Be unique, be Fly
When Fly Clothing Ja was launched in December 2012, the intention of Craig Johnson was to bring a hip edge to Jamaican-themed apparel. "When I worked (as a graphic designer) for various companies and individuals, my creative input was mostly overlooked, shot down or stored away, only to never see the light of day again. It was very frustrating, draining, and was robbing my passion to create. That's when I decided to do my own thing ... a clothing brand about our culture and the ambition to achieve," Johnson told Flair. And with a combination of expression and ambition and four designs - Kingston, Ja Shield, UPT and the Flag - Johnson made his dream a reality.
Catering to male and female - everyone young and young at heart - Fly Clothing Ja was keen on presentation for its debut. And as such, Johnson called some of his best-looking friends for a photo shoot which turned into the creation of their first catalogue. "Upon the official release, the reception was good, very positive, and we sold most of our shirts. Needless to say, we were on a high. A few months later, we were back to work on new designs and a new photoshoot, and an even better look book for our customers."
As Johnson continued: "We had even begun to garner loyal fans who would consistently buy large orders for their friends and families because of how much they loved the quality, look and feel of our shirts."
Soon after, the third collection of tees was released. "It was one of the best we had done, but that was when the holes in our non-existent business model began to show through. We could not continue to rely on the same set of customers to consistently buy up all our stock. We needed a way to reach the masses easily. Word was getting around about Fly Clothing, but with no real central method to quickly and easily view and purchase our product, maintaining a consistent relationship with our customers was becoming more and more difficult. In short, our business model didn't scale." Johnson told Flair. He needed a solution and he needed it fast.
Thus the introduction of the website, flyclothingja.com. The signal of a new chapter for the young company, not only in regards to offering a central hub to best serve and reach out to customers, but also in terms of the type of designs and clothing they make in the future. "One of those directions is creativity. Going forward, we are going to continue to bring more original and creative designs that are both impactful and meaningful, but most important, good looking," said Johnson proudly.
When asked what's next for Fly Clothing Ja, Johnson said: "Diversification. We are ready to start placing our beautiful logo on a wider array of merchandise, it is a little early to let the cat out of the bag on what that is just yet but you can be sure we will be taking Fly to the skies."
Today, Fly Clothing Ja now offers comfortable crop-tops, tanks, V-necks in a wide variety of colours, through its website to a wide cross section of clients, and is active and available on social media. "If you have a credit card, great! But if you don't, no worries. Jamaicans can purchase from the website using the Cash on Delivery option and make payment upon receiving the item," Johnson ended.