After basketball, former SU player Dajuan Coleman grows his clothing brand ‘Night Grind’

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 26, 2018 at 11:44 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @MikeJMcCleary Dajuan Coleman picked up a basketball and started to dribble.He was in the gym long before the camera arrived. His entire life, his basketball talent defined him. But that day, Coleman was more concerned with what he was wearing on his chest.“You can’t really sit back and let it come to you,” Coleman said. “Everything in the world is just not going to happen the way you think it’s going to happen.”He unzipped his jacket to show off the design underneath. Coleman, a former five-star basketball prospect, has moved onto a new frontier with his clothing brand, “Night Grind,” following the end of his basketball career at SU last year. The brand captures Coleman’s essence: to always keep working, even when things don’t go your way.The company, which has been active since late 2017, is financed and managed entirely by Coleman and current-SU student Ethan Kimmel, whom Coleman was connected with last fall to help grow the brand’s online presence. Night Grind currently sells shirts, jackets, hats and pants. The two aspire for more, including incorporating women’s and children’s lines once it gains more capital.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Our dream is to have everything,” Kimmel said. “You can’t build faster than you’re growing.”Coleman’s five years at SU were defined by knee injuries. To him, it was nothing but a tiny setback. The NBA was a dream of his, but so was building something for himself.Though Coleman isn’t in the place he envisioned, he’s happy he has a chance to thrive. Even if it’s difficult.“If you look at my story,” Coleman said. “I don’t even think I’m supposed to be here right now.”Hieu Nguyen | Asst. Photo EditorEarly in life, basketball became his sanctuary. Basketball meant safety as his friends got involved with crime. And basketball gave him a chance. He remembers thinking if he went to college, an opportunity basketball could create, he’d have an opportunity to build something for himself.In his first year at Syracuse, Coleman suffered an MCL injury. He injured the same knee the next season, missing almost two years. When Coleman arrived at Syracuse, he didn’t think he’d be there long, dreaming of the NBA. Three years into his college career, he questioned that path.The thing that guided Coleman to Syracuse could help him no more. After his second knee injury, Coleman started thinking about “plan B” if basketball failed.“In high school, I was always artistic,” Coleman said. “I like to draw a lot. Create stuff with my hands. I always had visions that I always wanted to bring into life.”So, he started creating. With the money he was supposed to use to eat, he purchased Photoshop. He watched YouTube tutorials and taught himself to use the software. On flights to road games, there was no internet, so he spent time playing with it.That first creation appears on many of his products now, but he said there are more stored on his computer. The logo draws from his life experiences. It’s inspired by the McDonald’s All-American logo, which Coleman was named as a high-schooler. Across the middle is a silhouette of New York state, representing Syracuse, the place he’s lived his entire life. The backdrop, the symbol for world peace, is vibrantly painted. With all the tension in the world, he said he thinks his brand represents a cry for peace.When Coleman started Night Grind, he had $300, he said. He used it all to print shirts for friends. It was a risk, but the positive feedback gave Coleman the courage to move forward with the company.To do so, he needed help. He remembered an offer from Brandon Steiner, an SU graduate and CEO and founder of Steiner Sports, to contact him whenever Coleman needed help.Coleman met with Steiner following a talk Steiner gave at SU. Steiner was intrigued with the idea because he was familiar with Coleman’s story and thought the brand was authentic to him.“People forget how and why they got invited to the party,” Steiner said. “Figure out what this party is and who you’re planning it for.”Steiner played outside adviser for Coleman. He made sure that Coleman was going in the right direction with the brand, telling him to emphasize the “Night Grind” aspects.“He got hurt and he never gave up … The night grinders never let a bump in the road put them on the side of the road,” Steiner said. “He’s got to relate to those people, he’s got to know that’s who’s buying his stuff.”The next step was building the brand. Kimmel introduced himself to Steiner at another talk at SU, impressing Steiner with the work he had done in his two years as an intern for the United State Olympic Committee. Kimmel’s name stuck out because the work he did in the consumer product area was exactly the experience that Steiner thought Coleman needed as he began to build his brand online.Coleman was on board right away because of Kimmel’s preparation — Kimmel presented a PowerPoint with his ideas in their first meetup. The partnership started quickly, and the two collaborated to develop an online presence for Night Grind, like growing its Instagram page.Current SU sophomore Ethan Kimmel. Hieu Nguyen | Asst. Photo EditorKimmel said the two have yet to spend any money on marketing because the Night Grind Instagram quickly became a compilation of Coleman’s friends wearing the products. Among those featured are former Syracuse players Tyler Lydon and Jerami Grant and current players Oshae Brissett, Howard Washington and Frank Howard. The company even received an endorsement from Minnesota Vikings running back Latavius Murray, Kimmel said.As the brand’s reach expands, “Night Grind” has never stopped being true to who Coleman is.“Being a night grinder is about what you’re doing when others aren’t watching,” Kimmel said.That mindset followed Coleman from a young age, when he couldn’t have imagined being in the position he is today. But that never stopped him from working.When the camera stopped flashing at the Carmelo center and everyone turned their backs, the ball was still in Coleman’s hand. The basketball part of his life was over, and his new chapter looks promising. Still, he kept shooting until he made another basket. He never stops working, even if nobody sees it.“I always said that if I did make it to the NBA, that would give me the money to build a business. Now that I don’t really have that much money, my mindset is still to build a multi-million dollar business,” Coleman said. “It’s just going to be a little harder.“But, that’s what Night Grind is all about.” Commentslast_img read more

Alpena Public Schools offer bond proposal to voters

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich. — Alpena public schools has decided to go ahead with their plan to ask voters to approve a multimillion-dollar bond proposal. It involves the sale of $33.9 million in bonds for improvements in the schools.Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner says the money would go towards repairing roofs and boilers, as well as improving security. “We have boilers and roofs that are failing. We’ve had multiple instances with some of the cold weather already where the boilers wouldn’t work properly,” he said. “Our electrical system is so old that it won’t open air dampers like they’re supposed to.”The board is hoping to also increase the security of their schools by upgrading their entrances. Dr. VanWagoner says people have been known to walk into the building without checking in at the front office. He added that one of their main goals is to keep their students comfortable. “We’re really trying to concentrate on real basics, on keeping our kids safe, warm, and dry. So the board made the decision tonight to go after that no mil increase.”Voters will have the chance to vote for or against the bond proposal in March.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThis Tags: Alpena Public SchoolsContinue ReadingPrevious MSP vehicles outfitted with updated cameras, better sounds and visualsNext American Dental Association announces support for banning certain vaping productslast_img read more