I dare you to change your mindset, change the way you think. You just might be the person God has picked to cure AIDS, cancer, or create world peace. Tap into your Greatness and Dare to be Different! ~Denzel McColley
TheBlackManCan is making its way back to the state of New Jersey to bring you another EXTRAordinary Black Men. We bring to you a Black Man that once he figured out that his own success was within him he maximized his potential. We proudly present Denzel McColley founder of Peculiar Knots. Denzel sits down with TheBlackManCan to discuss Peculiar Knots, his childhood, building a spiritual foundation and advice for young Black Males.
TheBlackManCan: Denzel, tell us how Camden, NJ helped make you who you are today?
DM: The city of Camden has influenced me in several ways. This city showed me toughness as well as how to think as an entrepreneur. Growing up around drug dealers that drove nice vehicles and wearing nice clothes, I was quite confused. I was taught that if you do bad things, bad things will happen but good things were happening to the drug dealers. I have a beautiful mother that always told me to stay away from drugs and alcohol. I’m glad to say I never sold or did drugs before. However I still wanted that “success” the drug dealers had. As a young child, I figured there has to be another way to get that success but also have my self-respect. I often went to the library in Camden, and did my research on successful people. I studied their path to success. I will never forget the city that I came from.
TheBlackManCan: You wear a dog tag everyday with the words “Camden, NJ is your past. What’s your future?” What does that mean to you? How does it serve as your motivation?
DM: My uncle gave this dog tag to me before he passed away. The day he gave it to me, he told me that I was better than my environment and that something great was in me, I just have to tap into it. Every time I look at the dog tag, I reflect on where I have been and where I’m currently trying to go. The dog tag serves as my motivation, because I’m still not at the level of success I want to be at. My family still lives in the city, so there is more work I have to do. The dog tag has also kept me humble and thankful for my blessings, because I know things could be worse.
TheBlackManCan: How has motivational speaker Eric Thomas had an impact on you?
DM: Words cannot express the impact his speeches have had on my life. I have a playlist on my iphone with majority of Mr. Thomas’s speeches; I listen to them when I’m going to sleep and when I’m driving. I used to listen to a lot of hip hop but I realized it was only putting negative thoughts into my mind. I switched over to motivational speeches and found Eric Thomas on YouTube. Since that day, I have read his book and listened to his weekly motivational speeches. I also had the chance to meet him in-person at Rowan University and we exchange numbers, I talk to him time-to-time.
TheBlackManCan: What ignited the spark for you to start Peculiar Knots?
DM: My friend and I were talking one day, and we were talking about bowties. We realize that we had an actual “gift” with making custom bowties. My friend asked, do you believe we can make this company into a successful one? My answer to him was “I think we have million dollar company here.” I did some research on bowties, found out that $850 million dollar of bowties was sold in 2012, so we knew there was a market out there. My friend did not go college so he asked me to handle the business side of it. We are looking to take our company global.
: It is extremely important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves because often what we see, is what we try to duplicate. ~Denzel McColley
TheBlackManCan: Why did you decided on the name Peculiar Knots?
DM: Peculiar knots expresses what our bowties represent. They are different! Majority of our bowties are not like normal bowties you would see in Macy’s or JCPenny’s. Especially in fashion, people like to be different, so we figure if they saw the name “Peculiar Knots”, that they will know that our bowties will be different than anything they ever saw before.
TheBlackManCan: There is a social responsibility side to Peculiar Knots. Can you tell us more about how you give back through Peculiar Knots?
DM: One of our slogans is “Changing the World One Bowtie at a Time”. I had the chance to meet with Mark Turner, CEO of WSFS Bank. WSFS bank is the number one bank in Delaware. We had coffee together one morning, he told me to be a successful entrepreneur you must be a servant to the world. What I took from that conversation was to always think of how I can better my community and the world from my projects. With the bowties, once a customer places an order and we asked them which charity would they would like their money to go too. We sponsor three charities at this time, Children Cancer Research, HIV Awareness and Animal Charities of America. Once our revenue increase to a certain amount we will set a scholarship funds for students from Camden, New Jersey that plan to go to college.
TheBlackManCan: What does it mean to be Well Dressed to you? How do we get more young men to embrace the idea of being well dressed?
DM: Being well-dressed, especially in the black community, is just wearing your pants at your waist and not sagging. A person can be well dressed with some jeans and nice shirt. It’s about how you carry yourself. When I was a child and all I had to wear some cheap jeans and shirts, I still took time to iron my clothes and wear belt. I did not have nice clothes at the time but I still wore my clothes as if I was wearing a tailor-made suit.
We can get young men to embrace the idea of being well-dressed by showing them that it is a sign of success. A lot of young people want to be rich and famous. When they look at television they are not watching CNN but instead watching other images such as music videos, that is giving a false representation of success. We have to show young men that being well dressed can indeed take you places. I truly believe first impression means everything.
The dog tag has also kept me humble and thankful for my blessings, because I know things could be worse. ~ Denzel McColley
TheBlackManCan: Why is it important to build a spiritual foundation? How has it helped you?
DM: It’s simple: “God 1st Everything After”. I grew up as a Christian, and every morning and every night when I pray I give thanks to God. God, and God alone is the only reason why I’m alive today. God’s grace and mercy has been poured into my life and I’m forever grateful for that. It is so important to have that spiritual foundation because without God, life is empty and unsatisfying. Once, I truly put God first in my life, doors were opening up for me that I didn’t know was there. I believe even the bowties are a vision from God. My favorite bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That verse speaks over my life!
TheBlackManCan: Where do you see yourself and Peculiar Knots in the next five years?
DM: In all honesty I see Peculiar Knots being a muti-million dollar company, selling bowties all over the world. Once we can get a good marketing plan in place, I know that the world will fall in love with our designs. I also see our bowties being worn by celebrities. Our bowties will be featured in Oprah’s Magazine and fashion magazines across the world. We are currently working on a bowtie for President Barack Obama. We just hope that we will be able to give to him in some way.
It is so important to have that spiritual foundation because without God, life is empty and unsatisfying. Once, I truly put God first in my life, doors were opening up for me that I didn’t know was there. ~ Denzel McColley
TheBlackManCan: Why is it important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves?
DM: It is extremely important for Black Men and Boys to see positive images of themselves because often what we see, is what we try to duplicate. Especially young black men, that watch basketball, they soon begin to have NBA dreams and shy from other opportunities. If young men were expose more to people like Farrah Gray, Jay Morrison, or even a Eric Thomas, then they will see a road with several opportunities.
TheBlackManCan: What words of advice do you have for young black men of today?
DM: With Travon Martin incident passing by, I think young black men need to know that it is time! It is time for us to stop being pushed around. We have gifts and we have talents, it is time for the world to see them. Just like with the bowties, find something you are good at, practice until you are a master at it. Once you become the master of something, the world is yours. Also to young black men, I DARE you to put down the music and basketball, and to pick up a book and read it from page one to the end. There are some of you out there with a gift that could potentially change the world, but you are scared to try it because it’s not the “cool thing”. I dare you to change your mindset, change the way you think. You just might be the person God has picked to cure AIDS, cancer, or create world peace. Tap into your Greatness and Dare to be Different!
Like Peculiar Knots on Facebook-> https://www.facebook.com/PeculiarKnots
Follow Peculiar Knots on Twitter-> https://twitter.com/PeculiarKnots