Creating products which make people feel good is what Jamal Robinson’s company is all about. As the founder and president of Desiar, a hand-crafted eyewear business, Robinson is committed to making sunglasses which turn the wearer into a style legend. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jamal and learn more about both his eyewear line and his tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Why did you start your business?
The inspiration behind Desiar (Des-E-Air) was to create a product that enhances the way people live their lives. I began customizing sunglasses in my dorm room at UCF and people would say, “I look like a rock star.” It’s important to me that my product makes people feel great. That feeling is a continuous driver for me as a designer and leader of the company.
How did you come up with your business name?
When I began designing sunglasses by enhancing the lenses with Swarovski crystals, people “desired” them. I didn't want to call the brand “Desire” so I spelled it differently and pronounced it, (Des-E-Air). The European pronunciation came from my watching YouTube videos of European designers. Some people mispronounce our brand for “desire” but that is the root of DESIAR.
Where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years, our plan is to continually grow our distribution and bottom line each year. As broad as that may seem, our focus is to get better – if we accomplish that goal every day – opportunities will come that we couldn't have imagined. Again, consistency is key.
What are some future trends that you see in the industry?
I see individuality becoming a trend. Consumers are not just buying all the same labels as they used to – designers have to be more eclectic and offer a wider selection of products. The younger the buyer, the more individuality matters, it's the culture we are currently in.
What tips do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners?
Dream. Believe. Do. Repeat – If you have a dream, believe in that dream, once you've believed – do it and once you've done it (success or failure); repeat it. I believe those four words and encouragement can be used in your personal or professional life.
What is your background and how has that helped your business?
I have been exposed to different cultures and ever since I can remember, have been creative. The biggest attribute of my background would be my grandparents and parents. My family’s history is built on the foundation of working hard and never giving up. As I write this interview, my mother just completed her Doctorate while in her 60's. (I hope she doesn't kill me for that!) Being surrounded by them, I have learned that a vision with hard work, equals success.
What are “style legends” and how does your eyewear cater to them?
A “Style Legend” is an individual. We all have the potential to be style legends. Our product isn't for everyone, but it is for those who believe that when they walk out of their house, they are different. Fashion is art and every day we get a new canvas. If you break the two words down – “Style” which can be individualized and “Legend” which is something that lasts forever can be summarized as “Individuality Forever”.
What advice would you give to aspiring minority entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself when no one else does. Do more than you think you need to and never give up. As many times as you fail, struggle or don't think you can, take the next step forward. Lastly, at every opportunity, listen and guide others along their journey. Share your story with the world; you never know the impact it may have on someone’s life.