CHEK Upside: Student creates clothing business out of school project


When UVic business student Nelson Walusimbi was looking for a class project, Walusimbi went to his friends for an idea.

“I was having a conversation with some friends of mine who happened to be art students and they were going on about how hard it is to earn money from their art,” says Walusimbi.

“So I suggested to them that they print their art on clothing items.”

The only problem was breaking into the market, but Walusimbi vowed to help out.

“I realized that this is something that I had a little bit of experience in,” says Walusimbi. “It’s what I’m doing in school and so I suggested that we collaborate.”

21 Street Club was the result and it’s now a fully-fledged business that features young artists from across Canada.

“We are collaborating with artists exclusively in Canada,” says Walusimbi. “We’re having people reach out to us from Manitoba [and] we’re hoping to go as far as even Halifax.”

As for where the name comes from, it’s simple. Each design is only available online for 21 days.

“The artists wanted to create a little bit of exclusivity from their art pieces,” says Walusimbi. “We didn’t want to leave them on the website for too long as well as we would like to work with as many artists as possible.”.

The project has been helping many aspiring artists get their work out to a wider audience.

“It does help a lot, it definitely does,” says featured artist Cecilia Thompson. “I was questioning how to start putting myself out there, I’m like I don’t even know how to start….so it’s a great start for me.”

It’s also been a rewarding experience for Walusimbi, who was optimistic from the start about the project’s potential.

“I was really hopeful that it would work out and it’s going really well so far, so I guess my hope is justified in a way,” says Walusimbi.

For more information about 21 Street Club, visit their website.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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