Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. We are back with another “Classy Connections” edition, where I will be interviewing some amazing entrepreneurs. Today for our spotlight, meet Paul “PJ” Miller. So fun fact about PJ and I, we go all the way back to middle school. We had several classes together and did some of the same organizations. He has always been a great guy. Paul is the founder of “The Tenth Clothing”. Let’s learn more about Paul:
Jonathan: How did your entrepreneurial journey begin?
Paul: After graduating from college and not continuing my basketball career, I started my professional life in advertisement and media which I have been working in for 7+ years. With a knack for creative thinking and innovation, I used these skills to found multiple businesses early in my career. First, I cultivated private events for 3 years as the Chief Marketing Officer of The Ohri Group. Producing events for brands like Bentley, Ferrari, & Maserati. After stepping down from the group, I turned my focus into establishing a brand that could cultivate the masses and bring joy back into my community and The Tenth Clothing was created. It was important to establish a strong philanthropy arm focusing on giving back which is why I launched the Men of the 10th the beginning of this year.
Jonathan: Walk us through a typical day for you.
Paul: A typical day starts with me changing a pamper at 6am. After getting my son ready for the daycare, I run with my dog before hitting the gym. After my workout, I look over emails from the previous night I missed and create my agenda for the day. This is all before I catch the train at 8am. While on the train, I typically listen to a podcast, music, or read a new book until I get into the office. During my lunch, I typically answer any emails from my company. This is key because I have a 9to5 job as well. I am a believer in putting my full attention and energy into whatever I do, so during my work hours, I take the entrepreneur hat off. However, it quickly changes once 5:30 hits. I am back in entrepreneur mode until I get into my house. Once home, I make it a priority to shut everything off and spend time with my family because that is very important to me. Sometimes you can lose sight of what is truly important and what’s not. So after, we eat, watch a little tv, and I put everyone to bed, I try to complete any emails or calls I need to have with my team before I go to sleep. Once the dreaming is over, I get up and get ready to change that diaper again!
Jonathan: How does your brand stand out compared to others in your industry?
Paul: Tenth Clothing is not only an apparel brand, but it is focused on the empowerment of black males and the advancement of the black wealth within our communities. We want people to feel good when they wear our clothing, but also know that there is a message behind it.
Jonathan: I love the name “Men on the 10th”. Tell us what inspired that name.
Paul: W.E.B. Du Bois believed in a “talented tenth” of black men that would arise to become thought leaders and cultural missionaries, creating the next generation of exceptional men. Men of the Tenth is a subsidiary brand The Tenth Clothing. It is our community leg of my business.
Jonathan: Men of the Tenth is an organization created to give male leaders and missionaries a platform to participate in different acts of service within their community. Why is this platform important to you?
Paul: This platform is important because in black communities there is a lack of male leaders and presence. Society has deemed men scarce in their communities and I want to show that we are stronger than ever. It's also important to give back to people who are less fortunate than yourself, which is why we complete an act of service once a month to let our actions speak for themselves.
Jonathan: What has been the biggest challenge in your quest as an entrepreneur?
Paul: My biggest challenge is making sure that I balance a 9 to 5, family, and running a company. Patience has been another challenge, but as I grow in my quest, I understand that being consistent is the real key. The long hours and minor failures are all part of the process which has made me an even smarter entrepreneur.
Jonathan: How have you been able to balance fatherhood, being married, and working full time and being an entrepreneur?
Paul: Honestly, I am not certain if I truly have figured that question out. However, what keeps me pushing forward is to take it one day at a time. Something I tell myself every morning before I start my day is, " Be better today than you were yesterday.." Although this may be a little cliché, speaking this into existence helps me mentally.
Jonathan: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Paul: In five years, I see Tenth Clothing/ Men of the 10th as a global brand. In doing so we will have tech-centers in a major city to provide a safe space for black families. I want to provide dope apparel and actionable resources to everyone in the black community. I also want to build an actual school for The Academy 365 which allows boys from poverty-stricken areas the opportunity to attend. I see myself growing my family and growing my network to support the business. Heck maybe, this leads me into politics you never know.
Jonathan: Who/What do you look to for inspiration?
Paul: My family (wife & son) is the only inspiration I need to go out every day and make a difference. I want a better life for my son, especially in today's climate being a black boy in America can be scary. His smile and innocence are what fuels me to be better.
Jonathan: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to breakthrough in your industry?
Paul: The biggest thing I would tell an aspiring entrepreneur is to "Embrace failure, but be mature enough to grow from those mistakes so they don't happen again". If you have a business idea make sure to review countless times before presenting to potential partners or business relationships. Also, remember that people will not see your vision the way you see it and that is totally ok. It is your job to be so engulfed in your passion and persuasive in your ability to turn your idea into a real business. Lastly, do things that make you happy and bring you fulfillment at the end of the day.
Jonathan: Outside of your work, what are your other hobbies/passions?
Paul: My biggest hobbies are basketball, flag football, traveling, and music. My passion is tackling social issues that can impact individuals that look like me. I have been blessed to have family, friends, and colleagues who have given me vital information that I plan on sharing with our next generation.
Jonathan: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Paul: I recently took a role as the Director of Operations at The Academy 365 which is a non-profit focused on providing a safe space for black boys to learn new skills and gain access to resources to help them in today's society. My goal is focusing on growth and partnerships to bring more resources to the group of men.
Jonathan: How can the #Jontourage/followers stay in touch with you?
Paul: They can follow me on my personal IG or twitter: @miistermiller and they can follow my brand on IG: @thetenthclothing . For purchasing our gear or finding out new information visit www.thetenthclothing.com
Moral of the story: Sometimes you have to step away so that you can step up. It is important that you take a chance on yourself. Thank you, Paul, for being an inspiration to everyone you come in contact with. If you know of an amazing entrepreneur who you believe should be featured, please contact me so that we can connect. Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
For more Classy Gent Chronicles blog post, be sure to visit https://www.authorjon.com/blog
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.