iBlog126.com Interview W/ 8and9’s Ray G.
Prima of iBlog126 sat down with Ray G. of 8and9 Clothing for another segment of her Dedicated and Driven.
Name: Ray Guilbault
City: Miami, FL
Affiliations: 8&9 Clothing Co. #BrainGang
Hustle: 8&9 Clothing. Flippin tees & other street lifestyle products
8and9 stands for: 8 is infinite, 9 derives from knowledge. Simply put, 8&9 stands for infinite knowledge but it’s deeper than that, 8&9 is universal something everyone can relate to no matter their culture,
demographic or lifestyle. Numbers are constant.
The kind of people who wear 8and9 are: the people that buy a lot of sneakers. They think highly of themselves, refuse to settle for average. Most of our customers consider themselves connoisseurs in music, style and life.
The most aggravating part of designing new tees is: Nothing. I love what we do. This year alone we dropped over 150 new products and have another couple hundred in the pipeline.
The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is: Sacrifice. Being a successful entrepreneur requires a
commitment most people don’t understand. It’s really not for everyone. I sacrificed my entire 20’s growing the businesses. I don’t regret a minute I spent at the computer instead of in Opium on a Sunday because that’s what it takes to get a solid footing in this game.
Because of my hustle, my social life is: Ha! Great accidental segway to this question. But yea, everyone who knows me knows the quote “When an entrepreneur is asleep the business is closed.” Needless to say, I do my best to run a 24/7/365 business and I’ve definitely sacrificed the social life. It’s not easy to do in Miami but I hope the people close to me know why and still answer my calls when I put this machine in cruise control!
I decided to pursue 8and9 full time when: I closed my sneaker store. Being in that business gave me a buyers’ perspective on the clothing game and it really helped 8&9 get ahead. But, it’s difficult to give everything to two entities at the same time. 8&9 definitely took off once the brand became the #1 focus.
The flyest design that’s been released from 8and9 is: too hard to say. I prefer some of our more “conscious” designs that might be over some people’s head. I love the Brain Gang v necks. But the CRIME PAYS tee has been worn by so many celebs and tastemakers I have to give it the nod. Plus, it was truly inspired by Miami from the concept to the reference and of course the color. I vote the Crime Pays tee.
The design that made me scratch my head before I released it was: Pookie. The New Jack City reference was a little back dated for a lot of our customers. Sneakerheads call everything CRACK, so to me it was a no-brainer but I definitely scratched my head a few times over Pookie holding the sneaker because we’re not that brand. We don’t put shoes on shirts, we don’t lick our sneakers or do any of that.
While I work, I have to have: Concentrate. Sometimes music drives that and sometimes I need silence. It all depends on the task.
My biggest sneaker splurge has been: The tan Yeezy’s. I’ve been heavy in the sneaker game since the late 90’s so I’m pretty sure that was the only time I had to pay way over retail. When I bought them I had no cash on me and the nearest ATM charged me $12 per $100 ATM transaction. Needless to say, that ATM got off that day and I paid more than I would have if I was prepared.
People who don’t know me would think that I’m: Working.
The thing that differentiates 8and9 from other street wear companies: Perspective & the concepts driving our product.
The sneaker release I’m really looking forward to in 2012 is: I’m definitely grabbing the Olympic 6’s just for nostalgia because I sold my OG pair investing in 8&9. But,also the Yeezy releases are must haves.
The kind of employees I have are: Sick. Our team is so small and loyal. We built this with a tight knit family. I really don’t think our customers or fans would believe how few of us there are. People really think we’re Karmaloop or some other huge company.
My favorite artist collaborations have been: I loved the perspective we brought to the Free Weezy tees w/ Gudda and the Population Control tee w/ Statik Selektah. But, one of my personal career highlights was the collab with Cormega. Just the opportunity to work with someone who I respected so much and who helped shape the vision I have was really dope. I was a Mega fan since the first time I ever heard him and the Raw Forever tee was dope. Very pleased with the whole project. S/O Cormega.
Somebody I’d want to do a crazy collabo tee would be: I’d work with DGK because I have the utmost respect for Stevie Williams and everything he built for himself and the brand. Likewise with Rogue, DTA, Young & Reckless. Just the energy from all those brands would be cool to link w/ ours.
It surprised the hell of me to see 8and9 on: Pooch Hall hosting New Years Eve on BET. I started seeing the posts on twitter but it was just wild to see him in the OG I Am The Future tee hosting BET New Years Eve. Just the magnitude of a New Years broadcast to be the chosen wardrobe was dope.
The quotes I live and work by: “Success is achieved through a continual string of productive days.”
In the future, I want 8and9 to: Provide more jobs to good people.
Any last plugs? Big thank you to Prima Primz, iblog126.com and everyone else who ran with us this far. We appreciate you.