CCU student inspired by other students to create clothing line and brand
by Josh Kisner
1so Brand is more than a clothing line; it is a movement that many students of Teal Nation stand behind.
Desmond Brown, chief executive officer and founder of 1so Brand, is a Carolina native, born and raised in Charlotte, N.C. Brown is a current CCU student set to gradate as an interdisciplinary studies major in 2020. He is heavily involved in campus life as a member of the Coastal Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), African American Initiative for Males (AAIM), and SNAP mentoring.
Before coming to CCU, Brown faced a great deal of hardships in his personal life. Coming out of high school, he struggled to find a school that was the right fit for his goals. First, he attended Ashbury University to play basketball and later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University. After deciding neither of those schools were suitable for him, he decided to attend Central Piedmont Community College, still unsure of what his future held.
“After finishing with a 1.8 GPA during this time, I was sure I wouldn’t get into any school,” said Brown. “However, after my stepmother encouraged me to take a leap of faith, I applied to Coastal and they gave me a second chance.”
Brown did not begin his journey at CCU with the idea of wanting to create a clothing brand. Instead, he had a vision to create a movement that supported the values he believes in, which led to the creation of the 1so Brand.
“‘1so’ is an abbreviation for ‘isolation,’” said Brown. “My main objective was to find something that could represent what 1so advocates for. I figured T-shirts would be the most reasonable so people could physically see it and find ways to support the brand.”
1so Brand sells a number of different things, including clothing with unique designs on items like short-sleeve shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, hats, swimsuits, backpacks, phone cases, and posters.
According to the mission statement of “1solation,” the main objective of this brand is to encourage elevation of individual purpose and success. Brown came up with the idea of 1solation while on campus as he continued to see college students pursue their dreams every day. He admires how students in different majors work hard to earn a degree so they can continue to chase their dreams.
“I want to use my platform to encourage not only students but anyone to push through those obstacles and reach their goals. We all have the ability to be great in our own unique way,” said Brown.
Brown’s inspiration to pursue business comes from his father, Desmond Brown Sr. While Brown was growing up, his father owned a few businesses, including food trucks, catering, and social consulting. He said the thing he admires most about his father is his ability to stay consistent.
“He preached to me the importance of working for myself and having my own business once it was my time,” said Brown, “He showed me the steps and the right way to go about things once I had my idea set in stone. Luckily, things worked out in my favor and I’m more than thankful to have him in my corner through it all.”
1so Brand was founded on the traditional values of a business model, something Brown is very proud of. These business values are based on the quote “encouraging the elevation of individual purpose and success.” He says 1so Brand prioritizes discipline, productivity, ownership, and efficiency. His brand aims to motivate and inspire people to put their best foot forward in everything they do.
“Through the classroom experience, through other activities in which students interact with one another, and with faculty and staff, we expect students to be successful,” said Debbie Conner, vice president for student affairs. “Desmond has energy and hunger like so many of our students. It is exciting to see he has been able to merge his passions so quickly and find success.”
Brown has two members on his design team who graduated from CCU. They are graphic design majors Jeannette Pryor ’19 and Andrew Dunlap ’19. They met at CCU and continue to be friends in and outside of their work.
“They are diligent, detailed, and very easy to work with due to us having a relationship outside of business,” said Brown. “I am more than blessed to have them as a part of my team.”
CCU has had a major impact on Brown’s business since its inception. When he brought this idea to life, around 95 percent of his sales came from CCU students.
“It’s still crazy to go to class and see someone wearing one of my shirts or pieces with my logo on it. CCU has also given me the ability to network with many different organizations and brands outside of my own,” said Brown.
Brown started this company in the beginning of 2019. In the future, Brown wants to expand his brand onto other college campuses in the region, and eventually create physical storefronts in major cities like Atlanta, New York, and Charlotte.
“I think the sky is the limit,” said Conner. “I am hopeful he can befriend an I.T. student who could help him develop an app to go along with his line of clothing.”
Visit www.1sobrand.com to view the online store for 1so Brand products.
1so Brand Instagram: @1sobrand