Tony Galloway is more commonly known by a different name: DJ Standout — the Billboard-charting DJ and producer has traveled around the world to perform shows. A devout Christian, Tony’s music lies primarily in the intersection of hip hop and gospel. Before his time as a DJ, though, Tony had a knack for moving crowds with positivity and upliftment in a different way: as an athlete. It was during his time playing basketball in college that he learned the ropes of producing in a studio.
He went on to find renewed purpose in his craft when he had the opportunity to combine his passions for sports, music, and his faith by deejaying for Athletes in Action — a faith-based sports camp. Soon enough, he would find a new passion and purpose entirely: creating his own apparel line, Made To Standout. Tony says the idea for this uplifting streetwear brand first came to him during his time performing. At his sets, he came across a need: apparel for himself and his audience that would actually mean something to people.
Tony never wanted to make clothes that just had his face or branding on it, as many of his favorite athletes and artists do. He wanted something that sent a universal message to anyone, even if they didn’t know who DJ Standout was. Tony also knew he wanted to help people come to the same realization that he had throughout his life: that everyone is created for a unique purpose, and there is joy in simply being yourself.
And in that, Made To Standout was born — athletic-style apparel that displays uplifting sayings like ‘Created, Chosen, Gifted’, and more. When COVID-19 struck and all of Tony’s shows were cancelled, it was the perfect time to really dive into building and expanding his brand. Now, Made To Standout is growing fast and helping to encourage people of all ages to step into their self-confidence, individuality, and purpose.
Our team at Buzzbassador interviewed Tony about Made To Standout, his startup story, and his experiences as a Black business owner. Read along below for the full interview.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What inspired you to start Made To Standout?
A fun fact about me is that I am a DJ who travels around the world doing sets. Going to different shows, I knew I wanted to create an apparel line that meant something to people. I was never one of those people that just wanted to wear a shirt that had my favorite artist’s face on it or my favorite athlete on it, so I was never interested in creating that either. I wanted something that sent a message to my audience, even if they never knew who I was or had never even heard of DJ Standout.
One day I got this idea of creating my apparel line, Made To Standout, when reflecting on the journey of my life. There was so much time that I spent in my life wrapped up in the identity of being an athlete, or thinking that I had to play a certain type of music to be a successful DJ, or comparing myself to others. But, I eventually was able to find so much peace and joy in just realizing that God had created me to be myself. That’s what inspired me to create this brand – I wanted to encourage that self-confidence and individualism in others.
At first, I mostly sold the apparel at shows, but last year when COVID-19 caused all of my shows and tours to be canceled I realized that there was an opportunity to spend more time really diving into the expansion of the brand. It allowed me the space to develop what the brand really meant to me, which gave it such a more meaningful existence. Being home so much, I also was able to really involve my wife and kids, which took the brand beyond just my own ideas. So although the idea for Made To Standout started years back, I saw the real launch of it last year.
It’s Black History Month! Why is this month important to you?
Black History Month is important for all of us. While growing up, I didn’t even realize what I do now, which is that there is so much history I had not been taught. There have been so many important achievements and sacrifices made by Black people against all odds. Learning about that history and remembering it allows us to have a healthy perspective on our current world, and it gives us an appreciation for those people who fought to pave the way for the freedoms that we currently have today.
In what ways would you like to see the community show up for Black businesses this month (and always)?
I would love to see the community pour more resources into Black businesses. When the community comes together and supports each other, it allows our businesses to use those resources to help others in our community as well. It is a beautiful thing to see people come together and truly support the people and the businesses they believe in!
What are some of the biggest challenges Black and brown communities must overcome to launch their own businesses, and what advice do you have for them?
I think one of the biggest challenges is that a lot of us do not have people that look like us to look up to in terms of successful business owners. I once had the opportunity to sit down with Robert Smith, and in just that short amount of time I had my vision expanded so far on what was achievable. Imagine if achieving success was the norm of the people around you? All of a sudden, your default vision is that you will achieve success. My biggest advice is to not let your current situation dictate what your future will look like. Relegating yourself to ‘only this’ or ‘only that’ will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you let it.
Who is a Black entrepreneur or public figure that you look up to — dead or alive — and why?
This is a great question. There are quite a few that I could name. The person that first comes to mind is someone people may or may not know: Pastor Mike Todd. I look up to him because of the way that he has handled his success. He has not let his success consume him; instead, it has just been a byproduct of him fulfilling his purpose. I have seen him turn down enormous opportunities to be with his family, or turn down opportunities to fulfill other obligations that are not nearly as “attractive”. Those are rare and admirable qualities in a successful person.
Last question, specifically for the Buzzbassador community: in what ways has your brand ambassador program helped to grow your business?
Buzzbassador has been amazing because it has connected me with so many people that really want to help build the brand. It also gives me a way to include those people in my team. In the ambassador application form I built with Buzzbassador, I ask why people are interested in being a brand ambassador and how they want to help grow our brand. This has really helped me see why people support my brand, which has meant a lot. I am excited about all the ways I will continue to build a community with the connections that Buzzbassador has helped cultivate.
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. History. Our Buzzbassador CEO, Calvin Waddy, says Black History Month is a great time to reflect on his favorite topic — entrepreneurship — and how it intertwines with the trailblazing done by generations of Americans from Black and brown communities.
“Black entrepreneurs are a crucial part of Black history and American history in general,” says Waddy. “Black Americans have been defined by a spirit of creativity and innovation since the beginning of our time in this country, because we as a community have time and time again been forced to break down barriers and find our own way out of difficult situations. Black entrepreneurs have invented some of the world’s most cherished products and most powerful companies.”
That entrepreneurial spirit is not only a part of Black history, but also a part of the American story still being written today, evidenced by the growing number of amazing Black-owned businesses that are a part of our economy. In fact, the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs in America is Black women. Even here at Buzzbassador, we have the privilege of working with many Black founders daily as users of our app.
We want to celebrate this special month by highlighting some of those founders and their companies, while encouraging our readers and social followers to support Black-owned small businesses, both through shopping and sharing — not just this month, but always! Follow along to learn about 6 Black business owners across a range of industries, their startup stories, and what Black History Month means to them.
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