Two talk tees
JAMAR ODWIN and his business partner Daniel Nicholas are determined to take their company international.
To use the cliché, they are going places but first they will make their presence felt in Barbados, not only through their graphic design studio Azure Studio but with their three T-shirt lines – odBo!h, Animelove and D’Culture.
The business was officially registered in 2012, but Jamar told EASY magazine it started long before that while he was a student at Queen’s College (QC) and he was determined to make his passion for art work for him.
“Graphic design was part of my CAPE [Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination] course when I was at QC. Then I was asked to do T-shirts for the volleyball team. I was doing art and they asked me to design some shirts because I had already started doing my own little thing. After making shirts for the volleyball team, I got roped into making shirts for the school’s track team.
“When I started doing graphics I thought it was pretty cool. I had a problem where I could not keep any of my regular work clean (he said laughing) so if I was doing a painting I would have to splash it because paint got where it didn’t need to be. Then I fell in love with the graphic side and I spoke to my dad who said he knows a screen printer and that’s how the shirts started,” he recalled
It was at Barbados Community College (BCC) that he met Daniel (he was also doing graphic design) and eventually they decided to work together.
Daniel said: “[Jamar asked] if [I] wanted to partner up and we could work something out. I said it was no problem that we could try and see where it goes.
“This year is actually our best to date. The business has really taken off this year. We got a couple of new clients in January and in February, and things have been looking up for us. Our first client Varia is still there as she usually comes back to give us a new project to work on. All in all we’ve done pretty well over the period of where we’ve come from,” the 23-year-old entrepreneur said.
“We offer high-quality designs in the area of branding logos, T-shirts advertisements and any sort of graphic related stuff you can think of we’ll be able to work out something for you.”
The designer said his concepts are influenced by “the things I watch, do and any other media that inspire me.
“I often look for inspiration like on Instagram when I’m doing lettering and I come up with different font styles. I’m also into Japanese anime and that influences my design process a lot. Anything pop culture-related is where I get most of my stuff from,” he said.
Jamar said starting the business was not easy, and after he tried to get funding from one agency he was turned down but he went to another. When he joined with Daniel, however, it became easier.
“I was determined because it was always something I wanted to do, and after I realised I was at school and already looking for ways to make money, it was just what I loved to do,” he said.
The entrepreneur remembers the first shirt he did when he was 17 years old and said it combined his passion for T-shirts and graphic designs.
“When I was in fifth form the business was actually called Odwin Designs but it became Azure Studios after BCC. “Odd boy” was one of my nicknames when I was at school. My last name was kind of weird so I had a friend who would call me based on my last name and to me odd boy was the most creative of them all,” Jamar said.
With a bit of change of spelling “Odd boy” was turned into odBo!h to name one of the T-Shirt lines.
By the end of the year, Daniel hopes to have improved on his skills and Jamar is expecting odBo!h to be more of a household name, with products now branching out into hats, polo shirts, dresses and jackets.
“I want people to know there’s this company doing really cool shirts which are pretty much designed and printed in Barbados. What I’m looking to do is take our products to the next level. People say they are international standard right now but we want to carry them further in terms of packaging and look so that’s there’s no difference between a shirt that’s printed here and in the United States,” said the 22-year-old businessman. (Green Bananas Media)