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Meet Monique Autumn Carter of Canji

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monique Autumn Carter.

Monique Autumn, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started as a 16-year-old sophomore in high school with a goal- to start my clothing line. From there, I put in the work towards building the foundation, creating the designs and the website, learning from manufacturers, etc. When the world was affected by COVID-19 and everything slowed down, with the help of my family, I was able to put more time into my brand and officially drop in April 2020. From then on, I’ve been solely running the business and doing everything from sketching designs to shooting and editing projects.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Entrepreneurship hasn’t been smooth, and I would question anyone that says it is. Initially, I encountered issues like not feeling confident enough in my work and prices, not receiving “enough” support, and feeling like I wasn’t making enough profit to name a few.

Now, I understand that adversities and entrepreneurship are a package deal. And as I continue to grow and progress in the work and field I love, they’ll get bigger and challenging. I’ve learned to embrace them and their lessons as much as I can.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Canji’s overall goal is to inspire change in ourselves and our communities, whether they be small or big. Through my love for streetwear, I’m able to convey and provoke questions as simple as ‘What is change?’ and ‘How do you create change in your world?’ in designs I think are dope. I feel like we must use our influence and position to stand for something, rather than spread nothing, and I think that sets me apart from a lot of brands- because they’re just in it for the status, which is not a problem, just not my forte. I also try to appeal to the general audience like myself, young adults hustling to get by and I think a lot of individuals can resonate with that- because in New York that’s how it is for us. I don’t try to convey something through my marketing that people can’t relate to, and I’m proud of that for real. That’s why my slogan is ‘for the hustlers’.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Something that may come as surprising to people is that I’m very reserved. I wouldn’t call myself shy, because as an entrepreneur being shy won’t get you anywhere. But I am very to myself and those close to me, despite my very welcoming and bubbly personality.

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Image Credits
Kesly Young Monique Autumn Carter Monique Autumn Carter Jasiah Powers Zion Lewis

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