The founder, CEO, Designer and creative director of “Billy Boyce (BB)” is Shaun Akanbi.
Shaun Akanbi is a 23 years old law gradate fulfilling his dreams as a designer and a young entrepreneur.
BB is clothing filled with an interesting mix, purposely made to grasp attention, but most of all made to be a difference within this generation.
"Some say beauty is what you're born with not what you create...How naive?” a tagline derived from Mr Akanbi speaking of BB in one sentence.
Hello, how are you doing Shaun? Welcome to YHP
“Billy Boyce”, how did you come up with the title?
I named the brand after my father who I love so much, and “Billy” happens to be his name and Boyce being an alias.
Who inspired you to create such radical designs?
Am inspired by so many people and things so naming one specific body to summarise it all would be quite difficult. However, am mainly inspired by the creative minds of kids and youths and street culture, the punk era, vibrant colours, flamboyant buttons, patches, heightened fierce and diva like personalities, Futuristic creations and like most people, I love everything that sparkles. Hence, my idea of creating a new genre brand with the combination of street, glamour and excitement.
What’s your favourite style when it comes to clothing?
My personal style differs depending on the occasion; however you would often catch me looking a bit preppy and chic.
Do you have a favourite clothing brand?
I love Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Alexandra McQueen and All Saints.
When was your first entrepreneurial experience?
My first entrepreneurial experience was back in 2008 when i initially started the brand and sold my first few items. I made profit and had to decide if i should pocket the profits or re-invest into the business but i made the choice of re-investing it.
What do you feel are the basic skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur?
I would say the skills required are as follows: Hardworking, dedication, ability to invest in one’s self, ability to improvise, managerial skills, time management, self beliefs, determination to succeed, and willingness to learn to become a perfectionist.
Your presentation of BB clothing portrays a strong sense of colours, why is that so?
Billy Boyce being “A new generation brand for a new generation of people” means in this modern times, we all long to be 16 again and the best way to stay and feel young is to celebrate colours within our own unique styles.
Who do you aim to target as your audience?
Billy Boyce Clothing is aimed at an array of individuals from young novices to adventurous adults.
What are your aims and goals regarding Billy Boyce as the founder of it?
Our aim is to create a new genre of fashion within the hearts of London and re-invent ourselves as the new Joe Bloggs that everybody wants to be a part of. We also aim to extend our product line from clothing to accessories, jewellery, colognes/fragrances, sunglasses, shoes and bags.
Has your business gone under any setback so far and how did you overcome it?
With production becoming very expensive, we have had to source our resources oversees. However, there were always minimum quantities of thousands which seemed impossible as a small brand. I overcame this by using the recession as an excuse to negotiate for bargain deals from suppliers and manufacturers hence making them lower their minimum quantities to cater for smaller businesses like myself.
Time is an important tool in this world of ours, especially in this generation. Does this business you venture in enable you with time for yourself, friends and family?
Truthfully, there isn’t enough time in the day to do many of things i hoped to do for the business yet alone for my personal life. However, the hyped blackberry device has made things a little easier. I try to make time for myself, friends and family either way and i respond to emails etc via my blackberry if urgently needed to do so.
Where do you see Billy Boyce going in the next five years?
In the next year we hope to expand into our various product line as mentioned earlier and also hope to create a kids collection. I also hope to be internationally acclaimed past Europe.
Do you have anyone you model yourself around?
Richard Branson, P. Diddy, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Philip Greene, Robert (Bob) Johnson and many others who were born without a silver spoon and went from rag to riches merely by working hard.
As a fashion designer, is there any necessity for one to obtain an educational degree?
It’s always best to know your trade and education is always going to be a vital developmental skill. There are so many things that cannot be self taught and you would always need education to fill in the blank spaces and unanswered questions.
Why didn’t you pursue further as to becoming a lawyer due to the facts that you have studied it....
I had always had a creative mind, dream and passion to become a fashion designer from a tender age but evolving from an African background, i knew it wasn’t a career my parents would be pleased with. Moreover, my parents brought me up telling me i would become a good lawyer due to my good debating and negotiating skills right from a tender age. I initially thought i was doing it for them but then realised how useful it had been just after i graduated. You could also say destiny played its part now but law will always be a part of me as its helped my negotiating and communication skills, my understanding of the rights of a consumer and how to work within the consumer and trade acts that protect them. It has also helped me in the formulation of policies and procedures under-which the company operates.
What's your advice for people who aim to be radical, different as yourself in the clothing line?
Be creative, innovative and draw your inspiration from your surroundings.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs out there?
Don’t give up and keep striving even when times are hard. There would always be a way even when there seems to be no way, just stop and think. If Richard Branson can, why can’t we?
Thank you for your time Shaun.
Interviewed & Edited By Honey Carew