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Co-founders of Support Black Colleges share keys to entrepreneurial success

The Support Black Colleges team (L-R): Corey Arvinger, Avery Johnson, Tiara Arvinger and Justin Phillips. (Photo credit:  Tim Caver)

Support Black Colleges is a clothing brand that highlights the importance of historically Black colleges and universities. The brand features hoodies, T-shirts, baseball caps and more. Co-founded in 2012 by Howard students Corey Arvinger and Justin Phillips, its mission is to uplift, inspire and encourage people to support and attend HBCUs.

The brand quickly took off when it was donned in public by a number of celebrities, including Teyana Taylor, Eva Marcille and Chris Paul.

SBC is also a community-driven fashion brand, employing more than 250 college ambassadors and providing thousands of dollars in scholarships. The company recently raised $100,000 after the release of its “Support Black Lives” T-shirts and donated all proceeds to the Black Lives Matter organization.

Rolling out recently caught up with the co-founders to find out more about their entrepreneurial journey.

What is your day-to-day routine like at work?

Corey Arvinger: Typically, we get to the warehouse around 10 a.m. As the CEOs, we talk about the most important tasks that we have to do that day. Once we’ve decided that, we relay the messages down to our team and start working from there. No day is the same. So much happens every day that didn’t happen the day before.

What inspires you to show up at work every day?

CA: To be honest, it doesn’t feel like work at all. We work with our friends and family so it just feels like we are just hanging out while at the same time supporting our HBCUs. It is such a fun-loving environment where everyone supports each other. I wouldn’t trade my job for the world.

How did you determine your career path?

CA: I didn’t choose this career path. This career path chose me. Every time I felt like I wanted to do something else, we would have a business breakthrough. I feel like I was always meant to do this. God had a plan, and I’m just following it.

Describe the skills that will be essential to future entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators.

CA: A lot of times people try to give these deep elaborate answers on how to be successful. To us, it comes down to knowing yourself, knowing what you want to do, being passionate about what you do, and working hard even when no one is looking to reach your goals.

Name your favorite role models for success in two different industries.

Justin Phillips: Gary Vee, personal brand and digital marketing, and Grant Cardone, real estate.

Name three books that changed how you view life that you would recommend to others.

JP: No Excuses by Brian Tracy, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza

Why is lifelong learning important to you?

JP: I think it’s important to never think you’re the smartest person in the room because it actually makes you vulnerable rather than powerful when most people would actually think the opposite.