With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting millions of Americans, there has been a surge in applications to legally own a business in the U.S.. According to census.gov, 4.3 million Americans applied to own businesses in 2020 –– among those applicants was freshman Christian Bernard, and Boogs Apparel is his brand.
Bernard, who is transferring into the School of Business next year, is one of the many athletes whose 2020 spring soccer season had an abrupt ending due to COVID-19 restrictions. With this new free time, he began to think about what mattered most.
“I think three major events prompted me to start [my business]: George Floyd’s death, 2020 Class couldn’t graduate properly and athletes just lost their seasons,” Bernard said.
Bernard shared that he always wanted to start a business and used these events as motivation to accomplish this goal. He would sit in the family room drawing designs and playing with different colors until he found what he liked. His signature phrase “Worth It” was eventually created and would be central to the design among all of his brand’s clothes. His goal was to create something that everyone could buy into.
“It’s like my mission statement, it’s a positive saying that can be interpreted in different positive ways,” he said, “Everyone on the yard walking into different buildings, you ask any of them [what’s worth it] and their answers are all gonna be different, but positive.”
As for his brand name, Boogs Apparel, it stems from a childhood nickname that his father gave him – Boogs. Bernard has always been close with his father and feels that seeing him run a business was another experience that prompted him to start his own.
His father, Desi Bernard, has watched the brand grow from just an idea, and gave a firsthand account of the effort Christian puts into Boogs Apparel.
“Since the inception of Boogs Apparel, there has not been a single day that my son has not done something for his brand. I commend him on his dedication and know he will keep pushing,” Desi Bernard said.
Though this is Bernard’s first year at Howard, it’s not his first time stepping on Howard’s campus. Some of his fondest memories are of traveling to D.C. from his Maryland home and spending time at Howard. He is a third-generation legacy student and is proud to walk in the same steps as his father and grandfather, who journeyed to the Mecca before him.
“It’s like whenever I’m walking on the yard alone, I’m like- my dad did the same thing here, my grandfather did the same thing… it’s great,” he said.
In the midst of being an entrepreneur and keeping up with all of his classes at Howard, Bernard is also a soccer player. This spring he will continue to play for Howard’s soccer team after fall’s season and looks forward to competing, but he mentioned how he has no time to nap in order to keep up with his busy life on campus.
“I have to have a scheduled day, get up early, go to soccer, come back… find time to do Lexapro work, going to practice, go to lifting, then eat and do homework. You just have to balance it,” he said. “It’s an everyday thing… you have to work on it every day, whether it’s little or a lot. Keep at it.”
Still, he is enjoying himself here at Howard and is very grateful to be here playing his favorite sport and living out his passions.
Freshman Sierra Edmonds, a friend of Bernard and customer of Boogs Apparel, spoke highly of the brand and spoke to Bernard’s positivity.
“I see how much drive and passion Christian has for this brand and the positivity just radiates through the clothing. When I wear the apparel I’m overcome with a feeling of confidence and love because I know those qualities are just a few that were put into the clothing that’s purchased,” Edmonds said.
Boogs Apparel is selling crewnecks, hoodies, T-shirts and sweatpants in an array of colors. Sweatshirts are $40.99, T-shirts are $21.99, crewnecks are $30.99, sweatpants are $33.99 and customized sweatshirts are $49.99.
Bernard hopes to continue to expand his brand with his goal being to spread positivity. Someday, he wants to be able to walk into a store in D.C. and see his clothes adorning hundreds of hangers, and he knows that it will take a lot of work to get there.
Copy edited by Jasper Smith.