September 17, 2020 8:00 AM
by Erin Taylor
We recently interviewed a variety of Black-owned Business Owners in Santa Monica to hear their unique story and perspectives. This is Part 11 in a series. Read on to hear about business owners throughout our City. If you are a Santa Monica business, and you’d like to add your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Name: Prophetboy
Business Owner: Elijah Kirkland-Cuffee
Brief History: “In my early twenties, my Mom kept asking me what I was hoping to contribute with my life. I gave a lot of thought to what mattered to me outside of basketball. She gave me the extra support I needed to make my dreams a business and over time I have grown to take the business more seriously,” says Elijah.
Why did you decide to open a business here in Santa Monica?
“My Mom raised me in Santa Monica and it felt so safe and secure, that I never felt like I needed to get out of Santa Monica to start something. I know this City so well, that It felt like I could make a difference here, and make it better.”
What types of products and services do you offer?
“The Prophetboy brand has multiple layers – merchandise, music, and messaging, where I even wrote a book over quarantine.
Everything can be found at www.prophetboy.com
The Merchandise includes Prophetboy Brand T-shirts, Hats, Cell Phone cases and Jewelry. I have always liked unique fashion that makes a statement, so it really aligns with my interest.
The Music is a reflection of my positive mood and how to uplift others with my music.
I used to freestyle rap with friends who would tell me, “Elijah, we need to get you into a studio.” For a long time, I didn’t take this into consideration. It was just a fun thing, almost like a party trick. Cut to, I recently released my first music video called “tbt” and my next music video is called “Stay Up” to be released this September. You can hear my music on the website, YouTube or just follow me on social media.
My book called “Quarantine Dreams” is all about breaking down the self to reach that higher vibration of purity and peace from within. I think that this will be a good read for everyone but especially my generation. I have always enjoyed reading inspirational spiritual development books.”
What aspect of your business do you like best?
“I would say the Music. I feel free to express and it has the most power to make change.”
What is the essence of Prophetboy?
“It’s about sharing your own message and being fearless in sharing that message.
Hopefully it is about always sharing a positive, uplifting message. For example, on Instagram, different people will wear the merchandise and share their message. “STAY UP” is my message. Another friend offered, “BE HEARD”. Whatever your message is, I want everyone, of every age to be confident in their own message and for Prophetboy to be high vibration & fun.”
What are some interesting facts about your business?
“Most businesses start off getting business cards, but being a millennial, I have gone two years building my business on only social media and just got business cards for the first time yesterday.”
What advice do you have for others considering opening a business?
“I would say to anyone who wants to start a business to understand that there are going to be ups and downs. I have had to change prices, manufactures, and the website look etc. even the design of the merchandise has changed. You cannot be sedentary when you start a business. There is fluidity. It will rise and fall. You have to be willing to change to the best. It is always best to make sure that your business is moving forward. It is always two steps forward, and one step back, and I am so grateful that we are at where we are at now.
And if you are considering opening your own business, communicate with others who have created a business. They already understand logistics and things to put in place. Don’t attach yourself too much to the audience. You might not always get a total sellout. If you want to maintain the confidence, you have to maintain humility.”
You have talked a lot about the word confidence today. Where do you get yours?
“My Mother Rana. She is a strong support system and an extremely helpful person. She helps work the business, organize and communicate with different people. -- I am also spiritual so maintaining a relationship with God and open to signs contributes to my confidence, 100%.”
How can the Santa Monica community support you and other Black owned businesses?
“Buy Black. But ultimately, don’t do this out of guilt. Broaden your awareness of Black-Owned Businesses. Support and acknowledge Black-Owned Businesses. If you don’t know about them, it’s hard to support and acknowledge them. There is more of a conversation to be had.
It’s a very unique time. People are really opening up in a way to Black-Owned businesses. I am so grateful for that and excited to see where it is going to take off.”
What information do you want the Santa Monica community to know?
“Personally, I would love to get a record deal with a major label and a book deal with a major publishing company and in the meantime Just buy Prophetboy Merch. It would be so cool to see Santa Monica residents wearing my merchandise around town. I grew up playing basketball at the YMCA and hope to give back to their scholarship for youth program.”
Prophetboy.com | email@example.com
Senior Marketing Manager