Devin James, owner of Native Graphix, was a general manager for a retail clothing store when he was shot last year.
As a result of his
injury coming while he
was working, James
soon lost his
job during a legal battle.He
also couldn't find another job because he
was found 17% disabled.He
soon went from a good job with benefits to having absolutely nothing.As a result, he started Native Graphix with a $200 investment in graphic and Web design books.
started the company hoping to get enough work to get by, he
soon found there was enough work to grow the company.
By starting out doing work for local party promoters, James
had a client base before he
had a clear goal for the company.
"I told them I'd
design their stuff for free and if they liked it, they could pay me," he
says."They liked it and I got in the door.Then they started telling everybody they knew and they told everybody they knew.It was all word of mouth."
His connections with party promoters led James
to do work for local nightclubs Plush and Senses, as well as concert after-parties for Grammy winning rapper, Kanye West.
While the transition between the "urban marketing community" and the more mainstream businesses may be daunting for some companies, James
has found a good balance between his
"I've had the life experience to be able to deal with different people from different backgrounds," he
says."You may have to dress or talk differently, but it's all business.
"A big company may give you a big job once a quarter, but there are parties all the time," he
says."You build the business both ways so you can have something to fall back on."
In addition to design, Native Graphix
also does printing, which allows James
to cross promote his
Part of the success of Native Graphix
was the evolution from simply printing party flyers on paper to glossy postcards with quality art.
"We cater to small businesses and clients that some people might not be willing to work with," he