Bonnick urges entrepreneurs to look onlineSunday, April 04, 2021
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
AS the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to hinder traditional face-to-face shopping, co-founder of the Flight To Freedom (FTF) clothing line, Kejon Bonnick is imploring other entrepreneurs to explore online options.
“Online shopping is the best thing an entrepreneur could resort to because of their ability to make their income flexible and not time bounded like a physical store with opening and closing hours. You shop online any time you feel. Also, entrepreneurs are able to scale their business worldwide. More people equals more money. It takes less of the entrepreneur's time because the website does the selling for them based on the aesthetics and how user-friendly it is. Customers don't have to leave their houses to get their merchandise, it'll be delivered to their addresses and many more advantages I could list,” he said.
The businessman, alongside his childhood friend Dushane White, officially launched the venture in 2015, after amassing enough capital from saving lunch money and contributions from their parents. They specialise in a variety of branded T-shirts and pullovers that attract a large foreign market. According to Bonnick, this can be attributed to the brand's authenticity and the incorporation of Jamaican elements into the designs.
“We do represent Brand Jamaica through this clothing line. We've added a new Jamaican-inspired pullover to our collection recently that's creating waves for us which is now our bestselling merchandise. I have customers in Florida, New Jersey, Texas, New York, Virginia, California, Alaska and more,” he said.
Bonnick, an alumnus of the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), where he studied electrical engineering, was always passionate about fashion and job creation. With FTF, he has been able to see his goals through.
“I love to help people, and I know this is one of the ways I could change lives by creating jobs for others which is a big part of my vision. I also knew from when I was young that I wanted to be my own boss doing something I really love so it wouldn't feel like a job, but more like fun. I loved fashion since I was a child because of the happy expressions I saw on people's faces whenever they got dressed up for a specific occasion and also how good they felt within themselves versus on a regular day. However, I grew up with friends who shared similar interests so in 2013 Dushane and I decided to start a clothing line…,” the 25-year-old explained.
Adding that the business' name was inspired by Alvin Thompson's book, Flight to Freedom: African Runaways and Maroons in the Americas, Bonnick noted that in the industry, sometimes less is more.
“Well, I mean, it's the energy behind my brand that separates it from others of its kind. It's like no other once you look at the simplicity and professionalism embedded in our logo itself. I really don't try hard with it because it has been working for itself based on how appealing people find, which I'm really grateful for,” he said.
According to Germany-based database company Statista, the global apparel market is projected to grow in value from US$1.5 trillion in 2020 to US$2.25 trillion in 2025 based on an increasing demand for this product.
Bonnick agrees that the fashion industry is lucrative.
“ I can tell you it is a very profitable venture if you put in continuous work. On average you'll make over a million per year or more depending on your work ethic and people skills,” said the businessman.
There are plans in the pipeline to open physical stores globally.
“My vision was to have an outlet into every main city worldwide providing people with great quality and good looking clothes that'll boost their self-confidence and make them feel special wearing Flight To Freedom clothing,” Bonnick added.
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