ODU Junior DeMontaz Brown Launches Hats with a Message
In January 2016, ODU junior DeMontaz Brown launched his brand “My Melanin,” which offers a line of hats bearing the word “Melanin.” With his line of products, Brown focuses on delivering a culturally relevant message. His brand “My Melanin” has been a hot topic on campus and Twitter and continues to gain momentum.
It all began with his attendance at the University of Missouri’s protests against racial discrimination on campus. He grew irritated of people showing up to demonstrations just to snap photos and be seen.
“I made my brand so we can spread the movement every day,” Brown said. “If someone were to ask you where your hat came from, you can not only tell them where but also why and explain its meaning.”
The meaning can be found in Brown’s poem “My Melanin” on the brand’s website. He writes, “its the melanin in my skin that sets me apart.”
The frayed edges and distressed look of Brown’s hats not only add a cool element to the wearer’s outfit, but also represent “the wear and tear we all experience daily,” Brown says. The sleek, bold lettering attracts the eye and appeals to a wide range of consumers, an intentional move on Brown’s part to target a diverse market. The hats are for any and everybody because, according to Brown, we all have the ability to turn out trials into something powerful.
Brown began his entrepreneurship with common knowledge and utilized simple resources around him to propel his vision into reality. The Fredericksburg native says he didn’t want to make T-shirts but rather something different and new.
Brown says everything he does has meaning behind it. He describes creating his hats “like [crafting] an essay.” He started brainstorming, advanced to the rough draft and ultimately assembled a final product that resonates within society.
The CEO admitted he initially didn’t want to name his brand “My Melanin” because he didn’t want to be associated too closely with other brands bearing the same concept. Brown stuck with the name though and focuses on providing a strong message behind it.
Brown handles nearly every aspect of production from design to sales to physically distressing every hat individually. This process ensures no two hats are alike and results in a product made with love and passion.
The entrepreneur also writes in his poignant poem lines that embody the company’s mission statement.
“I carry the whips on their backs with the rips in my hats,” Brown writes. He says he always pays attention to detail and decided to put all his creative qualities to work in building his business.
Even more impressive than Brown’s artistic talent, is the rapid rate at which his brand’s success took off. Using only e-mail, Brown sold all his hats within ten minutes. Brown has restocked plenty since then and successfully sells out on a regular basis.
Humble and kind, Brown doesn’t concern himself with the money. He says his work is about the brand’s message, one Brown wants everyone to understand.
You can purchase a stunning and unique “My Melanin” hat at www.mymelanin.co. Brown’s hats are also sold at Rootz in MacArthur Center by the owner’s request. Brown says this partnership took him by surprise and stands as a testament to the strength and resonance of the hats and their message.