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Life and Work with Jhoe Virago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jhoe Virago.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jhoe. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Keep it Vertical is my two year old baby, growing steadily and surprising me everyday. When I first started Keep it Vertical, it was just my Instagram name, but I soon found a slogan for the phrase. I went online and had a logo made that read “Keep it Vertical. Keep it Up, Stay Prayed Up, Never Give Up,” which I now still have on my business cards, though the company slogan has changed. Keep it Vertical now means, Keep your spirit lifted, but I use the three keys that drove my first slogan to spearhead my business today, motivation, faith and positivity!

Keep it Vertical is a positive lifestyle brand that focuses on spreading positivity through the creative arts and fashion. The foundation of my brand is my self-published poetry book titled “Delicately Caring for Savages.” D.C.F.S. is a short collection of dark poetry I wrote, many as a suicidal and depressed teen in the foster care system. I decided to publish this book after my dad found a suitcase full of poetry in my grandmother’s garage. I believe it is important to let others know about my past and where I come from, so they understand that I am not just promoting a positive lifestyle because it’s cute or fun. But I am sharing my lifestyle with you, things that helped me through my struggle. In the midst of my pain, I kept my spirit lifted and I would love to remind others to do the same and use my story as proof that they can overcome!

The fashion aspect of my brand consists of our Good Vibes Only Squad, Vintage GVO Squad and Lifted All Over print. Each design created with the spirit of the consumer in mind. All of my merchandises are covered in designs that reminds you to hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil or keep your spirit lifted! In less than a year, we have partnered with the Mayor’s initiative, LA Original that celebrates local creativity and gives back to women transitioning out of homelessness, which leads to the biggest hit the biggest hit our business has taken in our very first year.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A month after launching and announcing my business, I became homeless. I had been dealing with homelessness for a while, but it never comes expected. Though, I had overcome it before this time I had a business to run. For the first few months of my business, I managed it all between my car and my school’s computer lab, because I had also broken my laptop, but you can’t keep a lifted spirit down! I could not quit, I had just started and it wasn’t as though this wasn’t something I had not overcome before. I am also very passionate about my brand, so much so that I believe it is my calling, that keeps me going when times get rough.

My advice to a beginner in business would be to ask yourself this before starting a business, “under what circumstances will I quit?” Ask yourself this question because it is important to know what your limits are and how far you’re willing to go for your business. If you answer the question above and say, “nothing,” then that is the path you should take. My advice would be to set your life’s work something you’d never give up on.

Please tell us about Keep it Vertical.
I am an entrepreneur, writer, and creator. I use the term creator because it is general to the process of creating and I enjoy the creative process in all aspects and will switch gears and hats when needed. Because of my love for creating I decided to use my website to showcase all of the elements of creating that I love and am a part of.

Once a visitor clicks on the menu tab, you will see a drop-down menu with tabs like listen, read, shop, watch. Each different tab serves as it’s their own house of creative expression and a showcase of what it is I do. The “Watch” section consists of videos like fashion, lifestyle and comedy that showcase Keep it Vertical products or that I have personally been a part of. You can find a video called “Energy MuvR” that I played in about the power of energy and how it can affect others. On the “Listen” tab you can find local radio and talk shows that I’ve been a guest host on. I really enjoy speaking and hosting radio shows and podcast. Shop consists of our Keep it Vertical fashions.  In the fashion sector, it is my job to aid in designing of pieces and find work closely with my head designer, Eric Stephon. Our read section consists our of the blog, which has housed a few guests but most posts are mainly written by me, as that is my passion. Writing. I am most known for my writing.

While I was in high school, I had many friends and even sometimes strangers, that would confide in me just so that I could express their feelings back to them through song or poetry. I have written many poems and songs for my friends in high school to help them cope with their emotions. My ability to empathize with so many different groups of people sets me apart as I am able to show my ability to relate to others in the message I send with my brand.

Who have you been inspired by?
I am heavily inspired by Auntie Shanel and my Mom. My Auntie Shanel was my main source of inspiration as a kid because she always shared her stories with me about things that she had seen and overcome. As a kid hearing stories of victory and watching her move with such strength and elegance, empowered me as a teenager dealing with so much and battling suicide and depression. I always felt that if she could have lived through all that she did and be there for me as an Auntie and a mom, then I can grow up and have a better future too.

My mom inspires me as a woman. Since I’ve gotten older my mother and I have grown a lot closer. As a child, I was unable to understand why I was in a foster home and held a lot of anger towards her for a while. Now, that she and I are closer and we have talked more and I’ve watched her transition into who she is today, she has become an inspiration of change and demonstration of love to me. My Mother has always been kind-hearted and knowing the trials she experienced in the past then watching her love as though she has never been hurt in the present, inspires the soul of who I am.

Pricing:

  • Adult T-Shirts range from $22 – $35
  • Kid’s Tees – $20
  • D.C.F.S. Poetry Book – $10
  • Keep it Vertical Swimsuits – $45
  • Keep it Vertical Phone Cases – $20

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Tymeshia Randolph

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