Constantly inspired by the youth, this next kiddo is at the top of my list for ones to watch in 2017. Abdullah Prince Junior, who only turned 15 in November last year, has already set his eyes on success through his clothing brand ‘Joker Clothing’. Born in Sligo, Abdullah moved to Dublin in 2008 to attend Ballinteer Community School. He believes strongly in the power of self-education over formal education, beginning his business venture when he was just 13 years old, before releasing his first collection on July 4th 2015! If that’s not ambitious, we don’t know what is.
Image: David Gannon
Where did the idea for Joker Clothing come from?
It’s quite a strange story to be honest: I had been performing magic for around 3 years prior to starting ‘Joker’. I looked up to bigger magicians like ‘Jarek 1:20’ and ‘Dynamo’ and I saw that any well-known artist had their own merchandise. One day I became definite on my desire to become a magician. Of course, me being me, my ambitious self said, ‘If they can do it, I can too.’ That same day, I started designing my own merchandise. I designed four t-shirts with my magician stage name ‘DTMD’. While I was designing, I felt super inspired. I was in a state of bliss. I had finally found a method of expressing my emotions without speaking. I had full control over how my clothes could look; designing felt right for me.
Since that day, I’ve always enjoyed designing. The whole process of creating clothes that people want to wear is magical. From sketching it to digitising it, to sourcing the materials, to getting samples made, to wearing it. It’s all an enjoyable process in my eyes. I wouldn’t be releasing new clothes if I didn’t enjoy creating them.
What is your brand’s ethos?
Just be. You either do or you don’t. ‘Trying’ does not exist. If you want something, commit to it. Pick one path and stick to it until you either reach a dead end or a destination. ‘Want’ is in our words, ‘expectation’ is in our behaviour/habits. When you get to a level of focus on your goals so high that you don’t hear the outside noise of haters, critics and negative influences, (this may be family and friends) that’s when you will really feel that ‘Joker’ feeling. It’s a feeling of self-love and belief.
This time last year, I found myself replying, ‘I’m just doing me’, to anyone who tried to bring me down with them. That’s where the collection name came from. We have quite a broad ethos with one basic principle of allowing what happens to happen. We must live in the now and choose what will make us happy. Forced fails.
How did you finance the start of production? This must have been a challenge for you?
The very first production of seven samples for the first ever photoshoot was funded by me saving just over €200 from birthday money and Christmas money and whatever other money I could come up with. I still remember a solid four months where I didn’t spend a single cent. I was very disciplined because of my focus on the end goal. I then invested in samples to be produced by Camden Clothing.
What have you been up to lately? What’s new with Joker?
In the last ten months I’ve been working on my personal development and my habits. I wake up earlier now. I watch or listen to a lecture or a podcast on personal development and success or on the management of money or the growth of businesses. In always trying to learn from the 1%. Follow the leader, not the follower.
My favourite speaker of all time has to be Jim Rohn. After watching/listening to a lecture or podcast, I’ll read a chapter of a book on the same subject. I’m currently finishing ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill for the third time. This resets my mind straight for the day ahead. After this, I’ll Skype my business partners in the East and either work on something new or continue work on whatever the current project is. By 10am, I’m ready to start meetings for the day. Whatever happens, happens. When I feel like my productivity levels are dropping, I’ll drink some peppermint tea and continue. I’m spending a lot of my time with Chris Kabs in his music studio. The vibe with him and his music always stimulates my creative imagination. Whether I do any work in his studio or not, I always receive new ideas while being there. I value my time with Chris in the studio. He mentors me in my personal and business development. I’m always networking with new, amazing people all over the world.
As for ‘Joker’, there are many new collections, once-off pieces, collaborations and announcements on the way. The very next drop from us will be a collaboration with a creative, fashion designer and artist from Minnesota. I can’t reveal too much yet, although I will say we are releasing one jacket, one pair of socks and one bucket hat. All of the pieces will have very limited supply. I’m always working on new projects with myself and ‘Joker’.
Where is the line currently stocked?
The clothing is stocked in a store in Drogheda called ‘House of Maiya Creative Hub’, although I keep most of the stock with myself. Most of the purchases are through our website, so I always need stock on demand to ship.
How did you grow such a strong social following in such a short time?
I’ve always been interested in social media marketing. I’ve been researching and learning from everyone who’s willing to teach me and it seems to be working pretty well so far! Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform. I find it has the best conversion rate. It’s the most personal also, it has a nice personal touch to it.
What are your career goals? What’s on the bucket list?
I am and will always be an entrepreneur. I’m not interested in a job working for someone else. If I ever find myself in a financial situation, I can always work for myself online through freelance, social media marketing work. My current view is that I will never be hired by someone unless I choose my own payment (freelancing). I want to be working with only like-minded people.
I want to be in a position where I can inspire and motivate millions of people like the way Jim Rohn and Les Brown and Earl Nightingale can. I want to create a platform for young creatives to get exposure when they’re ready for it. I am currently writing success-orientated books for teenagers. I want be in the position to give the future children and teens with mindsets like mine the facilities and opportunities that I didn’t have.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2017?
2017 will be a very international year for ‘Joker’. We will start with the collaboration of Ireland and America. There will be a few limited edition collaborations this year. We will release at least two collections of our own this year. We will move to the level as a brand in many ways this year.