Wednesday, October 25, 2017

10/25/17 #WhatYouNeedWednesday (#JustReflecting article) Ft. Briana Synder' Charlie Lux Boutique

#JustReflecting with "King Bre"

Written By: Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR)

This past summer was eventful to say the least. Even though I had a lot to accomplish, I took some time to link up with an inspired individual who only seeks success, along with taking risks. Her most recent risk and achievement was launching her own boutique store “Charlie Lux Boutique” this year. Now let me introduce you to the brains behind the brand, Miss Briana Synder and oh yeah please don’t mind…..we’re just reflecting!

Bre: I came up with the idea to start Charlie Lux Boutique back in September/October. Trying to figure out where I was going to go with Marmoset Vodka, a liquor line that was started back in 2011. Not knowing how much capital you need to start a vodka line, or purchasing a liquor license, the distillery, etc....I decided to hold off on that idea while still fulfilling my entrepreneur ambition. I had so many other things in mind, but starting Charlie Lux was the most reasonable objective I could do right now. I had money saved up and said you know what, I'ma do it. I planned and organized. I realized who I wanted to market, found out how much I needed, figured out if I wanted a physical store or not. I then did some research and found out not having a physical store would cut off my overhead, and focus on selling specifically online.

A.C. the MaYoR: Were you always into fashion and do you remember your first outfit?

Bre: Yes, the thing is my style is very split. I’m either tomboyish, or girly girly. It’s kinda like the whole King Bre, Breezy, it’s totally specific. People that really know me, when they see me in heels they say I’m like day and night (lol). I’ll turn around and put on my favorite pair of One’s (Jordan's) and just rock out with a snapback (lol). The first time I wore a pair of heels, I was fifteen and I was like; I want to be like Beyonce (lol) you know. I absolutely love Aaliyah, and always looked up to and wanted to dress just like her, I even have an Aaliyah board on Pinterest because I just love her style. But you know Beyonce was the girly version of who was hot then. From those two, I started creating my own style.

A.C. the MaYoR: Is Charlie Lux Boutique a branch off someone else or your own line?

Bre: Charlie Lux Boutique is specifically my line. I do not make the clothing yet, but I want to in the future. I want to design specific pieces. Within my network I have connected with somebody that could do individual mockups for me, but I will have to find a factory to mass produce them. I will eventually have to visit LA, because here in Harrisburg the price for material and fabric is so much more expensive than in LA. Now I am granted access into showrooms in LA which took months.

A.C. the MaYoR: Can you explain the process of being granted access to showrooms?

Bre: I needed to have a business license, you must show certain invoices showing certain products are selling, I had to get my wholesalers certificate, vending license, anything that has do with retail. Then you have to meet with the LA showroom board for approval, and they grant you access to several manufacturer and distributor showrooms.

A.C. the MaYoR: And you completed that all in a several months?

Bre: Yeah and June first is when I opened up the store.

A.C. the MaYoR: Dope! I’ve noticed your IG handle is @KingBre….please break down what inspired you to go with such a nickname.

Bre: King Bre comes from what I dealt with, with the liquor line. When I turned twenty-one, I was in the downtown area, and Ciroc Peach was at its pinnacle. I went to at least four different bars trying to purchase Ciroc and they all told me, they don’t sell that type of Vodka.

A.C. the MaYoR: And what was their reasoning for not selling Ciroc…..I mean five years ago that was everywhere wasn’t it?

Bre: Well they told me that they don’t carry certain brands of alcohol because it’s an Urban drink….and that bothered me. So me being in mode (lol) I said to myself, I’m going to start my own liquor line and they won’t know who is behind it….I started googling and was so intrigued by the process. So fast forward how I came up with KingBre. I would go to the liquor control board, and the home brewer store, I began building relationships with certain people. That led to me asking questions, and soooo many times I was told that my vision wouldn’t work, due to it being a male dominated industry. There were three main reasons why people kept saying it wouldn’t work; one...because I was young, two…..because I was a female, and three….because I was a minority. And my response was how dare you! So one day I said this is my world and empire and I’m the King of this, and nobody will dictate what I will do with this.

A.C. the MaYoR: So what type of response do you receive from men when they find out you see yourself as a King?

Bre: Some men think it’s dope that I consider myself a King after they hear the story behind it. I didn’t do it to test the ego’s of men. It legit had to do with me being put down, and I wouldn’t say shamed, because I don’t let things get to me like that….but it showed me how narrow minded this world is.

A.C. the MaYoR: I definitely respect it, for the simple fact that women kinda have to force themselves to be equal to men at times, because let’s be honest, there are men who do anything in their means to make a woman feel uncomfortable, or less than. Corny!  Now me personally, I believe a King and Queen are equal, and when you put certain words in the atmosphere, certain meanings have the potential to change, but I get it.  So I say from one King to the next, and I quote the homie J.Cole “don’t give them too much you, don’t let them taint your soul”!

A.C. the MaYoR: So now that we cleared that up (lol) as explained you can switch up your style, one moment being a girly girl, and the next moment dressing like a tomboy….how do you appeal that with your brand, and incorporate that into today’s marketing, especially on social media?

Bre: Branding is very important and I am being strategic when it comes to me branding myself, especially on social media. Now that I am stepping more into the light, people are trying to figure out who is behind Charlie Lux. I am looking into what the layout, outfits and material I choose to post will be. I don’t want people to misconstrue WHO I AM, AND WHAT I STAND FOR! And even though I have two different styles, it is important to me that I pass on the same message. And that message is being an EMPOWERED WOMEN, but also inspire men too. And when a person visits my page, they can say ShE DIDN’T GIVE UP! As far as style goes, it’s not about me branding my style because there is a time and place for everything.

A.C. the MaYoR: Believe it or not but that’s apart of branding and you bring up a great point. Now that our youth are being exposed to so much, especially due to technology, many of them don’t have a clue which way to go when it comes to expressing themselves and the importance of protecting their character. And you are demonstrating that with the brand you are building.

Bre: I feel like it is very important that us as women demonstrate to young girls that people…..well America will say that you need to dress this way if you are a businesswoman. To me WHAT YOU WEAR ALL THE TIME WILL NOT CLASSIFY WHO YOU ARE. And when people underestimate me just because I’m not wearing something or look a certain way, that adds on to my drive. And I am glad that you brought up our young girls, because I want to start a mentoring group for young girls, and link up with other women who are on the same mission. I just want to help motivate our young girls, and tell them that they can do anything, no matter what their skin color is. I also want to explain to our youth that even though the support here is what it is…..there is enough opportunity out here for everyone to be successful. I live by the saying BE WHO YOU NEEDED WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER. I was raised by my dad, by himself. I didn’t grow up with that women’s perspective….so it is very important to me to be a positive spirit to young girls and lady’s.

A.C. the MaYoR: That message is very inspiring.  Now that we are on the topic of has your journey been connecting with mentors?

Bre: I met a dope mentor, Nina (Philly Cheesesteak Tour) who was the guest speaker at the Build Your Business Bootcamp held by the African American Chamber Of Commerce in 2016. She has helped me so much getting over my fear of public speaking….and she has invited me to speak at some of her functions. I was supposed to pitch my liquor business at that event and didn’t…..but don’t you know she knew who I was because certain people brought me up in conversation once that event was over. She has been a huge influence this past year as far as mentoring. My aunt is also a mentor to me. She has helped teach me how to handle myself in conversation with certain people in business. Other than that, it’s weird but celebrity wise, I watch how certain people conduct themselves. I like Mary Jane’s business character (lol) and also Charlie from Queen Sugar. And no Charlie Lux did not come from that show (lol).

A.C. the MaYoR: (Lol) I figured as much. But where did the name Charlie Lux come from?

Bri: (Lol) my friend gave me that nickname in highschool because I had bright red hair. And then I would use that name at times when I would go out as an alias (lol). And Lux was incorporated because I like luxury (lol). So Charlie is the girly girl, and King Bre is me (lol).

A.C. the MaYoR: It’s funny because after you just broke down all three names, they all are the same person, which is really dope. Now I remember during Snobfest, this year that Dimitra held for her business, Urban Snob being in business for 5 years, she wore one of your lay’s (an outfit) while celebrating her accomplishment….and the homie Cordell is constantly shouting you out….with that being said, how important is it for you to make an impact locally when it comes to Harrisburg’s culture, especially Harrisburg’s Urban culture?

Bre: I would love to see my clothing incorporated with other entities here. We have a huge industry here and I am glad you mentioned Dimitra….she has been so supportive and everyone who is affiliated with Urban Snob has been so supportive. We support each other which is so dope! And as far as the music scene here; it is important that we support each other.

A.C. the MaYoR: Well I normally end these conversations with the question….if you could give the world one ingredient of yourself what would it be, but you definitely covered that!

Bri: It would be positivity….be who you needed to be when you were younger!

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IG: iamkingbre



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