Curate 757

S6 E12 | FULL EPISODE

Ralph Reynolds

Virginia Beach designer Ralph Reynolds partnered with music icons like Pharrell Williams and T.I. to create brands like Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream and AKOO, which stands for “A King of One’s Self”. These are street wear brand that represents artistry, culture, fashion and innovation.

AIRED: January 19, 2022 | 0:09:01
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

(instrumental music)

(upbeat music)

♪ I made it to the top, ♪

♪ Started from the bottom, ♪

♪ Hard time here, and again ♪

♪ I made it to the top ♪

- RP55 is a clothing manufacturer and distribution

and branding company.

We make and create and distribute the brands,

AKOO, Hustle Gang, Billionaire Boys Club,

Ice cream, Strivers Row, and now Gotcha.

Which is our newest venture.

I moved to Virginia in beginning of the night,

I was escaping New York.

And the horror that New York was at the time.

And I got to Virginia with 47 cents in my pocket.

And then all of a sudden you're on this beach

and the moon and everything,

it was actually kinda nice for a moment.

For like one day.

I've never been afraid to work.

So, you know, anything I could find I did.

I did a sign for some guys in Norfolk

for clothing store that they were gonna open.

The beautiful gold leaf and all kinds of stuff.

They saw my, I guess, work ethic,

then they wanted me to run the store.

I was on a buying trip for that store in New York.

And that's when I met my partners today.

George Metzger and Mike Shocking.

We ended up in a conversation.

We must've been talking for half an hour

and George said,

"Hey, we should become partners".

The rest is history.

(upbeat music)

We design eight to 10 deliveries per year for each brand.

So we're a year out in advance.

We have to design our product,

get samples back on your product.

Comment on those samples, get another set of samples,

comment on no samples, get sales samples.

Get those sales samples out to our sales reps,

sales reps, walk it around from big buyers

to little mom and pop shops.

They gathered those orders.

My partner Mike orders the product,

and then it goes into production.

In between that it's being marketed.

Photo shoots are being taken.

All these different things are happening

so that it can get here to this side of the world

so that we can hit a window

about this big of two weeks before they cancel the order.

(upbeat music)

It's like a dance of incredible precision

with millions of dollars of product to hit these windows.

And then we have to do it with each brand.

- I can't remember my first collection.

What I do remember is my first jean

that got comments on it.

And it was funny because how I got into being able

to design this stuff was,

I was really packing boxes when I first started.

And when I was done, I'd sit and draw.

And one day Ralph was like, ah, you can go at this.

So he let me design a jean, and it came in,

and I had specifically purposely at the time,

made the pockets upside down on the back pockets.

And he was like, you liked that?

and went, nah, it's cool, man this is cool.

This is really cool.

He's like,

okay, all right.

I mean, if you like them, and that was kind of like,

I'm gonna let them have this,

(loughs gently)

This he's really proud of this.

I'm gonna let them have this one.

But you learn over time.

There's a balance to being creative

and also what has to sell in the market.

So I always remember that one.

It didn't do that Well

(loughs loudly)

(upbeat music)

♪ Let it go ♪

- We're in fashion, we're in streetwear.

We're in the fastest part.

I think of fashion.

At some point, you need to get out of the way a little bit

and let the younger guys lead.

I read somewhere at one time,

a good leader can lead the parade from the back.

There's some things that I really don't like, you know,

that have definitely worked over the years

to ever really been that many outlets

for a person who's great artists to go into.

And then you get to a place like New York

and you find out,

oh, there are lots of people who can draw.

So when they get here, it's interesting to watch them grow.

And what I talk about is what your drawing

is gonna become an embroidery,

or it's going to become a multilayered applique,

or you're gonna learn to make your artwork come to life

in many, many different ways.

(upbeat music)

- I really enjoy

the fact that, you know,

one day I can draw gun domes and wrestlers and superheroes,

and the next day I'll draw bears and wildlife.

♪ Justtry to tell you what you can't do ♪

The range of what we're able to do

is without bound for an artist,

of course, somebody creative,

that's an awesome thing

in a lot of great artists in here.

That's one thing that I've definitely learned.

RP55, in my opinion,

has some of the greatest artists in the fashion industry

all in one place.

♪ To your way ♪

You learn quickly,

it's not necessarily about being the best artist anymore,

it's about having the best ideas

and being able to execute that.

So if you have the best ideas, you win, period.

- You see, the birth of something.

Sometimes I'll be down at the ocean front

during the summer,

hanging out with some friends

and I just see somebody walk by with a shirt at sign,

we'll see celebrities wearing our garments too.

People that are well-known for whatever industry they're in

and they're wearing something

or holding up something that you've done.

It's very rewarding to see things like that.

♪ I'm the change ♪

♪ To who I'm ♪

- I met Pharrell when he was teenager at the airport,

him and Chad Hugo were headed to New York

and I was heading to New York

and they were making all this noise,

boom boxing and beat boxing and whatnot in the airport.

I was like,

who the hell are these two guys making all this noise?

And they were teenage guys.

It was like, okay, these guys are somebody.

Once we began to enter the plane,

I kind of was right behind them.

And I said, Hey, "Here's my card I do our RP55,"

Which at the time was very, very well known brand

especially here.

He turned around and said,

"oh, I'm Pharrell I want you to make clothes for me."

I had no idea who this guy was.

I think at that time,

most people still didn't know who he was.

Now, We make BBC and ice cream for Pharrell.

It's one of the strongest brands in the country.

(instrumental music)

- The competitiveness and it is all I kinda a need.

If you tell me we had a bad delivery,

I'm gonna show you that it was a blip.

You know, if you tell me you didn't like a design,

I'm gonna show you, I can do it better.

For me, that's enough.

You know, I want to make sure that

when I'm creating, people like.

I wanna make sure that the people who are selling it

feel comfortable with what they're presenting.

So I'm always looking and saying, oh,

he could have done that better.

Or, oh man, I got this idea.

We're gonna do this with this delivery.

There's always gonna be something different

that ignites you.

Right now that's all what's driving me

(chuckles lightly)

And outside of that,

it's just, it's fun being in the space,

to be honest with you.

(upbeat music)

- I've worked with RP55 now for 16 years,

what I do is I'm a human being.

Sure I'm in sales,

but no one likes to really be sold per se.

Everybody's human first.

So what I do is I'm a partner to more retail.

We're just really proud of and thankful for the partners

that have been on the ride with us.

It's been an amazing journey thus far,

and we have some more exciting things

coming in The near future

that I think is gonna shoot us off the stratosphere.

You know, for what they say again,

couldn't be done a streetwear brand doesn't last this long,

a hip hop brand doesn't last as long,

especially coming out of Virginia Beach, Virginia,

we're not in New York.

You know, we have offices in New York,

but our home is here,

and for a fashion house of our size

to be in Virginia Beach, Virginia, almost unheard of.

(instrumental music)

♪ To save the cast ♪

♪ cause tis the season ♪

♪ To new day ♪

♪ people don't want to think ♪

♪ no more, they just want to feel ♪

♪ they want let go ♪

(instrumental music)

♪ Hallo ♪

♪ I miss you, ♪

♪ (instrumental music) ♪

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