black and Brown enterprise house owners to assist join. A few of the suggestions I get once we’re locally and speaking to folks is that they don’t have time to community with associates and so they don’t have time to community with different enterprise house owners. We wish to construct that house. 

Bimma: We’re going to satisfy with younger of us which have aspect hustles, or they already are of their enterprise. And we’re simply going to speak store and only a informal alternative to have an intentional dialog surrounded by entrepreneurship. So we’re tremendous enthusiastic about [this tour]. I’m excited to be again on stage and be interviewing of us about their companies and careers. 

How would you describe the creatives and entrepreneurs who attended the competition?

Bimma: It was a combination of oldsters from photographers to restaurant house owners. They have been coming to be taught and to be impressed by the tales of Cheetie Kumar, founder and head chef at Garland and Dreamville’s IB. One attendee within the viewers occurred to be a music producer and handed IB a USB drive with music through the Q&A. Folks got here searching for data for a way they will elevate their sport and get nearer to reaching their objectives. Seeing folks being proactive about their desires, seeing what makes them stand up within the morning, seeing what drives them is an awe inspiring studying second to expertise for us.

What recommendation did IB supply that you simply suppose actually resonated with the viewers?

BJ: IB spoke about belief, not solely in your individual enterprise and in your self, however needing to have belief to work with folks. Oftentimes, if you’re an entrepreneur and also you’re enthusiastic about your corporation, it may be tough to let others are available in and provides them the belief to have the ability to develop into the position and proceed to remain enthusiastic about that frequent purpose. IB spoke of his personal struggles with permitting others to develop and letting them make errors and nonetheless trusting them to return in and persevering with to work. 

“A few of the suggestions I get once we’re locally and speaking to folks is that they don’t have time to community with associates and so they don’t have time to community with different enterprise house owners. We wish to construct that house.” —BJ Frogozo


What was your greatest takeaway out of your time on the competition?

BJ: “We don’t get this in Raleigh,” one attendee commented. In lots of southern states, it’s uncommon {that a} premium and elevated occasion collection like Dreamville Pageant would come to city. It jogged my memory of my expertise rising up in Louisiana. It’s essential that we’re reaching out to our neighborhood within the south and midwest, as a result of they’re oftentimes omitted

Claima Stories Bimma Williams
Claima Tales Co-Founder & Host, Bimma Williams

Why do you suppose so many individuals are afraid to chase their desires, and what recommendation are you able to give to somebody who is just too timid to strive?

Bimma: One of many causes for that’s your surroundings. If the surroundings that you simply develop up in you’re solely proven the trail of employee-employment, effectively then that turns into your consolation zone and your definition of success. You don’t hear the success tales of different journeys. So, whilst you may need these concepts, you could have this built-in boundary that you could’t see. 

The opposite issue is if you happen to’ve seen failure you may internalize it and say, ‘Properly, I would fail too’ versus permitting it to simply be an remoted incident or understanding the circumstances. The opposite factor is, racial discrimination, as an entire. Interval. And finally, impostor syndrome. We don’t suppose it’s for us. We don’t suppose we’re succesful. And so of us who’re good, would a lot slightly go work at a company than go begin their very own factor.

What’s subsequent for Claima?

Bimma: For us, our imaginative and prescient is to develop. You’re conversant in Uninterrupted, I’m certain, and what they’ve been capable of do from the hub of athletes, why can’t we do this for artistic entrepreneurs of coloration? Why can’t we create in that means the place we’ve content material that expands into documentaries and TV and movie? However we even have our influence arm the place we’ve funding and schooling and workshops for creatives, to assist them create sustainable companies. That’s really the place we wish to go.

Claima Stories with Bimma is offered wherever you hearken to podcasts. Remember to try their site for extra discussions with entrepreneurs of coloration. 

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