BY: DT THE ARTIST
The City of Toronto is a fashion trendsetter for upcoming clothing brands. I had the opportunity to interview Brent “CJ” Hackett, founder of the Wize Up brand. During the interview, “CJ” was a wealth of information, inspiration, and passion. “CJ” is one of those creative individuals that is constantly supporting artists, and events happening throughout the city of Toronto. Get to know the name and the brand “Wize Up” I asked the following questions.
How was the brand started?
“Wize Up started as a clothing company to promote other people to become entrepreneurs. Eventually, it turned into event planning. To create our own opportunities. At first, our thought was being at the right event. Then we decided to throw the right event. Out of that, the Wize Up brand became a lifestyle brand company with clothing, events, and building a support system for Toronto artists. Wize Up is a universal brand.”
What does Wize Up mean?
“To pursue that thing that you’ve always wanted. The name came to me as a reflection of me knowing that I could do better. Everything becomes a moment and a reminder.”
How did you garner support?
“I started reaching out to local Toronto artists through social media introducing the brand, and the possibilities of potential partnerships. I first told my friends and they literally said it’s not possible. So, I started off by myself, going to events every day. I decided to start telling people about the brand.”
“I met up with Bianca “star status” at a show. Outside the show, I spoke to some people and one of them turned out to be T Major, one of Toronto’s premier producers, and DJ’s. And he became a brand ambassador, supporting and promoting “Wize UP”. “And then I met Lily and Kronicles through T Major, Lily and Kronicklez became a major part of the Wize Up brand, building the team, and creating the events. The marketing premise became having people question what the hat meant, creating conversations and opportunities to promote the brand.”
Who have been some of the artists you have worked with?
“Most of the artists Wize Up has worked with include T Major, Bianca Star Status, Kroniclez, kip, Danby star, Stacee Brizzle, Jewelz, Keshia Fresh, K Woodz, Randy, laid low, DT The Artist, Chief Reckah, J Rich, and Ellie Knightly. We have a lot more partnerships to come.”
What is your main goal for the brand?
“To be the most influential platform for up and coming artists and entrepreneurs. To help network with people that can bring them to the next level. Cross promotion, and lifestyle opportunities.”
What are some of the challenges you have faced building the brand?
“I had to take a long hard look at myself. Dealing with and overcoming doubts. I asked myself – can I do this? I had to step out of my comfort zone, and shatter all doubts in order to go for my dreams. I stopped worrying about other people’s opinions. The hard part was financially I didn’t have the means, so I just used what little I had to make a product, and slowly build.”
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned?
“I take advice from people either doing better than me, or those on the same wavelength as me. When you’re humble a lot more doors open for you. Build relationships. Never think you’re bigger than you are. Be yourself and be real. Don’t put this Illusion that you’re something that you’re not. Be committed. Never forget where you started.”
What advice would you give to others?
“Just start. Don’t over think it, create. You can literally create anything out of nothing. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Appreciate where you are.”
What was the best advice you received?
“Don’t overthink. Just do. Let your brand speak.”