I started All Very Goods almost two years ago. My goal was, and is, to create a brand that supports Black women and Black people through products and designs that celebrate our history, beauty, innovation, complexity and resilience. The products I create come from my own experiences and observations, hours of research and hundreds of design iterations.
I do my best to be honest when I'm designing. I think that is part of what people connect with when they see my stuff. I had someone tell me that she wears her Big Chop bandana when she gets her breast cancer treatments; that it’s like having a sister there with her. I can’t put into words how much that means to me.
I also get messages from other women who are running their own business and have shops that sell my goods. They see something special in what I do and want to work with me to help grow both of our businesses. They’ve taught me that the best way for us to succeed is to do this together.
I remain convinced of that.
A few days ago, at 11:20PM, I got a DM from someone threatening legal action and demanding that I immediately take my "Power Button" products off my website. She insisted that I was infringing on her ‘trademark’ because I used the phrase "fists up afros out" on one of the 25 buttons included in the designs. I had never heard of her or her brand. I did some research and pretty quickly understood that there was no infringement. I sent her a cordial response and then reached out to my lawyer. I wanted to make sure my understanding was correct and to get his advice on the best way to offer to work with her.
Unfortunately, LESS THAN 36 HOURS after I received her first DM, while I was waiting for my lawyer to get back to me, she went on the attack on Instagram and Twitter. She tagged me and called me “disgusting, disrespectful and lazy.” She accused me of stealing her “logo, concepts, and work.” She told her almost 80K followers to report me (report me to whom, exactly?) and posted a video where she says she wants to ‘fight me”
Look, I’m a Black woman, running her own business in the time of COVID-19 and Trump. Everyday there is something to be legitimately angry about. My gut reaction is often to want to fight first and ask questions later. But as satisfying as it is to set bridges and houses on fire, I’ve learned that my business has to be built with a cornerstone of patience and kindness, or at a minimum, civility.
2020 was frequently shitty and I’m sure 2021 is going to bring some tough lessons of its own. Nevertheless, this year, I will continue to grow All Very Goods while I help other women and while I move forward with deliberate, thoughtful purpose. I guess this is a kind of 'name it so you can claim it' testimonial. Now that it’s out there, I hope you will continue to support me and stay tuned for what’s to come. I'm really, really excited about it.