I’m Dan Souligny, I’m one of the two partners that started Black Collar. As of last summer we have rebooted and repositioned our business to become a collective. We are a stable of talented young artists and designers. Our current mission is this… We are the unknown, the overlooked, and overworked. We are those who simply desire a chance to earn the experience and prove our quality. We promote others as we promote ourselves. Black Collar shares the load, and we share it gladly. We number in the many, our diversity our greatest asset.
Q. What kinds of design work does Black Collar provide?
“We do quite a few different things, Apparel, Graphic Design, and Street Art. We started doing a lot of mural projects this summer, both in our studio and outdoors. Our graphic designers have worked on pretty much everything; websites, mobile, branding/marketing, print and apparel. The apparel side is the newest part of our brand, we’re launching our first collection of t-shirts late this month along with our new site. “
Q. What was the inspiration to start Black Collar?
“Quite frankly, it was born out of frustration. In 2009 I had to drop out of school due to financial hardships. My best friend and room mate, Brandon Krom was having trouble finding work of any kind. We decided to make our own work. We started Black Collar out of our basement in South Minneapolis. We branded ourselves as “rouge” freelancers. We built our business on screen printing shirts and posters, taking any and every job we could get.
It started out a lot of fun, but as it turned out it was a great idea poorly executed. Stress mounted fast as we struggled to turn a profit and we broke things up for a bit. I ended up losing a lot of close friendships and found myself in a really dark place. I finally sought out counseling to help get myself back into a positive productive place. The total experience showed me what was really important, so I reconnected with Brandon and together brought in new talent to strengthen Black Collar. We’ve learned a lot and we’ve made huge strides just in the last year. Our launch party for the site and first collection was supposed to be in early December, but we opted to push it back to ensure that only the highest quality product we can produce will be sold. Practice makes perfect, and it’ll be worth the wait.”
Q. Knowing that you were the sole founder, how’d you make the connections to expand BC to what it is today?
“Mostly from MCAD. Even though I couldn’t finish, I still feel it was really important that I had gone. Many of the people associated with Black Collar are MCAD alumni, the network started there turned out to be invaluable when getting set up and growing the brand. “
Q. How many people are now associated with BC?
“The Collective is Twelve and growing. We are closely tied with clothing brand Voodoocroo, led by Victoria Carpenter and we also have some new things starting up with Pink Bow Vintage led by Keona Tranby. “
Q. Favorite projects you’ve collaborated/ worked on under the Black Collar name?
“The Murals. I like the large scale, improvisation, and being outside. The Murals are very communal, they’re as public as it gets. I don’t think everything needs to be covered, but it’s great to find new uses for forgotten surfaces.”
Q. For people interested, do you sell your BC work? Or if people were interested in hiring you for a job, how should they go about that?
“All our contact info will be listed on the new site, which will also feature an online store with all our current pieces. It’s set to go up this month.”
Q. Outside of the Cities but still within MN, where is your favorite outdoor place to go to relax and just let your mind wander (lakes, parks, landmarks, any MN outdoor spot)?
“It’s just barely in Minnesota, but the sandbars near Wabasha. I usually spend the 4th of July down there camping with the Krom family.”
Q. What are your plans/future visions for BC? Where do you see it 5 and 10 years down the line?
“Our plan is to establish ourselves locally as being an incomparable all-in-one collective of high caliber craftsmanship. In five years we hope to have a shop where we can showcase not only our own apparel and products, but also from local up-and-coming artists and designers, while also expanding our design studio. Ten years down, we want to be attending the bigger trade shows like Agenda and Magic.”
Q. Anything else you’d like our viewers to know about BC or any shout outs you’d like to include?
“We can’t wait for 2012.”