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"He who is next in line for the throne," is the definition of Negash. Negash Apparel & Footwear was created in 2007 in Detroit, MI. Inspired by the arts and life of Egyptian culture, the ancient ancestral royal blood that still runs through the veins of those with African ancestry and the city of Detroit, Negash Apparel & Footwear takes heavy influence from Egyptian symbols, Pharaohs, Gods, and Goddesses. The logo, the Deshret crown, was worn by the Pharoahs ruling over Lower Egypt. The company inspires their customers to know their history and to know that they are royalty.
A common theme amongst many successful entrepreneurs is that many of them ventured into entrepreneurship after they were fired, terminated or after quitting their job. Rocklin Hotep Negash, before he founded Negash Apparel & Footwear was selling and reselling shoes on his EBAY page. As Negash explains it, "I was a shoe guy. I loved shoes." He was selling and reselling brands like Nike, Prada and Jordans when he lost his job working for DTE Energy in Detroit.
After selling and reselling major brands, Negash made a life changing decision to start his own brand of footwear and apparel. "I knew that I wanted to start my own brand. Before I started my own brand, I went to school to get my Associate of Arts Degree." It was after that point that Negash boarded a flight to China to meet with a company to manufacture his first line of footwear and apparel.
"My first couple of pairs did not go well. People were not ready for my designs. People were not aware or WOKE at that time. People did not like the name and they did not understand the style," said Negash. "I just kept pushing. In my mind, I knew that the brand would sell."
Negash is a testament to persistence, hard work and determination. Two years after starting his own brand and line of footwear, his revenue was low and he did not have many sales. In 2012, he had a $20,000 purchase order with a Chinese company that he took a loss on because it was affected by the Earthquake. Subsequently, he went two years without selling any of his shoes.
"I went to parties, I started giving out my T-Shirts and people started asking about my shoes," said Negash. After some time, Negash saved enough money for a purchase order and he found another manufacturer to make his shoes. The Chinese owners of that manufacturing company flew from China to Detroit to meet with Negash. After the meeting, Negash struck a deal in which they would manufacture his brand and he would also become part owner of the company.
"In 2014, I saw a change and an increase in sales. I never stopped promoting the brand," acclaimed Negash. In 2014, Negash Apparel & Footwear saw its revenue increase to $80,000. From 2014 to 2015, their revenue more than doubled to $180,000. As of 2016, the company's revenue has reached $450,000 with projected revenue over $1,000,000 for 2017.
Negash Apparel & Footwear's most popular shoe for several years has been its Hotep Shoe priced at $175. Negash created a new design called Amun Ra, which stands for "Egyptian Sun God" priced at $199 that is now the company's most popular shoe. Negash said their apparel is "doing great". Their most popular piece of apparel is the King Tut T-shirt ($80) for Crew Neck and ($50) for T-Shirt. Negash affirmed that he wants his customers to know that, "I work for them. I work for the people."
Negash Apparel & Footwear currently employs four full-time employees. Negash said that he looks up to Daymond John of FUBU. "There are a lot of abandoned buildings in Detroit. I want to start manufacturing my shoes in Detroit and employ people from my community," noted Negash.
USBC Directory is the Largest African American Business Directory in the World. USBC Directory is an online and mobile application platform that gives users access to Black-owned businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean Islands and in Africa.