Today we’d like to introduce you to Quantrell Hoover.
Quantrell, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN with my mom and four siblings (brothers). My mother was mostly a single parent and worked very hard to provide for her five boys, I was the middle child. Fast forward to middle school, I already knew what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to be an architect because I’ve experienced homelessness three times in my lifetime. once with my father and twice with my mother. Embarrassing as it felt for me, I fought endless battles of despair while feeling unsure of myself because of my living situation(s). At the time, I dreamed of becoming an architect to aid in addressing homelessness.
However, I started taking drawing more seriously in the 7th grade and realized my true potential to study character design. I was really interested in Japanese artwork at the time, so I started watching anime. Naruto was the first anime show I’ve watched, and it taught me many lessons throughout life. I’ve felt the loneliness of the main character when no one helped my family when we were at our all-time low. I had no one to talk to, no one to go to. The feelings I’ve shared with the main character of Naruto were one and the same. My drawings were my friends and a coping mechanism to relieve stress, anxiety, and any other pent-up feelings I had bottled up! A family mentor by the name of Shirley Kloster is held dearly in my heart! She was a grandmother to my brother(Derendo) and me. She taught us everything we needed to know and treated us like her own children! I guess I did have someone after all! Sadly, she passed away recently, but her memories and love will forever be with us! Thank you, Shirley, for loving and caring for my family.
In high school, I made friends who shared the same interests as me. We loved anime and video games. Often times we would come up with character designs to make an anime show in the future. Around my junior year, I started becoming more interested in graphic design. I still wanted to have my own anime series, but I LOVED designing/illustrations. Bringing ideas and/or dreams into reality was an amazing experience! Almost like an adrenaline rush! Designing logos is my favorite and is now my main specialty when it comes to graphic design. Throughout my high school years, I’ve maintained being different, most of it was due to not having money for new clothes, shoes, or technology, but it was also my identity. I never followed trends and always wanted to be different, be unique!
That’s when I had the perfect idea of having my own clothing brand business. I wanted to make my own clothes (since I had the same four pairs of pants for three years) and start my own trends! I was called a “nerd” my whole life, mainly because I wear glasses, so I named my clothing brand Nerdy Ink Apparel. I created Nerdy Ink Apparel by focusing on being an unbiased person who wanted a community where people can be themselves with no judgment. A brand that’s originated from what felt like an impossible dream, I truly believe my brand is for everyone! Many may ask, What makes us different from other clothing brands? One word, “relatable”. Anyone can relate to our brand based on my theory that everyone can be a “Nerd”. I believe that through fashion anyone can embrace their inner nerd!
All of this was only an idea, a thought as a teenager, but was never put into motion until I met someone special. Her name is Adelene Bertha! She supported my dreams and told me to pursue them with no regrets! From that moment on, that’s exactly what I did! I thank her for all she has done for me and for helping me bring Nerdy Ink Apparel come to reality! A dream that was drifting away as I was getting older is now a dream that I’m living!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road! I’ve been through homelessness many times and jobs that made it difficult to live comfortably in the city of LA. Even having the correct tools and resources that we have today was not available 10+ years ago. The pandemic also made it difficult to grow my business due to the lack of funds.
I believe you will always go through difficult obstacles and challenges when trying to achieve your goal but one must look forward with the hope that hard work will manifest solutions.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a graphic designer that specializes in logo designs. Besides my own clothing designs, I am most proud of working with Social Model Recovery Systems prevention program and Skid Row Community Refresh Spot in creating the logo design for the Refresh Spot in Central City East (Skid Row, which provides free showers, laundry, and restroom facilities for the unsheltered community in Downtown Los Angeles. This is significant for me because I was able to be a part of giving back to a community that holds a special place in my past.
I think what sets me apart from others is my personal story is my own and it motivates me to give my 100% in every opportunity that allows me to reach my fullest potential.
Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
A childhood memory that still sticks with me today is when I was a child waking up at my family’s mentor Shirley Kloster’s house and having a memorial morning. Shirley was not family through blood, but she was family where it counted. Every morning as a child she would make a big breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, pan-fried ham, bacon, and malt-o-meal. I remember feeling a wave of happiness and nostalgia as I recall the walk I took with her afterward (along with my little brother) and explained the different birds and plants along the way. She would ask about what I wanted to do for my future. I remember stating I wanted to be an architect and her encouragement for me to believe in myself still lifts me up today. She was another grandmother that I did not ask for but one I will always be thankful to have had.
- Shirts range from $30 to 35
- Hoodies range from $60 to 75
- Poster range from $50 to 120
- Headwear range from $20 to 30
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: nerdyinkapparel.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nerdy.ink
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nerdyinkapp