JAmusic: What would you say the premise of the accessory line is built upon? The ideology behind it all.
M: The accessory line Enbois By Maxim is built upon the ideals of sustainability without compromising quality and moving consciously with a purpose. I created the line with the intention of having a social responsibility implemented in the business. I wanted to create an original product for a reason. Before I became serious with the business, we moved across several different initiatives from fighting hunger with the global organization AAH (Action Against Hunger) to then funding after-school programs in rural parts of Haiti with the organization HRDF (Haitian Resource Development Foundation) to finally partnering with TheHaitiTreeProject.org to combat the fight against deforestation in our island nation.
JAmusic: What gave you the nudge to take this daring step to create such a line?
M: Curiosity was the single biggest factor to create the line. I would say I have a good sense of creation and bringing ideas to life all while using the materials made available to myself. In the beginning, I was simply using materials found at local craft stores and just seeing what could be done with them and how much profit could be made from the little materials I had. I never had any big funding or investment in my product line and really kept it a secret from my parents because of the lack of confidence I had and fear of their disapproval. What really got me to the next step was just some old fashion hard work and hustling. After experiencing some success and growing popularity of the line at my college town I just followed my curiosity in the craft and started expanding into different products.
JAmusic: Enbois Accessories will be seen as redefining preconceived notions of ‘statement pieces’, how do you see the vision of the line evolving over the years?
M: The thing I tell myself most often during creation of new pieces is “keep it simple and keep it original”. Although simplicity may seem easy to do, it can be easily overlooked in the desire to be a “high end” or “brand name” line in the use of precious metals, pearls or gems. I had the desire to be independent from outside influence even though it surrounds us everywhere. My style has never been flashy, extravagant or loud and I think the product line is a representation of myself. The term “conscious bling” was coined by Kabaka Pyramid when I presented him with some custom pieces. Instances like that really pushed me more to stay true to my product line and vision. I’m standing firm to the Enbois ideals of sustainability and social responsibility and I don’t see it changing anytime soon as long as I’m in charge.
JAmusic: What is the ultimate aim for the brand?
M: Our reforestation efforts lead to an average of about $450 USD donated monthly to the Haiti Tree Project. I would like to have this number tripled by 2018 in order to cover all costs of planting and nourishment of trees in the nursery 12 months of the year. Currently, we plant seasonally in accordance with the rainy seasons. Having a water reservoir, which costs several thousand dollars, would make it easier to plant trees more often. Small resources like this are short term goals for our line but ultimately the greatest factor for the fight against deforestation is AWARENESS. The rate of deforestation in Haiti is much higher than any amount of trees we could plant in one month so the biggest fight is getting people involved and aware so we can lower the rate of deforestation. I would like the Enbois Line to get people’s attention of our cause. The wood we use from our products comes from FSC certified wood farms and fast growing hard wood which are very sustainable and easily renewable.
JAmusic: Can you speak about being the official partner of The Haiti Tree Project.
M: We’ve been partnered with the Haiti Tree Project since early 2016 and have seen a tremendous amount of support since partnering. To me it made sense partnering with them because it was right in line with our already wooden products and vision. I contacted the president and told them that we were interested in funding their efforts. A little math and we were able to calculate how much it would cost to plant exactly one tree, on protected water shed land in Haiti, where locals will maintain the trees until adulthood. It costs just 20 cents (USD) per tree, so with every product sold we agreed to donate exactly $1.00 (5 trees) to TheHaitiTreeProject who will use these funds to plant the trees. I believe our first donation was about $100 USD and we have been able to steadily raise this number monthly.
JAmusic: Being authentic will always be the important notion behind the brand. How best do you see the pieces accentuating a sense of individuality?
M: Without a doubt authenticity and originality plays a major role in this venture. I’m happy to say that at this point, a lack of ideas or future products is not a problem for me. I sometimes catch myself going a little too far in all different directions so I constantly have to regroup ideas and place them in a more organized and planned fashion. I spend a great deal of time trying to perfect a piece or collection before throwing my efforts into a new design or product. Organization and the highest attention to detail is key to development of our products.
JAmusic: If you don’t mind us asking, how do you utilise social media and digital influence to market your brand?
M: Since we don’t yet have a storefront we rely heavily on our online store and social media as means of selling. It’s one thing to create the pieces but the other half of the work goes into giving your audience a visual representation of the brand so they can feel and understand the line before purchasing. Social media is a great way to get your product out there because you can reach such a large community at a very low cost.
JAmusic: What do you think of the new era of accessories and ushering a new sense of beauty without boundaries?
M: I think this era really leaves the artist limitless. The options for new products in our line are truly endless and with social media we have the ability to reach so many different individuals so your audience is also limitless. We have the ability to create a variety of different products for all preferences and a means to market that product to specific groups.
JAmusic: How do you view the present state of the fashion industry?
M: The fashion industry can be a very cold world. What is sometimes hot today can be cold tomorrow. The artist truly has stay on his toes and remain fresh constantly in order to keep his audience’s attention. However, it is important to not expand to fast so we don’t compromise quality for new creation. An ample amount of time needs to be dedicated to the craft so that you can create a collection instead of just a product. Similar to a musician releasing an album rather than a single. I’d like to remain independent from the mainstream fashion industry which relieves the pressure on the artist. Steady growth helps me perfect the craft and learn from my mistakes. All of this is very new to me as this is only my 2nd year in this industry so I’m really learning a lot about an industry I knew nothing about. The great thing about today’s era is that you don’t necessarily need to work with large retailers or the mainstream in order to gain popularity. The internet and Social media offers a means to reach the world from your living room. It really comes down to how much effort is placed on your craft and how bad you really want it.
JAmusic: Consumers are so smart today and they can easily read through the lines; anything that feels manufactured will easily be transparent. How will Enbois Accessories maintain that idea of authenticity with each piece created?
M: Authenticity is not something that can be found. I think that if you’re looking for authenticity, you’ve already lost it. The way that we remain authentic is staying true to our ideals and vision and making improvements in our flaws. By no means are we perfect, and there are definitely improvements that can be made but the best we can do is remain clear. Beinng partnered with a small organization like HTP (Haiti tree project) gives us a level of freedom and a say in where our money goes. In addition we have the opportunity to get involved in the project personally rather than just sending a check to a PO box. I don’t see any trouble in remaining authentic for the brand since that is what essentially the company is founded on.
Be sure to check out Enbois By Maxim Here!