Interview with Viedelle Pascal, Promoter of Corner Ambition events & Brand Owner of Corner Ambition Clothing
Mr. Pascal, Corner Ambition is a brand that you started on social media. What was the purpose for starting such a business?
Actually, it was just me wanting to have my own business. When you’re in secondary school, everybody trains you to become an employee; but I wanted to do my own thing and Corner Ambition was that space for me to just do my own thing.
And why T-shirt designing?
At the time, it was just myself and I had one competition. It was a fresh idea in 2011. Now, we’re almost 6 years later and there are probably 50 clothing lines in Grenada; so that shows that we had an influence on the market.
How did it start? What is it you had to do?
I used to take my lunch money back in secondary school and saved it, because I knew at first I had to register the business; in order to do that, I had to have fees to pay the lawyer, get it stamped and all that stuff; then, eventually, we had to take it to the business stage, which was buying T-shirt, to getting my own laptop, to getting the designs done. All of this was from personal savings.
What is involved in producing the clothing line?
For one, it involves marketing. You have to get people to want to buy the products.
And you find people want to buy your products?
Yeah, people do. At first, it was more the support-local type of stuff; it worked until people actually started wanting the product. We had really good quality. The quality was really what we were looking for.
You do not produce T-shirts but you make screens. Take us through what you do as Corner Ambition. If I want a T-shirt, I have a design, talk to me about this.
Basically, the design is ours. We design the clothing; so we make our clothing. It’s a brand. You know how NIKE put out their clothing – NIKE jerseys; well, we put out our jerseys – Corner Ambition jerseys.
I actually started with one partner. He is a silent partner now because he is not based in Grenada. I’m the only one here. I consider us to be a team; we sit down; we do the design. He would place the order first because we used to do all the printing abroad. So we would source the T-shirts in different countries, then we bring them to Grenada, where we do the photo shoot. We market the T-shirts; we get it them to local celebrities, so to speak, like the Menace; DJ Menace would wear the T-shirt when he’s on T.V. So, a lot of marketing is involved.
You don’t make the actual shirts but you make the prints; you make the graphics for the prints.
Yes, it’s graphic T-shirts.
And you had to acquire the equipment. What kind of equipment is involved?
The large screen printing right now; different screen print machines and it is still a process because we are not 100% full time. We would still outsource the T-shirts and get it done.
You don’t print here?
So who makes the screen?
Every design that’s created, we have our own screen; so we would be able to do it ourselves. It took us 4 years to do that.
So you make your screen and you send your screen and the T-shirts to be printed?
We do the printing here as well, for ourselves; I’m not really pushing that one so much, but that’s actually a new achievement.
But now you can do your printing if you want to?
But it’s more economical for you to send it out?
How many persons are employed with you?
Right now, it’s just like myself and I have some people who would help me print and distribute.
So if I want 500 printed T-shirts, you would make what? The screen and you would print it?
Yes, I could do that.
And the people in Barbados that support you…
We had a website. We recently just took it down to do maintenance.
So you are involved in manufacturing of a new clothing line called Corner Ambition. Why Corner Ambition?
Like I said, this business started when I was 17 and I just had a mindset to get this done. So people around me were saying, ‘boy, that is your drive, that is your ambition’. And I was like, ‘Corner Ambition sounds really cool. Let’s work with the name Corner Ambition’.
You just came up with that name?
Yeah! There is no specific spiritual kind of meaning to it. It was just a term we liked and we said okay, we’ll put together Corner Ambition.
It was a hip something…
So who buys your clothes?
I would say right now, anybody, any age.
But who is it popular with right now? Who is your target audience?
The young people, 18 to 35; I’ll put it that way.
And how can somebody buy your clothes?
We have a few stores selling them here; we have York Sneaker Wear; we have Just Brands as well as. You can contact us and we will deliver it.
So you had a dream in school to run your own business. 6 or 5 years later you’re running your own business. You feel like a man?
Kind of. Well, you know, it’s funny because it gets more challenging because sometimes you sit down and it’s like ‘wow, maybe I should be at this stage. I think I’m staying here too, too long’. So that’s why we went ahead and get our own machine.
What’s your overall mission of Corner Ambition?
Really and truly it’s storefront. Own our own store – an actual physical outlet where you can walk in and buy the stuff.
Today you’re doing T-shirts. What’s in the future?
The store. In terms of promotions, we’re actually up there. In terms of social media promotion for events, we’re up there. We do parties as well that have between 600 – 1,200 people; so that shows that the business has influence, not only for the clothing but over the young people.
What is your drive?
Like I say, just being my own boss.
Being able to manage your own affairs. Do you come from a family who is into the same thing – business?
How much of an influence your father had on you?
What role does technology play in your business?
Everything. I’m always on my phone. I live on my phone because that’s where my business is. So I would get sales, somebody would reach out to us on Facebook, or Instagram, or they would call us. So that just shows how much I’m into technology – my phone.
What is your message for your people who are waiting for a job?
Make something. Think of something that you love
and go after it. Clothes is my personal passion. Clothes is my first love and when I was 14, 15, I used to save up my lunch money to buy clothes. I was like, so why not take that money and start my own business? And that’s where the whole thing came about.
So you never worked a day in your life for anyone?
Never. Well, I’m working now for my father but I don’t consider that work.
How much of your day does your Corner Ambition project takes?
I would say almost every day, all day.
And where do you get time out to help your father?
His business is car rental. So if he calls me to drop off a vehicle for him, that’s what I consider work for him.
Who are some of the people that actually influenced you in terms of brand? Are you trying to be a Gap?
Actually, Gucci influenced me.
What about Gucci influenced you?
They put so much into their product. They would make somebody want to pay $600 for their clothes. In order to do this, you have to have some kind of heavy branding and some brand loyalty. So I pay attention to Gucci.
Quality is a buzz word these days. How important is it to you?
Quality is everything. Quality is key. To me, what I think kept my business going for the past 5 years is the fact that it is quality; because, let me be honest with you; I have about 100 clients that I’m sure on and they would buy a shirt every time because they’re satisfied with the quality.
How come you don’t cater for people like me who have money to spend? What’s the plan for people above 35 who have money to spend?
You know the designs of 5 years ago to the designs now are completely different. Before, it was fully graphic, it was loud stuff. Now, it’s more calm and cool. We just did some T-shirts for Independence. It’s our logo with the flag.
Every T-shirt has Corner Ambition on it just as I would see GQ or NIKE. So Corner Ambition is the brand. That’s it.
Yes, it’s fully branded.
So it’s not abusive, it’s not offensive; it’s just saying that you’re trendy and you’re dressing in Corner Ambition. So I could wear a Corner Ambition shirt?
Yes, anybody. The reason why our target was so much around young people was because of the whole event thing. It is more the younger people partying. Like I say, our events right now are between 500 to 1,000 people.
Where do you have these events?
Different places. We started in Club Bananas and then the last place we did was at Yacht Club. This year we’re scouting for new venues.
So if I go down the road and I see a person with a shirt marked Corner Ambition, I know that somebody is wearing your line of clothing?
Yeah. The products are actually branded; it’s Corner Ambition.
Corner Ambition is a line of products branded and geared towards the young people, between the ages of 18 to 35, who are trendy and could relate to what you’re talking about and it’s from a young man who has seen a vision for that. Where do you see this thing going in the future?
Well, like I say, 5 years later and it keeps growing; it’s growing, it’s growing. Corner Ambition, that whole idea, made me venture into new things. I started the business in 2012 and we started doing events in 2014.
So how about slippers?
We had bags, we had jackets, we had pants. The only thing we haven’t had yet are socks and jeans.
How are you able to keep the price affordable?
Well, now that I have my own equipment, it makes it more affordable. Before, it was quite pricy because we had to do it overseas and ship it here; because in Grenada, we don’t really have much manufacturers.
Are you guaranteed good quality T-shirts from the local people who make T-shirts?
Actually, I would say, yes.
You can get a supply of what you want? Is ink and paint and everything you want at hand?
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Having our physical outlet. That is the milestone of my business ñ a physical outlet and also an outlet where I can produce and make my own stuff.
What’s the plan for increasing the work load?
As we grow, we will need more people on board.
Are you satisfied with the growth to date?
Is it what you envisaged when you started?
Not really. We never saw the parties and things like that.
It’s more than you can imagine.
Yes. Like I said. Different things came along with that. Let me just drift a little bit. Last year, I was on board promoting for Pure White on social media; getting paid to promote someone else’s party. I got paid to promote Pure White, I got paid to promote Extreme Black, Judah’s show, Three B’s. I got paid to promote Inception, Lincoln’s event, Fete Freaks for Old Years. So that business just grew; it took a different route.
So it’s still our clothing, which is what we’re based on; but we’re also into promotion as well, and we have good feedback from the young people for the events. So, it’s more than I expected. I never saw myself doing promotions.
Yes, I come from a family background that was with Island View, events and that type of stuff. But I never saw myself doing events and it came along with the same Corner Ambition.
The older partying people know Corner Ambition to be an entertainment group; and the younger people know Corner Ambition to a clothing line, fashion products.
So if I’m in a Corner Ambition shirt, people will say what wow, you’re hip? You’re in the trend?
Yeah. You’re in thing.
So to go trendy you get a Corner Ambition?
Yeah. It makes sense.
That’s about it.