SSD: “Dreams Don’t Expire” is a dope name. What made that come to mind for you how did you know that was IT? Were there other contenders for the name of your business – and if so, what were the top contenders?
AW: Thanks! Man as cliché as it sounds it all started with a dream I had, or a vision, which was for the first brand I started. I had this graphic in my head of the atom and “bomb” in the middle because back then my Twitter handle was iAdambomb.
I designed it, made my first shirt, and wore it to a Jay Z concert. The name then was, I think, A-bomb Clothing Co. But, I eventually landed on Littleboy, and Dreams Don’t Expire was the motto, becaussssse when you are a little boy or little girl – that’s when your dreams start.
Ironically the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was named “Little Boy”, so it just worked. But, Dreams Don’t Expire was always something I said. So, I designed a shirt that said “Dreams Don’t Expire” inside the cloud logo that was part of the first collection I made for Littleboy.
However, I got tired of wearing a shirt that said “little boy”, so I rebranded to D2E a couple years later.
I knew D2E was it, it just felt right.
It was me.
SSD: Hey, every hero has their origin story, right?
What do you think it takes to create, and maintain, a brand that is for people following their dreams? What are the key ingredients?
AW: I think it has to be authentic, you have to speak to what it means to be following your dreams. I’m a dreamer with a brand for dreamers.
That’s my key ingredient: I need my brand just as much as anyone.
SSD: And as someone following your own dreams (and putting in the work to build such a brand), what personally keeps you going, and how does that influence the brand you’re building?
AW: Man — God, honestly – it’s just something that has never left me. I can’t let it go. It’s hard to explain.
I know it’s what I’m meant to be doing. There should be a picture of me in the dictionary next to the word “Dreamer”.
I never give up on the things I want. I just always believe one day it’s going to happen.
SSD: Was there ever a time that you wanted to stop? If so, what got you past that hump? If not, wow – what’s your secret!?
AW: Never. Have I not gone hard sometimes? Yes. but I’ve always rocked D2E. Literally, that’s all I wore for years. I’m not kidding, like every day [attire].
My secret is it’s my philosophy.
SSD: Earlier you pointed out that you’re a Black small business owner and entrepreneur…
Do you have any Black Entrepreneurs who are your heroes and that you admire? If so, tell us about them. Why do they resonate with you?
AW: I’m going to say what any respectable hip-hop head would say… “Jay Z” (LOL!)
But, really – Pinky Cole, the owner of Slutty Vegan here in Atlanta. She’s a friend of my wife’s, and she’s super dope. She’s taking over the world one vegan burger at a time.
SSD: If you could go back in time and tell the younger YOU, who is just starting D2E, some crucial bit of insight relevant to your business, what would it be?
AW: Fuck everything you have going on and put everything you got into your dream now. You’re on to something.
SSD: What advice would you give others for balancing pursuing their dreams with focusing on the very real responsibilities they have in their day?
AW: “Don’t quit your day job…” Not yet. Not until you’re making it happen while you still ARE working, because you’re still going to have bills and you need your dreams to make money. They can’t make money AND take care of you at the same time — not while you’re trying to get it [started]. I’ve learned that lesson a couple [of] times (LOL)!
SSD: Do you have a business-related moment you’re super proud of? If so, tell us about it!
AW: Yes, it was my first international order, I was blown away. This was even before I actually started marketing outside of just posting to my Instagram.
SSD: That had to be a nice moment! Potentially opposing that success story —
How has the pandemic impacted your business strategy (if at all)?
AW: I’d say it tuned it up because it put pressure on me. When the pandemic hit TV and Film shut down and I wasn’t working – so I had to figure it out, too. It was about survival. Now it’s about scaling.
SSD: What resources, if any, would you point people who are interested in starting their own business toward?
AW: I read a lot of personal development books, one I would recommend is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, but learn as much as you can about the business you intend to start and keep learning. I’m still learning.
SSD: If you had a huge amount of resources on tap right now, what would be the next thing that D2E gets into? Would you expand or start something new?
AW: I would for sure throw more into marketing, and I would open my storefront.
SSD: Ok – last one – What are your thoughts on Black People supporting Black Businesses? (Say whatever you want to say here — take it where you want to take it.)
AW: Umm, I think it’s dope. We need to continue to support each other. If we don’t ride for each other who will?
I always wondered why there can be whole shopping plazas where every store is White, or Brazilian, or Asian – but we can’t have an All-Black Business Shopping Plaza? So, for us to be supporting Black Business now, and it to be an actual thing, is fire!