Driven: Craig Stokes

"You are only as great as your last accomplishment."- Craig Stokes

Craig Stokes is a CEO, Producer, TV Personality, Host, Designer, Stylist, Actor, and Leader. He is dedicated to showing people what can be achieved through his many talents. As CEO of Craig Stokes Productions, and creator and host of Style Minute, Craig continues to create a lifestyle for his viewers through his astonishing ability to connect with an audience while staying true to who he is and what he does. "I enjoy the process of having an idea and making that into a product".

As someone who describes himself as never falling into trends, his drive has allowed him to form a platform of successes in which he has provided apparel for organizations, Fortune 1000 companies, events, and universities. "I'm not one who is afraid to try it, but one to do it". Craig is renowned for his "MY VOTE COUNTS" clothing line, two additional shows under the well-known show Style Minute, and Style University or Style U, a lifestyle fashion-based tour for college age men that travels to colleges and universities around the country. (www.styleuniv.com)

Craig let us at UA know that he is just getting started! In addition to creating and designing apparel, Craig hosts events, fashion and award shows, and is a personal shopper and stylist.

Check out Craig's video bio!

"I'm a regular guy on a mission to do some really extraordinary things in my lifetime. I love people, entertaining, style, technology, being creative, and expanding my "vision" so that I can "see" further today than I did yesterday. Some call me a renaissance man - you can simply call me Craig."

 For more info on Craig Stokes visit www.craigstokes.com !!!


So Craig, where did it all begin? What inspired you to be the business entrepreneur that you are today?

My parents had a great influence on me. I can remember starting off as an entrepreneur at a young age. My family had a children's birthday service in which I helped out a lot. I would draw up ads, accept bookings, and dress up as a Power Ranger at parties and do kicks and punches until the age of 15. As I became older I also cut hair on the side for friends and relatives. Styling and fashion has always been a big part of my life. My mother had a knack for business and fashion and I incorporated that into something I really take pleasure in. I've always enjoyed the process of having an idea and making that into a product.

Interesting! So let's discuss Style Minute, 60 episodes, widely recognized by viewers everywhere! Season 1 just wrapped up and I'm convinced viewers are anxious for Season 2! Where did the idea for Style Minute come from and what can we expect for the next season?

Well, before the concept of Style Minute I noticed a lot of people using social media to really get their ideas out there. I wanted to create my own movies or videos to really capture and audience in a way that hasn't been done before. I decided to take something I'm good at and turn that into something that people enjoy and can learn from. Style and fashion is my niche, so I decided to work off that but in a minute or less to set myself apart. With the success of Style Minute on YouTube, now styleminute.com, I have been able to tap into a market that is international. I have received emails from viewers in countries like Bangkok, Japan, India, and the UK asking what to wear to work, or to their high school prom. As for Season 2, its beginning to look like Style Minute will be televised nationally. Currently I am working out the details, which I would be more than happy to follow up with you on.

Craig that's amazing that Style Minute has received such great recognition from viewers EVERYWHERE! Please keep us at Urban Argyle in the loop so that we can do a follow up feature in the near future! Ok, so let's rewind. It's 2008 and you hit the world with your genius clothing line, the "MY VOTE COUNTS" t-shirt (www.apparelco.net ). When did you decide that this was something you wanted to do for the elections and what was your strategy to have America (past presidents, moguls, celebs..) wearing this popular slogan?!

I am a very observant person. Ever since the 4th grade I have always wanted to do my own thing…no trends, no fads. So during the election I noticed a lot of people wearing the popular Obama faced t-shirts or McCain t-shirts. I decided to create a design that wouldn't be another face in the crowd. So I asked myself, "What is really important?", that My Vote Counts. From there I created this logo and played around with it. I started out with maybe 100-200 t-shirts in one color and went to a convention and people loved it! I mean older people, even kids were asking for a shirt! Shortly after, teachers and government officials took to the idea because they couldn't display their interest for a specific candidate or name however they could wear "MY VOTE COUNTS". I also began to market it with different colors geared towards your fraternities and sororities on college campuses. It also helps to surround yourself with people who believe in what you're doing. I had a friend who took some of the t-shirts to the Democratic Convention and took pictures of Bob Johnson, founder of BET Networks holding the shirt as well as Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas. During that time I mailed Terrence, a good friend of mine from college some of the shirts. I didn't ask him to wear them however I got a call saying "Hey, Terrence is going to be wearing your shirt on 106 and Park tonight! You have to watch this!" At that point I just remember feeling like, wow, this is crazy. The next week he wore it again but in the purple and gold colors. I started to get requests for speaking events on voting and the Electoral College process and I truly had to begin to educate myself even more because I never thought the MY VOTE COUNTS brand would have led to something like that! I was happy to get my message across that no matter what your vote always counts.

Yes it does! And I'm sure during 2011-2012 we will be seeing that mastermind design again! So Craig, as the originator of Craig Stokes Productions you have created a lifestyle for your viewers in a variety of ways. How important is it for others who are also "Driven" to build their own personal brand? Could you give viewers some advice?

Personal Branding is so important, and I am such a big fan of it! Your personal brand should be a clear consistent message that gives off an impression of yourself and what you want others to think of you. You have to decide how you want to be seen and take it from there. Own your name! I would suggest getting your own web real estate and owning a domain name. Paint a picture for yourself and of who you are! It is very important in getting people to see that consistent connection you have with yourself and what you believe in.

Thanks for that advice Craig, so inspiring! So I read that you are currently booking appointments for personal shopping and styling. Nice! If you could personally style anyone for any event, who would you style, how would you style them and why?

Wow, that's a great question! No one has ever asked me that before! Let's see, I would have to say Trey Songz. I had the opportunity to meet him back in 2004 and gave him some shirts from when I was doing a clothing line called "Cool Classics". His style has changed over time. I would like to do something along the lines of what he is doing now but maybe make the look more tailored and add some colors that pop while on stage to give him some different options.

Anything that makes Trey Songz style "pop" on stage is a winner! So I definitely would love to see you style him very soon! So Craig, what is next for you? Any current projects we should be on the lookout for?

Yes, I'm actually working on a couple of things. I'm continuing to add elements to my websites, preparing for Season 2 of Style Minute, and I'm currently working on a children's book series that is imaginative and educational. I want to continue to show people what is possible! I always strive to balance everything I do while remaining humble and grounded. You're only as great as your last accomplishment.

For more info on Craig Stokes visit www.craigstokes.com !!!


Craig Stokes said...

Thanks for this interview, Urban Argyle!