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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

Joueur Connects Psychology with Fashion

APPAREL: Clothing Brand Includes Nonprofit Foundation

SAN DIEGO – Clothing with a message is a popular fashion model, but that’s not what the local clothing brand Joueur is all about.

Launched directly in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, Joueur founder and CEO T.J.

TJ Harris
Founder & CEO
Joueur LLC

Harris says his line of apparel is about making a statement for the person in Joueur’s clothing or wearing a pair of its sunglasses or carrying a purse from the company – not for the person looking on.

Its motto is: “It’s In You, Not On You.”

Harris said his focus is on Black young people, who are at dangerous risk of developing PTSD, and quoted statistics from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that say that nearly 65% of black youth report traumatic experiences compared to 30% of their peers from other ethnic groups.

“Joueur is about restoring confidence and self-esteem into systemically deprived young adults,” said Harris, 26. “We’re focused on increasing confidence and self-image and leadership skills in that target this particular group. We are using fashion as a symbol of confidence and belonging in this group of people. We have an extremely innovative approach to not only the fashion world but also psychology. Combining these two has been extremely lucrative for the movement that we’re pursuing. We’re very mission driven, but it has been very receptive by the young people.”

The eCommerce company, which boasts a nonprofit arm in the Joueur Confidence Foundation, has seen 30% year-over-year growth.

Its top markets are San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas and Sacramento, Harris said, with more growth coming. He said the company is looking at 80% conversions.

“When we go out into the community and we talk to 10 people, we’re seeing eight of them share the same sentiments for the mission that we’re fighting and want to support,” he said.

Addressing Needs of Black Community

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harris called his upbringing, “extremely black and white.”

“I was able to see the psychological effects of marginalization and ostracization,” he said. “It was very prevalent in my life growing up young, so what I did very young was I committed my life to finding a solution for that and improving how this group of people thinks about themselves.”

After finishing his education at Arkansas State University, where he got a full-ride scholarship, studying physiology while playing football for the Red Wolves, he moved across the country to his father’s hometown of San Diego to pursue a career in either real estate or finance.

But after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he started to have second thoughts about those goals and started considering the plight of young people in the Black community and what their needs were.

“And then the George Floyd incident happened, and with the grasp that took on the world, it gave me a reminder of how prevalent this issue was and how this group of people needs a voice,” Harris said. “They need to be reminded more than just that they matter. They need to have a sense of self esteem and they need to have a sense of belonging, and that’s where I’ve dedicated my life.”

Harris said he studied physiology rather than psychology in school “because the message that is passed down to college athletes is that you cannot acquire a degree that will require more of your time than football.”

He said student-athletes with aspirations of holding an engineer degree, a degree in architecture, “things that actually matter outside of college football… are strongly discouraged to pursue those degrees.”

Calling his company a combination of psychology and fashion, Harris said Joueur is focused on the psychological effects that fashion has on confidence and esteem and a sense of belonging and putting that mix into underserved communities.

“The message is that it does not matter what you have on,” Harris said. “You matter, you are what’s special, and that is what our target group needs to hear. They have been fed that you have to have this designer image: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel in order for you to feel seen.”

He said the No. 1 desire of Joueur’s target group is, ‘They want to feel seen, they want to feel appreciated, they want to feel like they belong.”

Harris said it dates back to 1619, when a Dutch ship carrying about a dozen enslaved Africans landed in America.

“Since 1619, this group of people has forcefully been reminded that ‘You do not belong here, you are not the majority or a minority, you are an exception.’ And it has taken a huge psychological toll on the way we think about ourselves. And that’s why we are so mission driven. We are offering a solution to one of the most prevalent problems in this community. The solution is an increase in self-esteem in this group and an increase in a sense of belonging. Those are the solutions to eradicating this plight and that’s our focus.”

Foundation’s Mission

Nani Rose, chief operations officer of the Joueur Confidence Foundation, is working to ensure that the company is effectively fulfilling its mission to increase confidence, mental health, and leadership in underserved communities through education and resources.

Nani Rose
Chief Operations Officer
Joueur Confidence Foundation Inc.

She said the future of JCF includes educating minorities on mental health disparities, provide resources and confidence-building workshops and promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

“(We) will prioritize educating minorities about mental health disparities, aiming to reduce stigma and increase access to mental health resources within these communities,” Rose said. “Our foundation will offer resources like a free store, free therapy and creating confidence-building workshops. These resources are designed to empower individuals and provide them with the tools they need to thrive…. We aim to make a positive impact on the lives of minorities, empower them to overcome mental health challenges, and create a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Harris said some of Jouer’s biggest selling items are its handcrafted sunglasses as well as its purses. The company’s activist jacket has become a favorite as well.

“It’s a piece where we blend luxury and discreetness,” he said. “On the outside of the jacket it’s simplistic, it’s all black. But on the inside are activist images. They are images of revolution, taking a stance, making a statement.”

Harris said the company’s roots are from when he was in college in 2018 and created shirts with simples messages on them that he said, “took the campus by frenzy… everyone had to have the shirts.”

But Joueur is moving more in the direction of becoming a mental health hub for underserved communities. Harris said he is making a push toward technology “with VR glasses in in my head right now.”

“We are definitely working on frames that are able to offer comfort for our wearers,” Harris said.

Joueur LLC
BUSINESS: Clothing/Psychology
WEBSITE: joueurgalerie.com
CONTACT: 619-439-3771 or joueurfashion@gmail.com
SOCIAL IMPACT: Company seeks to restore confidence and self-esteem into systematically deprived young adults in underserved communities
NOTABLE: Founder T.J. Harris played outside linebacker for the Arkansas State football team during college


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