Total loan: $10,000


Detroit, MI, United States / Clothing

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A loan helped purchase our own heat press, POS system, update website and produce new merchandise to print our own merchandise in house.

Phillip's story

With over 20 years as a visual artist and 10 years as a graphic and apparel designer, I’ve made a name for myself in the Art and Design community in the Metro Detroit area. I’m the owner of apparel line, the Smile Brand, and the Baltimore Gallery, an Art Gallery in Midtown Detroit. As a community artist, I paint smiles in the majority of my artwork hoping to leave a positive impression on the hearts of my viewers. In the summer of 2018, I was selected to participate in Murals in the Market, a worldwide recognized event that invites over forty muralists to design and paint murals on buildings in Detroit’s Eastern Market District. Using the Smile Brand as my inspiration, I created a colorful mural with my signature smile faces. This mural, one-hundred feet long can be seen by as many as two-thousand people on a weekly basis.  
My passion for apparel design came with my first company, Freshman Clothing. In 2009, I opened the Freshman Detroit store in downtown Detroit. It saw some success, but unfortunately, not enough to keep it’s doors open and Freshman Clothing closed in 2011.  

After the closure of Freshman Clothing, I felt like a failure and wanted to give up on my goals as an entrepreneur. I used my art as therapy and painting smiles helps build my confidence and overall helps me smile again. It was then when I enrolled in a Build Institute business class and Retail Boot camp with TechTown Detroit to learn how to run a successful business. With my personal drive and guidance from these two small business incubators, I gained more confidence and now plan to take The Smile Brand global, starting with Detroit.