My first source of inspiration was hip-hop specifically Salt N' Pepa, a three woman rap group from Queens, NY, who put the world on notice. At the time hip-hop was all about fly accessories; and the bamboo earring stood out amongst the rest.
I thought of replacing the Olympic rings with Bamboo earrings in between doing Uber rides in Baltimore. After watching Sha'Carri Richardson bring attention to black female Olympic athletes around the world I felt compelled to create an icon or symbol to represent what I was witnessing.
Once I decided I'd replace the Olympic rings with the Bamboo earring I went through different iterations of the Olympic logo using different shapes of the large gold earrings, but ultimately I settled on the round bamboo earrings. The round bamboo earrings specifically had a flow and cohesiveness to them when viewing the logo.
The main logo I designed featured the words nails, hair and attitude, which was taken from a phrase said by a T.V announcer while watching Sha'Carri run and win a race. He used the words in a negative manner as he was juxtaposing her hair, nails, and attitude with her ability to run fast. This main logo was accompanied by two secondary logos that featured the phrases; "Who all gon be there?" and " Y'all not hot?!"; two comedic lines used within hip-hop culture and on social media. The variety of slogans gave t shirt options to supporters who don't identify with hair, nails and attitude. The majority of my male customer base purchased t shirts with no slogan or an alternate from the main slogan.
The very first and original Bamboo Tokyo design.
Alternate black t shirt design.
Examples of digital collateral I used to promote my Bamboo Tokyo products on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Versace shirts were the inspiration for these designs. An effective use of white space with the gold earrings set against it. I wanted everything to look gaudy, yet beautiful and chaotic.
The results of this extremely organic campaign were phenomenal. It has been my largest t shirt drop to date. I received 100+ t shirt and poster print orders combined. People wanted to wear the design or hang it up in their office. The initial design post received 40,000+ likes attracting everyone from Jhene Aiko to former and current female Olympic athletes. My phone was ringing off the hook with design inquiry's, people wanting to purchase the shirt and family calling to congratulate me. I received heartfelt messages from people about how the design affected them emotionally and made them feel seen. I knew I'd get a pretty big reaction, but this was unanticipated. I released corresponding graphics further promoting the shirts and other small items I was selling in conjunction with the Tokyo 2020 campaign.
It took close to 60days to process all of the orders. I was a one man army supervising and pushing everything through the drop shipping site I use, printful.com. This was an overwhelming, but exciting experience. Along with positives there were some negatives; I realized how unprepared I was for such a large response. I had nothing properly set up beyond the basic functions of an online store, my customer service wasn't set up, I had my personal number attached to the receipt emails which allowed impatient customers to call me at anytime during my day.