Omar K. Denteh
My words and my craft will better my people. International intentions with African ambitions. – Omar K. Denteh
Our hands are truly magnificent instruments. When reinforced by a creative mind, passion, and diligence, our hands can create beautiful concepts. In a unique combination of quality and creativity, UE Supply Co. is one of those really dope concepts that we come across once in a lifetime. This clothing line was developed by brothers, Omar K. Denteh and Olabode A. Oladeinde. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the creative geniuses behind this brand: Omar K. Denteh.
Learn more about Omar’s journey below!
How would you describe yourself in one word?
“Creative. I work with my hands a lot. I think about the smallest things and find the biggest ways to do them.”
What do you love most about Chicago?
“Our skyline. The downtown area is the best part about Chicago because there are the tourists, the individuals who work downtown, and you can run into so many the opportunities. Everyone downtown is working and pushing to become better, regardless if they have money or not.
I lived up north the first three years of my life and then moved to the south side. Now I have an opportunity to live downtown. Being able to experience all three of those specific areas, I found that downtown was more feasible and the best opportunity for me. I was able to experience people from all walks of life. I love seeing people who move and have a purpose.”
What ignited the spark in you and your brother to want to start your business?
“Being Ghanaian and Nigerian natives in America, my brother and I tried to figure out why we stood out as far as culture and fashion. We wanted to create something that combined being urban and having style. We came up with a few names by the end of high school. In 2012 we decided to copyright the name. At that time I was also playing cricket. I found out that it was the number one sport in the world. This inspired many of our pieces. So we established ourselves in 2014.”
What drives you to get out of bed each morning?
“Our clothing line (he said without hesitation). I don’t even get up and do anything else first. I get up and check my notifications and statistics as far as the clothing line and the online site and send out orders. Every day brings a new opportunity. There is not one day that goes by and we don’t get a sale. Every day I am either planning for a fashion show or doing something to make it to the next step and getting involved with different artists, vendors, and collaborators. I work for myself, so this is literally my livelihood. Knowing that I can work on a project and make people smile makes me happy.”
If you had the chance to start your career over again would you do anything differently?
“No. I’m learning every day. It’s a growing process, I’ve learned wisdom from this. I wouldn’t want to start over any other way. Period. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to. I really care about what I do. I love the experiences, they have made me hungry. I’m getting to the point where it’s becoming not easy for me and I feel like that’s the point when GOD gives you a breakthrough.
I don’t try to think negatively. GOD opens doors. I feel like all of my doors are cracked open and I just have to have the strength to open all of them. I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for anything in the world. I love the mistakes that I’ve made within my process. All they did was make me a better person and allow me to be able to teach others how not to make those same mistakes.”
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
“Seeing people smile. I don’t care about the money, I don’t care about anything but seeing someone smile or talk about our brand. There was a time that I stitched 24 hats by hand and carried them in my book bag one day. A group of people approached me and went on a rant about how they loved our hat design. When I pulled out the hats, I saw a reaction that I had never seen in my life. They started screaming and going nuts saying they had the money and wanted to purchase right then and there.
Doing GOD’s work and being able to create something for people is what makes me happy. If I could do this for free all day, not make a dime, be able to eat and have a home to live in, I would do it. What matters to me is being able to eat with family and having somewhere to lay my head. Money does fix things to an extent but that’s not my M.O. I want to make everyone smile because they have on our gear. At one point I saw our stuff out more on campus than I saw people wearing Addidas or Nike and that made me so happy.”
What three pieces of advice would you give to people who would like to start a clothing line/business?
- “Research what you want to do and make sure you have substance behind your clothing line. Try to reach out and build personal relationships. This will help you know what people actually like.”
- “Make sure you do your research on trademarking and copywriting. The number one mistake I see is people coming up with concrete work and not protecting their work. Be knowledgeable, there are a lot of people who try to steal bright ideas. Get your things in order to make sure that you are good.”
- “Be consistent and work hard. If you see something and you have a goal, you dream it, you believe in it, you work towards it every day. Grind towards it and put in an effort towards your dream.”
How do you define success?
“It’s hard to put into words. I have so many ideas of what it is. The best way that I can put it is doing GOD’s work. Success is the consistency of a craft or something that you are doing. Reaching a goal that you put your all into. Man…just everything. Being able to accomplish what you want. If you are able to do something to aid your brothers and sisters, that’s amazing.”
Omar’s last minute tips:
“You have to believe in what you’re doing. If you’re doing it for the fame or the money, you’re doing it wrong. Concentrate and focus on your dream. When you have something that you are good at, it shouldn’t just be about self. It should be about the people. After you succeed within your craft you should teach others. You should be able to share your wisdom about your craft.”
Omar is one of the most passionate and goal driven people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. He brings such a generous and humble energy to the world. His hustle is infectious and the type that makes you think, ” Dang, what else could I be doing to push my dream?” Omar definitely puts GOD first and it definitely shows in his work. He truly is making the world a better place MashAllah (GOD has willed in Arabic). Don’t sleep on UE Supply Co. they have some really dope pieces, please be sure to check them out!
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