Today we’d like to introduce you to Jhamana Creer.
Jhamana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My story started long before I knew what it would grow into. My story started when I was a young girl trying to over-scream my parents as they fought in the living room while holding onto my sister to comfort her. My story started with the fights I could not protect us from, and we saw with our eyes.
My story started when my aunties came to pick up my and my siblings because our parents were physically fighting… again. My story started on Budlong and Vernon when I went into foster care before ten years old from a house on THAT corner. I’ll never forget when the officers came and got us. By then I had sooo much pain bottled up, and that’s when I began to write. I began to tell the story that grew into my positive lifestyle brand, Keep it Vertical.
The foundation of Keep it Vertical is a self-published poetry book entitled “D.C.F.S – Delicately Caring for Savages,” which was inspired by my humble beginning in the foster care system. D.C.F.S is also the acronym for the Department of Children and Family Services. “Delicately Caring for Savages” is a short collection of heartfelt poetry I wrote as a suicidal and depressed child in the foster system because I feel like poetry is a delicate way to express savage feelings. Delicately Caring for Savages used as a healing agent for those that struggle with depression and mental health issues.
From the pain and experience of all that I learned, seen and received during my troubled times as a kid, I created my positive lifestyle brand Keep it Vertical, which means “Keep your spirit lifted.” Keep it Vertical’s merchandise line revolves around the motto “Hear NO Evil, See NO Evil, Speak NO Evil.” Reminding people to do what I did in hard times. I kept my spirit lifted and if I can, you can too!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Building Keep it Vertical from the ground up has not been easy, but has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I started by brand with just hats two years ago, and now, I have my own store on Vermont and Imperial. Opening my own store was more of a struggle on the inside. I kept wondering if I was really capable of having my own store.
Despite my hesitation, I held on to my confidence and pushed forward anyway. Now, I have my own Closet (which is what I call my store “The Keep it Vertical Closet”). The Keep it Vertical Closet is full of Keep it Vertical items and merchandise other black-owned brands, like Jaded Cosmetics, Never Not Working Apparel, Earth’s Allure, Lape Body Scrubs, Women Blessing Women, Milk it Media, Love Loudd, HDIN.GEM & more. We are located at 11316 S Vermont Ave in Los Angeles, CA. It has not been easy, but it’s been fun, and that makes it easy!
The rewards from building a brand centered around creating and teaching happiness and empowerment, inspiring others, providing opportunities, and sharing my story has the perks of changing lives, that makes all the difficulties worth it. It makes the difficulties make sense. They say “never settle for the path of least resistance,” and I get it now, that path won’t help you grow. I’ve had many struggles, as I’ve never gone so deep into business before, I’ve never had so much responsibility, but I also have never felt more purposeful in my life.
Please tell us about Keep it Vertical.
Keep it Vertical is a positive lifestyle brand created with love and wisdom from all my life experiences. Through foster care, homelessness, divorce, and abuse I put my heart, soul, and love into inspiring others so that the pain I felt skips someone else. I believe that my Good Vibes only squad can help remind others to stay positive. Our merchandise includes but is not limited to men’s, women and children’s shirts, socks, tote bags, swim and activewear, coffee mugs and more!
Here at Keep it Vertical, we specialize in lifting the spirits of others through knowledge, fashion, and the creative arts. We use our Instagram (@KeepitVertical_) to post about events, job fairs, workshops, seminars, etc. that are in our neighborhood to empower and spread knowledge and awareness to the community. Our fashionable apparel consists of our Good Vibes only squad, Vintage Good Vibes Only squad, Know NO Evil design and our LIFTED ALL OVER print.
Every single one of our designs were created to inspire our customers, promote positivity and act as a subconscious reminder to keep your head up and your spirit lifted! Wrap yourself in good vibes by shopping with us at KEEPITVERTICAL.ORG. As a writer, I HAVE to have a blog. Keep it. Vertical also consists of a variety blog that covers topics from my past to relationships, we even have a few guest blog post for you to check out as well!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would change nothing if I had the chance, yet if I had to start over – let’s see. I would ask for help more. As a kid, I didn’t like group work, because I did not like the idea of trusting others with my grade. I wanted to do it all myself because then I KNEW it will be “right.”
As I grew up, I realized how much we all need each other. When I was ready for help, I didn’t know who to ask, so I just went to Google, which I don’t disagree with. Yet, there were people around me that were able to help me and because I didn’t know they were able to – I never even asked.
Now, I learned – ask anyway! They might know somebody, haha. I understand that “in a new town no one can expect you to know your way around.” It’s what I tell myself when I feel inadequate because I don’t know something.
No matter the new journey, whether is motherhood, business, relationship – you can’t expect yourself to have all the answers. Be patient with yourself and do NOT be afraid to ask questions.
- Delicately Caring for Savages – $10
- Classic Keep it Vertical Tee – $25
- Reversible Bathing Suit – $55
- Wake. Pray, Slay Mug – $15
- Keep it Vertical Kids Tee – $21.95
- Address: 11316 S Vermont Ave Ste 3 Los Angeles, CA
- Website: KeepitVertical.org
- Email: Keepyourspiritlifted@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keepitvertical_/
Tymeshia Randolph, @MilkitMedia