“…to keep on progressing in life and that is the whole ideal of Bot-Man.”- CJ Porter
- Tell us a little about yourself
“My name is CJ Porter and my hometown is Aurora, Colorado. I am a Human Development and Family Studies major. I would say my hobby is drawing. It’s a passion that I’ve been doing since middle school and I like to draw anything, but I prefer human figures.”
- What is the meaning behind the name of your brand ‘Bot-Man’?
“It means being able to move forward through and past hardships, to keep on progressing in life and that is the whole ideal of Bot-Man. The robot represents moving forward. I thought about what is always moving forward no matter what. Once I thought of that, I wanted to incorporate the idea of everyone being human and knowing that life is always moving forward. Growing up in Aurora, being around negativity and thinking about what I’ve personally been through, with my parents and other things, I decided to make my brand about moving forward through it.”
“I had a desire and went for it”-CJ Porter
- Who is your ideal customer?
“I would say college students around 18-22 years of age. People don’t always realize that being in college is a hard stage in life. You’re still learning and still trying to move forward. You’re trying to become an adult but sometimes you still want to take those steps back into being a kid again. Around this age, there is a lot of personal growth and life changes.”
- When did you become interested in fashion design?
“Last November (2016). It was something I was always interested in but never had a full passion for, but now it feels like a calling. It started with my brother because him and I are so competitive. He was showing me shirts he had designed, and I thought I could do better. After I did, I realized it was good and when I showed people on campus they asked ‘where can I get one?’ So I started my business.”
- Do you design all the merchandise you sell?
“Almost everything. The two shirts I am working on is being designed by my friend and another by a person I found online. For the most part I do my own designs. First, I think about ‘how hard would this be to put on a shirt or a hoodie?’ and then I think how well it would sell if I went around trying to sell it. I make a prototype shirt that I wear and ask people if they like it, what they think of it, and if they would buy it if they saw it in a store. From then I decided if I want to go forward and sell the shirt or just drop it.”
- How do you want to see your business develop?
“I want it to go further with a variety of clothing styles for people to wear and not limit them to two or three options. I would like to make more clothing suited for women. That has been a big focus since the name is Bot-Man, many people associate it with just menswear but I want it to be unisex.”
“Before this, I had no business background, so I do a lot of research and work on the legal aspects. If it’s something I’m not sure about then I’ll ask my mom. She has helped with a lot with the business side.”
How have you been balancing school with your business?
“I’m always on a tight schedule. I focus on the brand two days out of the week and the other days I focus on school work. I also juggle my job at UCHealth and being the Public Relations Chair for the campus organization, United Men of Color.”
- Who or what inspired your collection?
“My mom inspired me. She had to deal with a lot growing up and she is the strongest person I know and kept moving forward no matter what.”
- Do you have a favorite piece?
“I would say the “Peace, Love, Bot-Man” shirt because it took a lot of work being able to make the shirt and I own the design from the person who made it. It was the first step for me to become a real business owner.”
- Do you have any tips for students or young people who want to start a business?
“I would say once you have an idea just go with it. You never know if it is good or bad unless you try. See how it goes and have fun with it.”
- Is there anything else you would like us to know?
“When my brand starts to grow a lot bigger, I want to work with the Suicide Prevention Hotline, hospitals and charitable organizations. It relates to my major which focuses on helping people and not everyone has a person that will help them get through the hard times and fight to continue living. I would set it up in a way that a percent of the proceeds will go towards the organization. What ‘being big’ looks like to me is when I can go around campus and see a lot of people wearing my shirt. That’s when I know I’ve made an impact. I’ve already seen a couple people that I don’t know personally who have worn my shirts and I instantly get a huge smile on my face because then I know people are interested and want to see it continue to grow.”
- Where can customers find your merchandise?
Right now, my website is www.bot-man.net. You can also find it on my social media or order through me in person.
Photo Credit: Dominic Grey of Greyphotography and Khalil Perkins