“I always knew I was an entrepreneur. On my 13th birthday, I threw a dollar party in my aunt’s basement. I made a “pause-tape” and flipped it over and over again all night. I made about $60.00 that night. It was the first signal, that I could influence people and could make money at the same time.”
Many entrepreneurial stories start this way, with young people experimenting, trying to earn a dollar and realizing that they really can do it themselves. It certainly rings true for Don Scott of Don Scott Creative Group. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with friend and fellow entrepreneur over Zoom to discuss his entrepreneurial journey. A journey and hustle that started over 20 years ago and is still going strong.
Inspiration & Mentors
At age 18, Don started designing clothes in his grandmother’s home in Southwest Philadelphia. There, she taught him the basics of the sewing machine and how to add simple appliqués and embellishments to clothing. Believing in his dream, she allowed him to take over the basement and front porch of her home for his business. “I started painting on shirts and doing screen printing.”
Inspired by other designers like Miskeen during that time, Don would frequent a local airbrush shop at 60th & Ludlow where he would ask tons of questions and soak up as much knowledge as he could about designing and the fashion industry. From there his apparel business kicked off, with Don creating RIP, family reunion and “rep the block” style t-shirts. “I would do a lot of custom work for the kids in the community”, he says.
Over the years, the business has evolved to become a broader creative outlet for Don’s artistic expression through graphic design, painting, murals, and music (he also DJ’s), in addition to fashion. Operating from a limitless perspective, he allows his creativity to lead him into new territory as much as possible.
When asked if he had mentors who’ve helped him along the way, Don stated, “There have been several individuals who’ve helped me. I often have talks with a lot of men of various ages and backgrounds. I might have 4 or 5 different people in my life from all different industries at any given time inspiring and guiding me. I’m not often searching for answers but often find myself influenced by our transparent conversations.”
Entrepreneurship in 3 Words…
Don sums up entrepreneurship in three words: repetitive, patient and true. “On this journey, you don’t want to recycle the same strategies and processes if it’s landing you in the same place. But often you might have to start over, maybe more than once, and because of that you must have patience”, says Don. But because you are staying true to your goal, yourself, and the end result, the repetitive nature of the entrepreneurial experience is all worth it in the end.”
Doubt is inevitable on the journey of entrepreneurship. At some point, all entrepreneurs will question what they are doing, how they are doing it and if what they are doing will ultimately be a success. We can’t escape it, but that is where patience comes in. “Doubt and anxiety comes in when you are losing patience, but most things are out of your control,” says Don. What keeps him grounded are the consistent signs and affirmations that remind him he’s on the right path. They are what keep him focused and steady when he considers pivoting because things aren’t moving in his timing. “There’s always something that pulls me back.”
A sign could be a message from an aspiring designer who sees Don as an inspiration and is deciding to take the leap for themselves. Sometimes a sign is simply an encouraging word from someone pledging to continue to support his work. These small gestures affirm Don and many other entrepreneurs, like myself, carrying us a long way. They are the proof that we’re doing something right, even when it seems like we’re not.
Words of Wisdom
“Do what you love. That’s the only way you will find peace and get happiness.” – Don Scott
Since this interview, Don has built and designed his first sneaker label Stryv, produced by Garrixon Studios, a local manufacturer providing opportunities for local creatives to produce sneakers on a professional level. The sneakers will be available for pre-order in April 2021.