DEEJAY Konshens was a busy man on Friday. And it was not because he was making music.
He officially launched his Konz876 footwear and made time for customers at his West King's House Road office. Renee Reid was his first female patron.
While assisting her, Konshens had a flashback.
"I remember when I used to assist the females with their purchase while I was a staff at Place for Shoes in New Kingston. I used to give them sweet talk and get them to buy a pair or two and now here I am with my own shoes line," he said, adjusting the laces to Reid's pink and white sneakers.
Known for hit songs such as Winner, Gal A Bubble, and Do Sum'n, the artiste -- whose given name is Garfield Spence -- says he wants to make a mark outside of music.
"I have always believed in merchandising and we as artistes need to push and stretch our limit. I have a 'million' song but people want more," he said. "We can go the dancehall way and add a little controversy to it and tell the fans that we and another artiste is at war, or that I am involved with a particular girl, or we can think like a businessman and give them a product. This is an avenue of where we can give the world more of our culture and the market is there for it." His shoes — which are made from various material including patent leather and denim — has an average price tag of $10,000.
While he is tight-lipped about his business partners, the shoe designer and where the product is manufactured, Konshens says he and his team take pride in every production detail.
"We are extremely serious about our business," he said.
Konz876 currently has a staff of eight but already Konshens is thinking expansion. He hopes to establish a manufacturing plant in Jamaica.
He is not the first Jamaican artiste to enter the shoe business. The Marley family, Gregory Isaacs, Vybz Kartel, and Mavado preceded him.
The Bob Marley collection was the most high profile. It was heavily promoted in urban media in the United States but was eventually pulled from shelves due to poor sales.
Konshens would like to reach a diverse clientele, but says he and his partners are focusing on customers like Renee Reid.
"We are going to research the market and see what the females like by December, as ladies styles change more often than a male," he explained. "We realise that they like the male version of the footwear, so we are going to make smaller sizes to accommodate them."