In a time and space where creatives are flourishing and are not afraid to be who they are, BeYond BeauTi was excited to connect with creative genius, Adrianne France of “For Deh Kulcha” who displays her artistry through her designs.
BB: Give our readers a brief history of the brand and how it came about.
FDK: For Deh Kulcha was created from a Virgin Islands Facebook argument/thread on how Culture is spelt in our dialect. I took the thread a little further and created a shirt design that displayed what I thought represented “KULCHA” here in the BVI. K displayed the BVI flag, U displayed a cock fight, L displayed a speed boat, C displayed a stunt rider, H displayed gold jewelry, and A displayed our very own Killa Tooma. I honestly never thought it would even become something big, just a few facebook likes and shares, until I posted it and really had to find money to print actual “all over print” shirts. I didn’t know a thing about t-shirt printing or where to go, but I didn’t want to disappoint the people who I told “Yeah man, the shirts them shipping all now”. el oh el. Here I am now.
BB: The name, where did it come from? what does it mean to you and what would you like for each client to feel/reflect on when they wear your product?
FDK: As I stated earlier, the name “Kulcha” was created from an online thread where people were giving their take on how culture would be spelt if done the way we speak. Each product was created with the Virgin Islands lifestyle in mind; the sentimental things that separate us from other Caribbean countries. However, since my brand started to appeal to others living outside the BVI, I started leaning towards a symbol that represents us all; the palm tree. When people wear my products I want them to display our paradise and also show others on the outside looking in that there is a brand that captures the essence of being “Caribbean”. I want them to have pride in what the palm tree represents, which is victory, triumph, peace and eternal life.
BB: Who are the masterminds behind the brand?
FDK: It’s just me, believe it or not. I design all my products, source reputable manufacturers to bring it to life, and shoot and edit the majority of my content on my iPhone (but I also love hiring a local photographer/videographer here and there to create some magic). I designed and run my own website, handle all my accounting, and create all my marketing strategies. The only job I love giving to someone else is the creation of advertisement posters etc. Tamiyah George is a GOAT when it comes to that aspect and her work adds value to my brand.
BB: Are you an artist or a designer?
FDK: I would consider myself both as the work doesn’t stop at designing the product. The artistry comes in being able to have your product tell a story. It becomes a full production or theatrical show when I introduce a new product to my audience. I want to give them an inspirational show. Even though they might not buy the product they are granted the chance to see my brand tell a story.
BB: Share some of the product offerings of the brand?
FDK: My brand carries a wide variety of shirts for adults and children, beach sets for men and women, swimsuits, slides, sneakers, bucket hats, belts, backpacks, towels, and home decor. My latest release was a backpack which is suitable for traveling, or school; my best product yet!
BB: What are your inspiration when creating a piece for your line?
FDK: My inspiration is the word paradise and its endless interpretations of its definition. I create pieces that can be seen as paradise.
BB: You never seem to amaze us, with your constant evolution and creativity. What keeps you pushing the envelope?
FDK: I would say the fear of settling and the question of “what if?” is what keeps me pushing. I could have stopped at just making t-shirts, but I have so many ideas and things that I want to do, and if there is a possibility that it can be made I will push to have it done. “What ifs” only leave you with day dreams of “what could have been”. Why day dream when you can try and see where it gets you?
BB: Share with our readers your brand evolution and your vision for continuing to grow your brand.
FDK: For Deh Kulcha started out as a T-shirt brand displaying distinctive elements about the Virgin Islands Culture, during its growth I realized that there are other products I can display my brand through so I started adding other items to my catalog. Further along in its growth I started receiving customers outside the BVI and knew that I had to start creating pieces that would appeal to a wider audience, so I started incorporating the palm tree more. I have now come to the realization that the palm tree has the potential to be my brand’s universal symbol. The growth for me was realizing that not everyone would get “Kulcha”, but everyone understood the palm tree! Even though “Kulcha” is where I started out and my local customers understand the play on words, I still have an opportunity to associate my brand with something universally known. Versace could have stopped at just being Versace, but the medusa symbol created an opportunity to appeal to more people.
BB: What does your brand say about the person you are?
FDK: Fun, youthful, energetic. Disregard that I just turned 30 and occasionally say “ah boi” when I go to sit down. I believe in living, not just being alive. When you look at my products you can actually see me, even in my prices and promotions because I’m Miss Boujee on a budget. Those who know me know that I’m free spirited, always dreaming and planning an experience. My brand is a reflection of such; an experience.
BB: What’s new to your product line for 2023?
FDK: I have plans of adding one more piece to my travel set which started out with my backpacks. This is a major play for me and I’m excited to see it come to fulfilment.
BB: Being from a small place, share some of the challenges you experience or foresee as you work in expanding your brand.
FDK: One of my biggest challenges is shipping, both in and out. Not being in a mainstream country and wanting to have your products go mainstream is difficult if the majority of your profits go to shipping or if shipping prices change potential customers’ mind before completing a purchase.
BB: Share some of your high points and some low points.
FDK: Well, I’ve had numerous shares of L’s. The biggest being the passing of someone dear to me in December. Three months after finally opening my own store front, I was then closed for the entire month of December. Despite the countless bad times my business has faced, and me personally, I have to remind myself very often that I’m not stagnant. I have completed big goals such as having a storefront, this is a major accomplishment for me; generating a stable revenue that allows me to pursue my dream of traveling the world; being in a position where I can give back, help and encourage others; successfully creating a new product line to add to my catalog; and just being able to reach new customers and have my products in a new city/country.
BB: Are your products made locally?
FDK: I wish they were. This would completely eliminate the thousands of dollars I spend on shipping per product. Unfortunately, besides designs that can be heat printed to t shirts, all of my other products such as slides, hats, bags and belts have to be made by wholesale manufacturing companies in china.
BB: Have you had the opportunity to participate in any trade shows either local or international? If yes, what was the experience like? If not, would you be interested in participating if the opportunity presents itself?
FDK:I have not had the opportunity to do so. Any opportunity that presents itself I do engage, but it has to be presented.
BB: As a Territory, what more can be done to aid persons like yourself and other creatives in gaining more exposure?
FDK: All I can say is, don’t wait for us to blow up to have your interest in us. Not specifically talking to the consumers because they are the only reason we are still in business. There is a whole other side to this business that is often neglected by persons who have the ability to make things better for us. The preference of having jewelry stores at the front line to represent the BVI because they can “afford” that spot will never sit right with me.
Give into that sleep jerking fantasies, dreams and ideas. These are the seeds of creativity that when planted could be the next big thing. It’s the feeling way down inside, our intuition, that we should act but far too often, we allow fear and doubt to cloud our mind and we ignore them. Sometimes we look for validation of our dreams from others, who often tell us “No”.
Adrianne continues to plant each seed and said “What’s next is simply moving more of my designs off my computer and into production. I have a big plan already in motion. Let’s just say it wouldn’t include just me. I am blessed to have the support and exposure that I have now, and someday I want to play it forward in a big way. God’s willing. And expect more palm trees!”
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Connect with For Deh Kulcha at www.fordehkulchaclothing.com
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Great things bloom when we give ourselves permission to plant each seed (ideas, dreams, fantasies) as they come. Write it down, map it out, try that new recipe, develop that app, draw that design, start that book…. Live and dream fearlessly! Let creativity live!
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