We had the good fortune of connecting with SimplyJustJoe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi SimplyJustJoe, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I struggled to fit most cookie cutter jobs. I found that either my happiness was being stifled or my creativity was being mistreated. I wanted to create an environment that was conducive to my mental, emotional, and financial well being that would allow me to reach the world with a smile! My creativity provided the tools and starting my own business became my happiness’ platform.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been in the art field. Drawing, Dancing, Singing, Writing Poems, any way that I could express myself was fair game. After an unsuccessful attempt at higher education, I went back home with my tale tucked between my legs to regroup. I followed one of my best friends footsteps, studied and acquired a degree in graphic design, and went back out into the world. I think that my struggle to acquire my second degree was the catalyst to my codependency with creativity. I was homeless and working as a choreographer on weekends with no financial assistance. I would fly to Atlanta, work with artists, and then take a red eye back to St. Louis and go straight to school. In spite of that adversity, I remember how happy I was. Being able to create on multiple platforms. That degree took me to Atlanta as well. I worked for a major fashion warehouse and soon found another interest and creative outlet. I moved to Baton Rouge, got a job at a fabric store, and learned everything I could from the sewers and designers that came in.
Within the year, I had put out my first full line! I would soon start sewing for the entire city, but in my success came a grey cloud of unhappiness. I realized that my talent and gift had become the property of my clients and was no longer mine. After the third flood in Baton rouge, and loosing everything, I moved to Dallas and began taking back my craft.
My most exciting and proud moment was the launch of my brand HAUTChocolate.com. This fashion line was made for me by me. I managed to merge everything I love into a visual aesthetic. The process to where I am today had way more downs than ups. But it had way more smiles than frowns. My professional journey has taught me that success has no end and no map; however, I think the biggest lesson was that my craft is mine to share and mine to own. In a world that tells you how to be who you are, owning your gift authentically means catering to your happiness and then sharing that happiness with the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ok so on the menu for the week is Velvet Taco, Sprinkles, Crumbl Cookies, Emporium Pies, and definitely some Boa Buns from Char’d on Cityline. We’d Go skating In Arlington, take a walk in Deep Ellum, and definitely play some pingpong in Klyde Warren Park after we do a Food Truck Hop. We’d end by seeing one of my favorite Local Artist, Hashtag Mandi, perform at The Freeman while eating Boudin Balls and drinking!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My college “Nickis” Keesha Davis & Reisha Neely for being my stability. And my Zoom Family for being my cheerleaders. They help restore my hope in everything. I would also Like to thank my parents, the joy in their faces when I jump head first into something new gives me the confidence to be resilient in the face of adversity. Khud, you are always there when I need you; teaching me listening to me, encouraging me. From our first conversation in college to know, your state of mind and point of view has been solid. Lastly to all my earth angels (far too many to name) I see your light, and I am thankful bc that light has lit a path to success.
Instagram: @simplyjustjoe @schollartheartist @haut.chocolat
Youtube: Schollar The Artist