For Josh Roth, co-owner of BeyondNightLife, a key foundation in branding a business is finding the balance between consistent social media presence and actively establishing strong in-person connection with the people and community around you.
“I’ve always been comfortable talking to anyone,” Roth said. “It’s always been something that I’m good at and I use to promote ‘BeyondNightLife.’”
The duo often host pop-up shops on VCU’s campus as well as venues through Richmond, like the Hippodrome or Aroma Cafe. If you’ve been on VCU’s campus long enough you may have seen both Roth and Joshua “Jsmoove” Olverson, the other co-owner of BeyondNightLife, on campus during these events as they easily navigate and brand BeyondNightLife between various social circles.
Whether promoting an event hosted by their company or getting the word out about a non-affiliated event, it’s clear that the principle of valuing in-person connections as much, if not more, than social media branding is central to their nascent business model.
BeyondNightLife was created in May 2016 and the pieces are personally picked and curated by the owners.
Their Instagram and website showcase a mesh between urban influenced modern styles with more vibrant, vintage-esque pieces reminiscent of the flashy aesthetics seen during the golden-era of hip-hop.
Roth, a Junior pursuing a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Entrepreneurship and Media Studies said that the creation of BeyondNightLife was, more or less, a natural progression.
“I definitely grew up an entrepreneur. I would always go out to thrifts to find stuff to sell,” Roth said. “When I was in high school used to sell shoes and flip them on craigslist and Facebook.”
Roth said he then created a Facebook page during his junior year of high school which amassed 5,000 members within three months. He did it because he liked it and also needed money for college. The Facebook business which Roth created in his hometown of Newport News, however, didn’t transfer to VCU right away.
“I took a break my Freshman and Sophomore years and was more about partying and having fun in college,” Roth said. “We started to seriously pursue a business not only because of money but because going out does get old and I wanted to look towards bigger things. ”
While taking a break from selling clothes and shoes, Roth was actively promoting for club events in the Richmond area. This real life experience, in addition to his academic studies, has helped in promoting for his own business and also connecting with the local Richmond area to host events like the one Beyond NightLife hosted on Saturday April 28, More Life, More Talent.
For Roth, the event was about showcasing, like the title suggests, the talent among VCU Students and Richmond locals alike. It also gave people something else to do besides going out at night.
“I’ve always wanted to host some type of event,but it wasn’t until recently I felt prepared enough to do it,” Roth said. “So one day Smoove and I were driving around and looking and clothes and thought to host an event with music, food, clothes – a good time. We want to connect VCU with Richmond”
Though the weather was a sweltering 90 degrees, the lawn in between Sweet Frog and Cafe 821 was packed with students and locals alike — collectively listening to the slew of rappers, singers, poets, comedians, DJ’s and musicians and watching a live painting at one point.
There was an interactive contest where audience members danced in light competition to Cali Swag District’s, “Teach Me How to Dougie” in order to get a free concert ticket to the Lil Uzi Vert show on May 12 at the Altria Theater. A little later, VCU based rapped, Kemal “Mally Black” Davis performed a rap on a live beat produced by VCU student, Abel Berhane.
There were several vendors present including VCU based, “The Virgin Bar.” Emily Wang helped organize the event and reached out to reached out to local artists,like CalleyCoastal a company that sells handmade jewelry. Devin Garnett, a Richmond native, was selling his paintings and Marc Craven, also a Richmond local, who displayed his illustrations and graphic designs for purchase, were also contacted by Wang.
Garnett described his painting as “universal,” and rejects the traditional idea of what a painter is and how a painter can pursue their work.
“I can paint fine art or I can paint more urban styles influenced by my dreams,” Garnett said. “Richmond is ideal of these type of things people are interested in culture and art.”
In recent years Richmond has garnered a lot of national attention for a thriving community based culture based in art, music, small business and politics. Roth is aware that the city has something for anyone and as a young person with a small, but steadily growing, business the “river city” is an ideal place to be.
“Richmond is full of music, fashion, all of that, and people who want to collaborate on something and people want to get everyone’s work out there.” Roth said. “We just tryna make it out here.”
At the moment Roth said that he and Olverson are interested in planning more events but are taking it week by week. The duo just started a women’s line and are looking to expand their clothing options over the next few months.
“I try to be humble and just work step by step,” Roth said, “Even if you don’t have a set vision yet, the key in whatever you do or want to do is that you have to believe you’re capable of doing it.”
Siona Peterous, Spectrum Editor