I want to start this one off by wishing Aikane Burnell a happy 30th birthday. Aikane is part owner of Stoopid Genius, with his Soon to be wife Passion Phillips, who’s also an exceptionally great event planner might I add.
Stoopid Genius is a lifestyle brand that represents all individuals who color outside the lines. You make your own cool
Let’s find out a little bit more about them, family, love, dedication, and the in’s and out’s of working with your spouse. So you and your fiancé work together how is that?
Photography by Aurelius Creates http://www.visualsbyaurelius.com
It’s easy…I honestly don’t call her my best friend for no reason. Her Ideas are dope….that makes me hyped to either come harder with another idea or build on hers. We share a passion for creativity and I think that’s what drives not only our relationship but our business.
It’s easier than any other job I have done. He gets me… if I can’t find the words to explain my vision, he always know how to bring it to life and vice versa. We both have different talents (him drawing me digital design) that when put together makes perfection.
What’s exactly is it you do?
For Stoopid Genius, my major contribution is sharing ideas and drawing the actual designs. She’s the pro at everything after lol, she’s taught me a lot in “graphic designs” within Adobe. I’m still getting used to it and I always ask a thousand questions. But those drawings dope though!!! I’m big on perfection and quality of our products, so I’m always searching for the right material to complement our designs as well, if we’re not satisfied we won’t expect our customer base to be.
In a creative industry there’s always bumping heads door ideas, so you guys ever disagree?
She understands that, if I think a design or a concept is “Cool” that means I’m not that thrilled about it, but if my response is “Dope” then I’m on board. I will say I can’t remember a time where we actually disagreed though….we are good at strategically mapping things out, we bounce ideas off each other a lot and no matter what we try to elevate each other’s idea. Oh, there was an instance where I wanted to contribute a design for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but even though the concept was dope, it wasn’t the best representation for what our Brand stands for.
I can take pride in saying that we haven’t had our first business disagreement. Anytime someone has an idea, we come to common ground on the concept. Then we have times when we both can contribute our own idea.
How hard is being full time parents and entrepreneurs?
Being a Full-time parent is exactly that, FULL TIME. With our business starting up around the same time she was pregnant and ready to pop, it was a gift and curse. I say gift because she was able to use her time away from work to help build a foundation for the brand. She really went hard, she’s the “go getter” and I’m pretty chill, you know too cool for my own good sometimes. After our son was born, it was hard to get a good rhythm or schedule, but we made it work and put out some pretty dope items.
Doing both full time is both very hard and very fulfilling. You adapt and learn how to take advantage of your kids nap times, when they are playing, and when they are put down for the night. Routine is key. Without it I don’t think we could be successful.
I have to ask, who’s the better basketball player?
Me, point blank period. I’m like the playground legend who never made it to the League, but she played College ball so in my head that holds a lot of weight. So technically, she’s got more to brag about to the kids when they grow up, but if you want a definite answer we can lace them up right now and see!
smirks at Aikane’s reply* Listen, I’m not saying I scored on him during our engagement photoshoot. I’m just saying we got a pic of what looks like me shooting a jumper over him (and yes it went in). but I’m going to sip this tea
I know you guys are at odd’s In sports who’s a fan of what team?
THEM: HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!
I think if we weren’t both Cowboys fans, we might not be together. No seriously, I get mad when watching them lose and she does too. For one…that means we are true fans because we are emotionally connected to them and for two….there would be so many fights in the house if I was a fan of another team, especially if it was a Winning team. As far a basketball ball goes, he is a LeBron James fan and she is a Dwyane Wade fan, but I think in general we’re both fans of the game. P.S.: We HATE redskin, dook, and laker fans J (Respect to Mamba though).
Do you consider yourself a power couple?
“Power Couple”?, I don’t really know the definition of a “Power Couple”, but when I relate that to a picture, It’ll probably be like a “Barack and Michelle” a “Jay-z and Beyoncé” do I dare say “Kanye and Kim” but that’s who I think of when I say “Power Couple”. The first thing I think about is money though and with that in mind, I don’t think we are a “Power Couple”. We don’t have all the money in the world, we don’t have the biggest house on the block, nor drive the fanciest cars. What I will say is we are a True Couple, a couple who fights, argues, cries (she do the crying) and learns together. But at the end of the day the love I have for this woman is endless and the fact that we have started a business from scratch, the fact that we are providing a pretty good life/lifestyle for our kids and at the same time able to enjoy our lives as one, I consider us a Couple others can be inspired by or want to emulate. Power Couple, NO, Dope Ass Couple, YES
Based off my interpretation of what a power couple is I would have to say yes we are. Power to me, is not about money. Power is in strength. My weaknesses are his strengths, and vice versa. We are equals, we both bring a lot to the table. Power is in happiness. We are genuinely happy, to the point that pure strangers love us and our bond having never met us. I truly believe you can look at our relationship and be inspired. To see real genuine people. Not famous, not rich, everyday people who make the most of life and are comfortable sharing their love and story with the world. Those are real #relationshipgoals. We can conquer the world together and no one and nothing can take away that mindset.
What advice would you give up and coming entrepreneurs?
The only advice I would have to someone who wanted to start a business is to be true to who you are and follow through with your vision. The most rewarding part is the process; I love to come up with an idea, put that idea on paper, get it to a computer and finally on a shirt. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to have your own creative idea embraced by others.
My advice for up and coming entrepreneurs and even those who are sitting at a desk on a job which you have no passion for, DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL. People are so afraid to fail that they won’t even take a chance. I have been there, and I don’t have any regrets. Your failings are learning tools. Take from it so when you bounce back you will be better than before. And one last thing… no one will tell you this but…there is nothing “original” anymore! Just put your own swag to it!
What’s goals have you guys set for yourselves?
The number one goal is to create a product that represent us, to put something on a t-shirt that the customer knows and is proud to say “Oh this…this is a Stoopid Genius shirt!” If we do that and we can do it consistently the revenue will speak for itself.
Any role models you guys have? Who Inspire you?
Role models as far as the clothing line industry, I don’t really have a particular role model. I just like fashion, I love to see different trends old and new. As far as who inspires me, my partner in crime inspires me, to see her go hard for the business, to have her come up with dope ideas…that’s inspiration, inspiration for me to be on the same level of grind and even try to come harder at times.
I don’t really have a fashion role model. But I will say if I had to pick a celeb to say inspires my own style it would have to be Teyana Taylor. She is the epitome of Me. Business role model would Beyonce (well her and her business crew). Her business savvy is FIERCE. Marketing and Impact on the industry it above anyone! Every time she come, it’s always better than before. First dropping an album with absolutely no promo. To the whole album in visuals on HBO, and made HBO free so everyone could watch it! That’s a BOSS.
What’s the best and worst part about working with your mate?
The worst is that it’s your mate, when it’s not a great vibe between us, shirts still have to get done. The best is the fact that she is somehow in my brain sometimes and knows exactly what I envision or think. When people say they are on the same page, we are truly on the same page about 99% of our designs
If you could buy or make your partner one gift to show your appreciation what would it be?
Whew, now I have to come up with the perfect answer, that’s a lot of pressure on me. To show her how much I appreciate her, I would pay for her to get certified at Event Planning. Sounds weird.not necessarily a material thing or the most romantic thing, but she was bred to be an Event Planner and I see how happy it makes her when something she put together is a success. Now imagine this, if she’s that happy, the person/person’s she doing the event for will be 10X as ecstatic.
Oh that’s an easy one. 2 tickets. AT&T Stadium. Cowboys vs. Redskins. Thanksgiving game.
5 years from now where do you guys see your empire?
2021, Stoopid Genius will be a brand that has taken over the state of North Carolina and spread throughout the United States. Small victories are what we expect. We want kids to want to rock our clothes on the first day of school, you know the outfit that you lay out on the bed because you know your classmates just aren’t ready. We would like to have an actual physical shop set up as well, expand from only online content.
I would like to thank Aikane & Passion for taking the time to be with me, I wish them nothing but the best. Good luck and invite me to the wedding.
Until next time, stay dope