Today we’d like to introduce you to Chidinma Azinge.
Chidinma, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The Groovy Crew started off as me deciding to sell a couple of t-shirts with the art from a piece I finished back in April of 2018. Many of my friends would tell me that my art would look good on clothes, specifically t-shirts.
One thing I always promised myself to do in life was to share my artwork with as many people as possible and inspire as many people as I can in one way or another, but I didn’t know exactly how to do that. That was until I made my first t-shirt and released it in July of 2018 under the former business name “Groovy Kids Co.”
Launching was very difficult, and getting my first sale took weeks, but the happiness I felt from that first sale was enough to keep me going. I began making more shirts, at the time I was selling iron-on designs for cheap and making all of my shirts by hand. I was a senior in high school at the time, and I remember the hours I would spend in my fashion class cutting out prints and ironing them onto t-shirts, tackling orders as they came. Eventually, I had hit 200 followers on Instagram and thought “Woah, this is more than I anticipated.” and I decided to get more serious with my work. I then changed my business name to “The Groovy Crew” and I feel like the changing of the business name was exactly what I needed.
Since then, I’ve gained new skills, acquired new resources, and learned new systems in order to make sure this business was functioning smoothly. Today, I have over 10,000 Instagram followers, I was able to hit 1000 orders this year. And yes, these numbers are super important to me. They’re important to me because it’s what keeps me going. To know that there are thousands of people who have supported my art in some shape or form, or thought it was cool enough to WEAR will always make me happy, always. There are multiple messages in my art, and many people will buy because of the message, other people will buy because a design looks cool. All the reasons people have for supporting my art are the reasons why I’m still doing this today.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been anything but smooth. If you asked me two years ago, before I started, if I would be running a business today, I would laugh at you and tell you no. But here I am.
The struggles date all the way back to the beginning, as my first shirt only sold about three units in the first month. And I thought, is something wrong? Looking back now, many things about that shirt were just in poor taste. It makes me laugh now, but at the time I wasn’t seeing any of that stuff.
My art isn’t my art without the color, and the shirt I had released was screen-printed because I thought that was the only way to print a shirt (it’s not). With screen printing, colors get expensive, and I only had so much money at the time. So I took all the colors out of my art to make the design affordable. After sales didn’t go well, I decided to try iron-ons instead since I could just use my printer and spend less money, but the design quality wasn’t going to look as nice. I tried a new design with color, and it sold about three times more than my first shirt in the first month. Since then, I’ve realized that color is the way to go, and I’ll never compromise the beauty of my art like that ever again.
I’ve long since moved on from iron-ons, once orders got too much for me to complete on my own, and now I work with companies to print my designs on apparel for me, without having to remove any of the colors and take away from my art.
The Groovy Crew – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Groovy Crew is based in Los Angeles, California, or Carson to be more specific. We specialize in apparel, accessories, prints, and stickers. All of which are printed with original work created by the artist, Chidinma Azinge.
We celebrate uniqueness, individuality, and diversity through the slogan “born to create and destroy.” It’s in our human nature to create and destroy. When we grow, we shed the versions of our old selves and create a new being. Destroy old clothes, create new pieces; destroy old projects, create greater ones. We were born to create and destroy. That’s how we find ourselves.
As a business, the feedback and responses we get are definitely something to be proud of. The amount of people who have told us that we inspired them in some way to accomplish something, or to start something of their own is overwhelming, in the absolute best way possible. Our goal is to reach as many people as we can through both the art and the message.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career has definitely been hitting 1000 orders this year because I remember my very first order, and to have come this far in two years is something I will always be proud of myself for. Knowing that over a thousand individuals have pieces by The Groovy Crew sitting in their closets, prints hanging on their walls, stickers on their laptops, and even original pieces hanging up in their homes, will always be surreal to me.
- Website: thegroovycrew.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/thegroovycrew
- Twitter: twitter.com/thegroovycrew
Photographer Credits: Mehreen Mahida, Roxana Sandoval, Jonathan Vergara-Phan