Supplier in the Spotlight: Basic White Shirt

| By James Gleason

It's no surprise that A-list celebrities have a team of people dedicated to making them look beautiful. But who is dedicated to that team? In steps Basic White Shirt, a creative talent agency that represents the hair and make-up artists to the stars. 

Basic White Shirt In The Spotlight:

  • Name of business: Basic White Shirt, LTD.
  • Name of founders: 
ERodney Davis
  • Date founded: Feb. 2007
  • Date certified:
 July 24, 2017
  • Location of business: Brooklyn, NY
  • Number of employees: 6 

1. What is Basic White Shirt?

BWS is a creative talent agency representing a cadre of the world’s most sought-after celebrity makeup artists and celebrity hairstylists that help many A-list celebrities look their best. 

2. What were you doing before you founded your business? 

Before starting Basic White Shirt, I was working in fashion advertising and model castings in NYC.

3. How did you get the concept or idea for your business?

It found me! My friend and longest client, Sam Fine, asked me to manage his career. He trained me to be an agent and coupled with my own tenacity and prior experience, I excelled. Several referrals later, I realized I was running a business and started Basic White Shirt.  

4. What makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your field? 

We are a boutique agency, so artists feel they receive more personal attention. I've built a reputation of being very honest, so my clients trust me with their finances and can count on me to represent their brand in a professional manner. I was also trained as an artist, so I am able to book jobs from the perspective of the talent instead of just my own. 

5. What are your goals for your business?

Certainly, I hope to see a great amount of growth in terms of clientele and number of employees in the next 1-5 years, but it’s also critical that my clients continue to feel a sense of individual attention. I'd also like to get back into casting models for the various Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris, and Milan and open a men’s lifestyle store in the next 3-5 years. These are passion projects that would fit nicely under the Basic White Shirt brand umbrella.

6. How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your business, if at all?

Being LGBT has allowed me to meet a great many creative artists (hair, makeup, etc.) because we tend to be well-represented in the fashion and beauty industries, making it easier for me to make connections within these industries. In addition, being ingrained in the LGBT community has given me exposure to all things fashion and beauty, and I have developed a great eye for interiors (which will help a great deal in providing a stellar retail experience when I open my brick & mortar store).

7. How has being a Certified LGBTBE® through NGLCC impacted your business?

Immediately upon being certified, I was featured as an LGBT Certified Company on The Focus Group with Tim Benne and John Nash via their Facebook Live platform and YouTube channel (thanks to Mr. Brian Roman @ AdMark 360). Also, attending the 2018 NGLCC Business and Leadership conference last year really opened my eyes to the great number of resources available for small businesses. Overall I was inspired to be better, network more and take advantage of the available resources for LGBT businesses. It was an amazing experience, and I look forward to attending in the 2019 Conference in Tampa later this year.  

8. What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?

Save at least one year’s worth of expenses, be very budget-conscious, write a business plan and set very specific intentions on paper. Also, share your intentions with people you trust who will hold you accountable and help you stay the course. It takes a village and you’ll want to give up. Don’t! And lastly, align yourself with a great accountant, lawyer or financial advisor to help set up your business.

This blog post is part of a series celebrating Black History Month 2019 by highlighting the contributions of black LGBT business owners. Interested in having your Certified LGBTBE® in the spotlight? Email [email protected].