From the Bottom to the Top
Prison walls contain the body, not the mind, and Darrell Alston can confirm that. While growing up Alston definitely had a business sense; he started selling drugs as a teenager. Eventually, the law caught up with him and he ended up doing time in Graterford Prison. While in prison, Alston said his Mom told him if he wanted to be successful he had to start his own business. He said inside the prison gym one day he noticed a mural of boxer, Bernard Hopkins.
He would see that mural every day and he started to believe if Hopkins could overcome the odds, so could he. He said he knew it would be hard to find a job after being locked up, so he started sketching designs for sneakers. His Mom would send him how to books. After leaving prison, Alston started researching information about design and production. “It took a year to find a manufacturer who would deal with me,” he said.
Alston’s due diligence paid off, big time. He is now the proud owner of Bungee Raiment, a company that designs and sells sneakers, sweatshirts and hoodies. “Bungee is the opposite of what other companies are. I go after entertainers, most sneaker companies go after the athletes, but I’m different.”
Alston said one of his big business mistakes was, “I designed a summertime shoe in the summer and by the time it came back [from production] it was winter. I spent $30,000 on merchandise I couldn’t sell, very huge mistake on my part.
Reflecting on his time at Graterford, and understanding how difficult it is for excons to find work, Alston said, “I am not saying I will hire every convict from prison, but, if they are qualified, I will hire them. I have a big motivation to help people who walked the same path as me.”
He also had some sage advice for the young kids, “Make sure you set your goals at a young age and start pursuing them then. Don’t be afraid to start your own business. Go after what it is you want, and don’t be afraid to try it.”
This innovative entrepreneur is pitching his products by telling the readers of FunTimes Magazine, “I want everyone to go to bungeeofficial.com and order something, and if you mention you got the information from this magazine, I will give you 25% off your order.”