Liberian Entrepreneurs In US Build Own Brand Out Of Darby

Cousins Solomon Zeon and Peace Kumeh are taking full advantage of the American dream.
The two Darby Borough entrepreneurs were just toddlers when they emigrated with their families from Liberia in the late 1990s, and just barely into their ‘20s they’ve started to establish themselves as musicians, fashion designers and even budding filmmakers.Although they’ve been making music years in the “hip-pop” genre before starting their The Royal Family brand —a nod to the fact that “everyone is royalty” — the move into apparel was a way to compliment and expand their music career.
“With The Royal Family we’re trying to make an enterprise,” said Zeon, dressed head to toe in his own Royal Family apparel complete with a pink hat and bold, spotless black and white shoes during a midday conversation. “We always loved and marketed more than just music with our brand. We just don’t want be known as musicians: we want to be known as a business.”
“It came as a means to get somewhere else with the music,” added Peace, who has released two mixtapes, completed a tour over the summer and is ready to release an EP. “Right now we have to find ways to push our music. Clothes is one way, film is one way.”
The multi-hyphenated duo dropped their first shirt and shoes back in July, the demand being large enough for their shoes that they had to stop taking orders. Now, their product line is increasing with their fourth shoe called the Royal Eclipse dropping next month. The shoes are designed jointly by Zeon and Kumeh and feature clean lines and bold contrasts of black, white and/or red.
Zeon describes himself as being all about fashion, looking to high end designers like Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen for inspiration.
“When I’m making a design I always want something futuristic … Everyone has an idea of how the future is going to look with flying cars and everything, so we try to bring the clothing for the future you could say,” said Zeon.
Apart from their shoes are shirts and caps, all noted for being accessible to consumers as athletic, high fashion and, yet, still casual fare. They call it athleisure.
Walking in the footsteps of successful businessmen like Jay-Z and Diddy who have long established their careers in music and fashion, Kumeh and Zeon said the way to reach those heights is to “create your own path.”
“We look at them and not necessarily what they’ve done, but what they could have done differently,” said Kumeh.
As if they weren’t busy enough making music, designing clothes, making commercials and music videos, creating branding materials and other business-related titles they can tack on, they also are dabbling in filmmaking. The pair has shot and are currently editing a short-form series called “Little Royals,” a take on the iconic “Our Gang” serials but featuring students from Penn Wood Middle School.
With success growing and a pending 20-city music tour nears, Zeon and Kumeh will have to adjust when their operations move to California in January to start attending the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, respectively.
Just barely out of their teenage years, they’re always on the grind to keep working and producing. It doesn’t seem to bother them that while others their age are partying and having a good time they work to expand their line.
“Right now, we’re probably not taking it all in like we should be. We look at each other like, ‘oh, we are doing good.’ There’s never time to sit back and say we’re doing great. We have this attitude of after the big thing what’s the next big thing, and the next big thing?,” said Kumeh. “If we keep going that’s how we’re going to reach where we want to reach. Then we can sit back and say, ‘yeah, we really did do it.’”
Zeon said he could have never achieved this type of success so young if he had stayed in Liberia, and that America is really all he’s known growing up.
“We want to show people we come from there, we didn’t just get locked into the American dream, we dreamed even bigger than that,” he said. “Even though we were sold on the American dream … if you’re coming from nothing, why not go to the top of the top?”
A Royal Family website featuring their apparel is forthcoming, but they can be reached on all major social media platforms with the username RoyalFamily967.

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