Today we’d like to introduce you to Donta “Trigga” Smith.
Hi Donta “Trigga,” so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
It all started when I formed the rap group G.M.B. (Get Money Brothers). My group members and I wanted to stand out with tee shirts with our logo. (which I designed) I went to a local print/press store inside Mondawmin Mall. After a few orders from the store, I figured I could save money if I got this equipment myself. We were also selling shirts at our shows and concerts. So that’s what it was. I did the G.M.B. shirts for about a year but wanted to do another project and not focus on the music. Even though the acronym H.O.P.E. is the song’s title, I wrote. It stands for “Helping Our People Eat. ” A positive message with positive images is dedicated to my mom, who passed in 2018, Mary Scott. She was a devoted mother, Christian, and community worker who was well involved with the neighborhood churches and did food drives on several occasions. You can say she was really “Helping Our People Eat.” All of the designs for my clothing are done by myself. I’ve also been doing graphic arts for the past 5 yrs. Hope Brand is in its 2nd yr and growing, and I have a website to order from, with strong plans of opening a store shortly.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s been a little of both. The clothing line business is new to me, so it’s all a learning process that I’m getting better at by the day. My biggest obstacle is finding a good, consistent, local clothing supplier since everything is printed and pressed by myself.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a Baltimore rap artist by the name of Dolla Bill. I’ve been writing, producing, and making music for over 10 yrs. I’m also known for being a graphic designer. Most of the event flyers and artist mixtape covers etc. that you see were probably made by me. What sets me apart from others is I’m doing all this work by myself. I work for Amazon as a day job, but when I’m not there, I’m designing, printing, pressing, delivering clothing to customers, or shopping for new garments for my brand.
How do you define success?
I’m 40 yrs old, and I remember when I was 35, I gave myself a 5 yr plan, and I said I would own a business by the time I was 40. I had no idea it would be clothing, but I succeeded. Success is my transition from street life, which I was heavily in, and turning it into a positive and becoming a young black entrepreneur.