Creating Something Real With Bad Girl, Good Human. Founder Orixa Jones
When it comes to brand authenticity, no one does it quite like Orixa Jones (pronounced oh-REE-shuh). Her brand, Bad Girl, Good Human., creates leisure-wear that speaks to and resonates with the everyday chick. In addition to amazing sweatshirts and more, women all over the world (quite literally) have found a community and safe space to find freedom, build their confidence, and shamelessly own their truth.
I sat down with Orixa to talk about how she built Bad Girl, Good Human. and the insight she shares is pretty dope.
KF: What does it mean to be a bad girl, good human?
OJ: It really is about embracing all of who you are, especially the duality. For example, who says sweet girls can't curse? Growing up, I was made fun of a lot just because of how thin I was. I had to learn how to be comfortable and confident with myself, my body, all of me. The good human side is who we are at our core: the vulnerability, the giving, showing love to people.
KF: What inspired you to launch Bad Girl, Good Human.?
OJ: I always felt like I had a vision, but couldn't really articulate it because I hadn't gone through anything in life, yet. I just knew that whatever I was going to do, it had to have longevity. I started off modeling and I really thought that was my ticket. I enjoyed it a lot, but I needed something more. After putting it on the backburner, I started exploring more creative outlets.
I blogged for a couple of years, but I knew that wasn't it. For one, I like to write when I'm moved to and, secondly, I don't like to wear clothes all the time. I knew I wasn't gonna be the girl who would get dressed up just to take pictures for a fashion blog only to go back in the house and take all that shit off.
I ended up shifting into photography and that was cool, but I decided to leave it alone after my hard drive crashed and I lost all of one of my client's pictures.
One night, I was out with my girlfriends and I shared with them that I got my nipples pierced. It was a total shock because I'm the one who doesn't really drink or do wild things. I'm the quiet one. When they asked why I did it, I responded it's because I'm a bad girl, good person. One of my friends said, "No, you're a bad girl, good human." As soon as she said it, I knew that whatever I was going to do, Bad Girl, Good Human. was the name of it.
After I figured out it would be a shirt line, I sat on the idea for like seven months. I was actually going through a rough season, which included a lot of crying in bed. During one of those low points, I just pulled out my journal and started writing down different mantras, muses, and people who might wear it. The next thing I knew, I was buying shirts to take pictures and create content, and build a website. I launched it in December 2017 and my life has never been the same.
The crazy thing is that year I was having dreams that I was pregnant, but I wasn't pregnant. A friend of mine told me that I wasn't birthing a baby, but I was birthing a purpose. Bad Girl, Good Human. launched eight months later.
KF: When did you realize that Bad Girl, Good Human. was a legit business and not just an art form or a creative, therapeutic outlet.
OJ: I put it out with no expectations other than knowing that it was something I felt very strongly about. I had a little, private celebratory party for it and I made a really big deal out of it. The candles, floral, my outfit, everything was over the top. From the planning to the actual party and the people who showed up, that's when I knew it was for real.
I actually had just got fired from my job so I didn't ever have a choice but for it to be real. Doing it full throttle was my only option. I had to hustle. I had to make it great and get it done.
KF: It's so interesting because I can see those elements of modeling and photography in Bad Girl, Good Human.
OJ: Yeah, for a moment I didn't know what was going on but it was all used for a reason.
KF: Were there any brands or people that you looked up to as influences?
OJ: Honestly, my biggest influence is my own life experiences. Knowing what I wanted my own life to look like and feel like is what shaped my brand – even when it didn't make sense or add up. My lack of a safe space, my lack of a place to unfold and unravel.... I had to create that myself and I created it through Bad Girl, Good Human.
KF: That's really deep. The funny thing is that creating something that doesn't exist, but that's needed opens the door for people to not only be inspired but to imitate. From where I'm sitting, Bad Girl, Good Human. is rooted in originality and authenticity, but there are a lot of copycat brands out. What's your advice to other businesswomen and brand builders when it comes to drawing that line between inspiration and imitation?
OJ: I really think you have to find the things that stick and disregard what don't. Get comfortably with what feels right, what's a pillar.
KF: How do you know when it's a pillar?
OJ: Because it doesn't leave my spirit. I'll leave it alone. If it keeps resurfacing not only in mind but what I'm gravitating towards, that's how I know it's sticking and it's a pillar. In terms of my audience and customers, it starts with me honoring that authenticity factor and paying attention to what things I love that they love, too. My audience loves words and they love seeing women being real and comfortable in their bodies. They love earth tones and inclusivity and community.
KF: What practices or tools do you have to ensure your audience isn't just a bunch of followers, but paying customers?
OJ: It's all about appealing to how they feel. I like making people feel like they're at home, like Bad Girl, Good Human. is their safe space where they can take as long as they need to get what they need to be who they are in the world. I communicate that.
Something else I do which is more logistical is shut the shop down. It helps with my scheduling, purchasing, and saving money and time but it also creates a longing within my audience that makes them want it more. As a result, they're more likely to buy right away because they don't know how long the shop will be open before I shut it down again. That right there is how you balance inclusivity with exclusivity. Bad Girl, Good Human. is inclusive – it's for everyone – but the products aren't always readily available or accessible and that makes them feel exclusive and more special.
I'm like this in my relationships, too. You can keep it real and be authentic without letting everyone through that special threshold. Boundaries are important.
KF: Does that also play into why you keep your product line minimal?
OJ: Yes, you don't need a whole lot to say a whole lot. I want my message to be clear. No extra fluff. I'm also pretty minimal and simple by nature, too. Less is more all the way around.
KF: How do you balance your creativity with good business sense?
OJ: I stay true to the storyline. It's so important to get clear on your story and stick with it. I remember watching a Kobe Bryant interview and he said something like nothing moves without a story. I'll never forget that. It helps mesh the creativity and the business together. Storytelling is the glue.
KF: What does workplace wellness mean for you as an entrepreneur, especially as someone who's been working from home for three years?
OJ: I cannot work in clutter. My brain doesn't work properly when there's stuff everywhere. My space has to be clean and clear. I also make a point to designate a time to work and a time to be done for the day. If I don't, I'll work and work and work until I collapse. I have a designated station in my living room. When I'm done working, I hide everything and tuck it all away.
I give myself permission to take breaks, too. Like, long breaks. Like a month off. I have to do that to rejuvenate and make sure my self-care and mental health is a priority.
KF: What can we expect next from Bad Girl, Good Human.?
OJ: I like textures and I want to offer elevated basics with increased quality. I'm also getting into dying products. It's time to bring in new people, too because I need some help! I want to create more content – original content at that.
KF: What advice do you have for other women trying to build something real?
OJ: Pay attention to that thing that you can't shake and that can't escape you. Seek validation through the results of your own life. That changes the game.