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Celebrating Small Businesses: Cuztumly Crafted’s Story of Perseverance and Positivity

Even after Small Business Month has concluded, we continue to celebrate the incredible impact small business owners have on our communities and economy. Today, we’re shining a spotlight on Cuztumly Crafted, a San Francisco-based apparel company founded by Darius Coleman. Darius’s story is one of overcoming adversity, finding passion, and giving back to the community.

Darius’s journey hasn’t been easy. Growing up in poverty, he struggled with addiction and incarceration. But with the help of the city and his own determination, he turned his life around. He started Cuztumly Crafted in 2021, fueled by his passion for design and his desire to spread positivity.

“I didn’t have a very positive upbringing,” Darius shares. “My designs were initially a way for me to bring positivity into my own life. A way to create positive self-affirmations for myself. I put them on t-shirts and people started noticing.”

Spreading Positivity Through Fashion

Cuztumly Crafted is more than just an apparel company; it’s a vehicle for positive change. Darius’s designs are inspired by his own experiences and his belief in the power of self-affirmation. His clothing features uplifting messages and unique designs that encourage people to embrace their individuality and believe in themselves.

“I want my business to be spreading positivity throughout the community,” Darius explains. “I want you to feel important in society, no matter where you started.”

Overcoming Challenges with a MAF Business Loan

Starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges. For Darius, accessing the necessary resources was a major hurdle. But with the help of a MAF Business Loan, he was able to secure the funding he needed to purchase equipment like his heat press and embroidery machine, expand his inventory, and take his business to the next level.

“It takes money to make money,” Darius acknowledges. “MAFs Business Loan helped me get the equipment I needed to turn my designs into reality.”

Embracing Community: Giving and Receiving

Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Darius has found invaluable support from organizations like Renaissance, the San Francisco Small Business Administration, and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). These organizations provide mentorship, training, and resources that have been instrumental in his success.

“The city has been beyond supportive,” Darius says. “Programs like MEDA reach out to you and literally hold your hand through the process.”

Darius is deeply committed to giving back to the community that helped him during his darkest times. He partners with local organizations to feed the unhoused and donates a portion of his sales to charity. He also offers discounted prices to those who can’t afford his apparel, remembering his own childhood desire for designer clothing.

“I’ve been blessed to overcome a lot of struggles, and I have to give back,” Darius says. “I have to be that example, have to be something positive in the community.”

Looking to the Future

Darius’s vision for Cuztumly Crafted is to one day have a brick-and-mortar store where he can employ people from his community and empower them to chase their dreams. He’s also committed to continuous learning and growth, always seeking out new ways to improve his business and give back to others. His journey and experience has led him to have valuable insights to other inspiring entrepreneurs: “The greatest part about this journey is each level taught me to believe in myself more,” says Darius. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to invest in yourself, ask questions, and never stop learning. He also emphasizes the importance of community support and giving back to those who have helped you along the way.

Celebrating Darius’s Achievements

During this Small Business Month, we celebrate Darius Coleman and Cuztumly Crafted for their inspiring story of perseverance, passion, and community impact. His journey is a testament to the power of small businesses to create positive change and uplift those around him. You can support Darius by sharing his story and checking out his business at cuztumlycrafted.com