What started as an ambitious 11-year-old renting out his Nintendo Gameboy in school for ten cents a play has turned into a man on his way to building an apparel empire.
This is the story of Jamar Odwin -co-owner of the apparel brand odBoih and Azure Studios- a graphic design company from Barbados.
“I was the only person with a Gameboy Color at school and the only game I had was Super Mario. In the game, we had three lives and if they wanted to play Super Mario, they paid me ten cents for each life.”
The 29-year-old told BUZZ that he started his company while he was attending Queens College school ten years ago.
“The idea for the shirts started when I was in school, I had to design some shirts for the volleyball team and track team and that’s where I got my first start. It was called Odwin Designs at that point and then I went to Barbados Community College, and I met Daniel Nicholas who became my business partner and we rebranded and that is how we had odBoih.”
Since then, his business has grown with him drawing inspiration from Barbadian life and culture.
“Our inspiration doesn’t come from anyone place- it literally comes for us from any and everywhere. Offbeat type images, ideas, designs, Barbadian life and culture, sports…[everywhere].”
Over the years Odwin has extended his reach outside of Tees, his most recent additions are the popular slides and other branded pieces includes mugs, hoodies and beach shorts.
Odwin told Buzz that though his online store has been seeing steady sales over the years he hopes to one day have a physical store.
“There is something about a storefront. You walk in and get a feel about what the brand is really about before having a conversation with anyone.”
Navigating COVID-19 for the odBoih team was difficult but Odwin said with the support of his customers throughout the lockdowns they found very favourable responses from clients.
“odBoih was always built on relationships. It was always a conversation, so the relationships that we have formed have played an integral role in our journey. This is what allowed us to stay inspired despite everything.”
Odwin is now running odBoih full time despite COVID-19 however he said that he is not averse to working for other persons. “For me, you never stop learning. There is stuff you can learn from being immersed in other businesses.”
For the near future, Odwin is hoping to pursue his MA in Business Administration while he works to build a legacy.
odBoih tees and other branded pieces can be purchased through the business’ Instagram page @theodboihwayoflife or on the website for Bajan brands www.marcocourtney.com