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Inspiring Conversations with Antoine Taylor of The Cause International

Today we’d like to introduce you to Antoine Taylor.

Hi Antoine, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I went to Saint John’s University in Minnesota for football. My major was pre-med and I was a full-time athlete all four years.

I struggled in school with this major, but I chose pre-med because that’s what my mom wanted me to do. Even though my scholarship through football covered most of my costs, I didn’t have the funds to meet some of my needs like being able to fly myself home for Christmas break or seeing my family.

Within the first week, I sold socks 512 socks. I was hyped. At the time, I was a sophomore in college and I made my first $5,000 which to me was a lot! You couldn’t tell me nothing.

My mother was a single parent who did her best to give me anything I needed but circumstances of our finances made it hard for her to do so. This is when I started to come up with ways to make money because asking my mom for it wasn’t an option.

Making money through clothes has always been the idea but designing and printing was not how it started. I started by washing the clothes of my peers in college. I didn’t have time for a real job with school and my football schedule so coming up with something I could do whenever and that was located on campus was ideal for me. It was easy, no one in college feels like doing their laundry. Honestly, I’m not sure who actually enjoys doing laundry so I started to wash the clothes of my classmates and would charge extra if they wanted the clothes folded. After a while washing clothes became something, I hated. I got tired of washing other people’s dirty draws and more. I stopped to strategize about what to do next.

My first business success

My thoughts went like this: I wanted to sell clothes. I wanted to make something that wasn’t already sold at our campus store and would be cost-efficient for me. That’s when I came up with socks. Everyone needs socks and wears socks.

I found a guy who manufactured socks who sent me a sample with our design, “Johnnies” (self-proclaimed nickname) was the obvious choice for the first sock design. From there, I went dorm to dorm knocking on people’s doors to ask if they would like to buy a school sock. I honestly didn’t think I would do that well. Why would people buy socks from me when they could easily get it from a name brand? But I tried anyway.

Within the first week, I sold socks 512 socks. I was hyped. At the time, I was a sophomore in college and I made my first $5,000 which to me was a lot! You couldn’t tell me nothing.

After making this happen, I thought about what it was like to struggle growing up and even at that moment in life, I was struggling. My mom was struggling. My family was struggling but we always found a way through. My life wasn’t easy but I realized there were others who had it way worse.

There were others who didn’t always find a way through like we did. Coming from situations where I understood struggle, I wanted to find a way through my work to help those in similar situations. That’s when I decided I wanted to give back some of the money I made but I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I presented this idea to some of my friends.

Through them, I formed a team and we became The Cause International. They helped me plan and figure out what needed to be done to give back. Out of the first $5,000 I made from socks, we traveled to the South Side of Chicago (where our company President is from) and used $3,000 of it to retrofit a Boy’s and Girl’s Club.

Today:

I am CEO/ Founder of The Cause International, a black-owned apparel company that customizes apparel for high schools and colleges. We also sell streetwear apparel. A portion of our profits is donated to our non-profit sector to impact our communities on a domestic & international scale.

Domestically, we assist our student-athletes in high school with college preparation and help recruit themselves to continue their academic and athletic career onto the collegiate level.

Internationally, we give back by installing water filtration systems in third-world countries. Before the pandemic, we went to Kenya to install a water filtration system in a rural village of about 12,000 individuals who did not have running water.

We will be doing a world tour, in which we will be installing a water filtration system in every continent in the world except Antarctica.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The struggle that I’ve encountered is building the capacity needed to continue to build my business. Even with making money, I had to reinvest it and hire people as we kept growing. In order to expand, I had to bring on people into my team. The challenge I’ve had to overcome is things don’t happen overnight. It takes time, I have to stay dedicated and consistent in order to see growth.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about The Cause International?
We are really big on the community aspect. We give back not only with money but domestically and internationally we serve those who need a helping hand. We provide mentorship and leadership to our students to get into college. Internationally we are installing water filtration systems in third-world countries.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
They can reach out to us through Instagram or our website purchase apparel, volunteer in one of our events, or assist our students to get into college. This support will continue to help us get to the next level.

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