Hungry to make his dreams a reality, he’s been unstoppable in seizing every opportunity to do just that. It’s been no easy task creating a lifestyle brand from scratch but he’s managed to make it look effortless. Meet King, the #YoungPhenoms spotlight of the week.
Finding one’s purpose takes a lifetime for some and years of futile attempts and endeavors for others. So much so it can be a rarity to find a person in their youth so certain of their life’s calling. But in the midst of a society riddled with perpetuating messages, statistics, and stereotypes of the underachieving black man, there are those who humbly but confidently defy such.
Entrepreneur Bernard ‘King’ Bennett, 22, of Boston is just one of many to do so.
Growing up with two brothers and a sister King was a lively kid who found himself enthralled with sports. So much so he played Pop Warner football for the Dorchester Eagles as a youngin’ and eventually found himself actively involved on the football and basketball teams for Snowden International High School in Boston, MA. All was well until he tore his ACL and MCL and broke his tibula. That’s when he realized his success in sports wasn’t a guarantee.
Eager to find another route to the top — because failure has never been an option — he decided to pursue another passion.
Fortunate to have a successful business owner as a father, values of working hard, being goal oriented and actualizing dreams were instilled in him from an early age. It only helped that he has always idolized moguls like Jay-Z, P Diddy, Rick Ross, Lebron James and Cam’Ron; their accomplishments inspired him all the more.
King still recalls being shown the entrepreneurial ropes by his pops and being reminded of the life of royalty from which blacks descended. Coupled with the desire to work for self and provide opportunities for his peers and community, King co-created the lifestyle brand SuaveLife with Akeem Labitue & Darius Carter in 2009. Focusing on fashion lifestyle and music, King has been unstoppable in his efforts to make SuaveLife a household name – not for his own glory though, but for the uplift of others.
Burdened by the amount of those he’s witnessed giving up on their dreams or never giving themselves a chance to maximize their own gifts is just some of what keeps him focused. The passion in his voice is undeniable when he speaks of showing others by example how they, too, can chase and achieve their goals.
“My purpose is to motivate individuals like myself. There are a lot of people who are driven to be someone and just don’t know how to go about [it],” King said. “And me, I just had that calling on my life and my father was always there…a lot of people didn’t have that so a lot of people I see are timid; they’re scared to be who they want to be and they’re scared to do anything where they can see themselves being successful or different than the norm.”
King hopes that through an affinity for fashion and quality music his brand can unify people. The message and meaning of SuaveLife is an intricate one that seeks to celebrate differences and strengthen the idea of self-esteem and confidence in one’s ability to actualize their talent, skills and dreams.When you look at the logo it’s the Pangaea – the world before whatever happened to make the puzzle separate. I’m trying to show people that we’re all united in some type of way. With SuaveLife I’m trying to push to people comfort in being who you believe you are. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. You are who you want to be,” King said.
Like many Bostonians he’s watched members of his community struggle to find a job without a degree or after being incarcerated. Realizing the traditional path of college isn’t realistic for everyone he wanted to present a positive option for work.
“My purpose is also to help people get jobs and use my talents to aid people where they lack at. I have zero schooling for this I just constantly teach myself, use what my father taught me and get it done,” King noted.
The young entrepreneur has worked tirelessly to go into business; doing all the legwork from sketching fashion designs, scheduling studio time for his music artists, organizing photo shoots, marketing and tons more. Unlike a multiplayer team, King has in many ways had to do everything on his own – using the wisdom his father imparted with trial and error.
He has learned many lessons since the brand’s beginning four years ago.
One of the greatest realizations he’s had – and there have been many – is that you can’t expect anyone else to have the same zeal you have for something that’s your own. No one is going to work as hard as you he explains.
But with his take-charge personality, commitment to getting things done and refusal to fail or give up, all of King’s hard work is beginning to pay off. The brand’s buzz has already created a well-received repertoire, myriad professional contacts and invitations to participate in renowned fashion shows at Northeastern, Bentley and Syracuse universities as well as the University of New Hampshire to name a few.
Never erring from fulfillment of his life’s purpose, King knows he has a responsibility to pay it forward. Using SuaveLife as a vehicle he aims to do just that.
“Everyone should care about SuaveLife because it’s the story about the kid from your backyard. It’s the story from the kid you watched growing up and didn’t expect to see on this road.”
And he’s just getting warmed up.
For more information about SuaveLife please visit http://www.livinsuavelife.com and stay connected by following their happenings on Twitter @SuaveLifeOrDIE. Inquiries can be sent via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @King2Suave and phone: 617-230-9949.