Lee Talks to D’erreus Johnson

The Exclusive emop.blog Interview


L: What’s your occupation?

D: Well first, I am a graphic designer with a clothing brand – Greater Level Clothing Co.

L: What was your inspiration behind you clothing brand?

D: The youth- to inspire the young boys and girls. Letting them know that anyone can become an entrepreneur. That’s the focus- with the message Through Adversity, Pain, and Struggle Greatness still Bloom; That’s where the whole brand Greatness with the Concrete Rose behind it come from.

L: What were some of the adversities that you faced starting your brand?

D: Lack of money, lack of connections; When I first got in it I didn’t know anyone doing it, I didn’t have a job, didn’t have the money to do what I wanted to do. At the time I didn’t want to work for anyone, not knowing that I needed a job to gain money to invest in what I wanted to do. School; I went through school by myself. I was actually the first person in my family to go to college, that was big on me to go and actually finish.  Going through college and not having anyone to talk to about the experience, no one knew what was going on, so I was like cool I’ll just figure it out as I go along. 

L:  When did you begin your clothing brand?

D: I started in 2012, a year after I graduated high school. I’ve grown up  always wanting my own clothing line.  I was always an artist since I was able to pick up a pencil.  In middle school I started painting on clothes wearing them and selling them to the kids.  That’ s what they knew me for-my art. Getting closer to high-school I lost the passion and my focus was on playing sports and just got lost into high-school life. By the 12th grade I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The end of summer came and everyone was going off to college and there I was still partying – I had to figure it. That’s when I came up with the brand a year later.

L: Where did you come up with the idea for the brand?

D: I was brainstorming, trying to come up with it. I have a cousin that does graphics and I talked to him about it, and he told me to just keep thinking about it and it will come and when its right, it will damn there make you want to cry. So I always said I wanted to inspire other people, so greater lever. People always told us that the sky is the limit; I was like man what if we go beyond the sky, people always told us to be good, even when they tell us to be great,  I was like nah we can be greater than that. So that was the vision. It’s like an unknown space in my head that has no limits. That’s where the spaceship comes from.  It’s like as long as one is willing to put in the work there is no limit – always a greater level.

L: When did you start graphic designing?

D: Right after college 2014 I interned with V100, the assistant there gave me my opportunity and kept her word that where ever she goes she’ll take me.  She left and went to a film company in Atlanta called swirl group.  They were producing a play where I did a the graphic work for the book the company used to advertise the play. From that point I did another job for TV One’s show Born Again Virgin where I designed the posters for the wrap party held, where I attended and met the cast of the show. That was my first big job one of my most proudest moments. 

L: So, I understand you have a print shop. How did that opportunity come about?

D: Well, after the success with the wrap party, I had the chance to market myself through social media with the likes of facebook and instagram. I would post my work with contact information. That alone helped generate the income to put towards the print shop.

L: What were some of your biggest influence when it comes to creating?

D: I follow the BBC (Billionaire Boys Club) brand by Phareal. I like Chris Brown’s work. I try to stay away from focusing on someone else’s art, I don’t want it to take away from my originality.

L: Outside of  designing who have been some of your major influences in life?

D: My pops was always available to talk to. However, I stayed with my mom and just to see her will and faith to make it through tough times was very inspirational. She and my grandmother were heavy influencers when it came to me learning how to have faith and believing in prayer. Now its my son, he is what gives me the fuel to keep going.

L: What do you have up and coming?

D: Right now I have an artist I’m working with name Alexis Renae , that’s on the graphics side. Mainly, running the print shop  and the brand. You’re going to see  a lot more logo shirts, hats, advertisement. 

L: What are some of the Do’s and Dont’s you would share with up and coming entrepreneurs?

D: Don’t give up. You may get discourage and your going to come to road blocks sometimes back to back, that will make you question rather you should be doing what you’re doing- don’t stop. Always stay focus, never let someone tell you what you doing isn’t for you or you cant do it, you can do whatever you put your mind to. Anything is possible.

L: How has you starting your brand allowed you to contribute back to your community?

D: I’ve been able to start a program that allow high school students to visit the print shop in order to shadow and understand the day-to-day operations. It helps them to understand what it is that we actually do. I wasn’t  raised to understand that my talent was the means to my source of income. A lot of kids are not getting informed that you can do other things with art other than drawing you can do things with photography other than taking pictures. I want to give them the inspiration in the time when art programs in school are becoming obsolete. We are constantly told find a job that is dependable instead of making your talent work for you.

L: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 1o years?

D: I want to be wealthy. I want to be able to do for my family. I grew up not being able to visit places. I’ve never been to cali. I want to travel. I have a son now, I want to be able to show him the world, give him the opportunity I didn’t have. Ultimately, I want my brand to be worldwide.

L: How can you be contacted for  work?

D: You can reach me on social media. Instagram mainly at greaterthecreator. My phone number and email are both available on there.

Lee A. Prophet, Founder and Owner,  Editor in Chief