Blackfire, more than just a brand: a business


Annaliza Guard/The Record

Black Fire Clothing now sells its products in the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, located in the Campbell Student Union.

Annaliza Guard, Staff Writer

It would appear that, by the amount of people sporting a particular crewneck sweatshirt, a lot more students at SUNY Buffalo State have school spirit.

This can be attributed to the work of two very ambitious students that came together to create the Black Fire clothing line; available in the Barnes and Noble bookstore on campus.

Fashion textile and technology major Nubia Hill and business administration major Terron Grant can call each other friends… and business partners.

The idea was planted freshman year. The conversation started about school apparel and how it is so expensive for something so bland. There was a need for more fashionable school apparel.

“We wanted to make a better alternative,” Hill said, “something worth the buck.”

The line was launched their sophomore year, when they began selling their original design out of their dorm. They tried selling in the Campbell Student Union during Bengal Pause. However, they couldn’t get a table, so they sold right next to the tables.

These didn’t sell well.

They decided to try something different. Hill came up with an idea that would make the line stand out. This was the creation of the aesthetically pleasing signature crewneck that everyone seems to be wearing around campus.

“We launched a maroon and it sold out,” Grant said.

Hill, who designed the Bengal on the front of the sweatshirts, strayed from the boxy Bengal logo used for most Buffalo State apparel. She created more definition and color variation in the Bengal’s appearance and added a set of piercing blue eyes.

“I wanted to keep it realistic,” she said, “I like the true beauty of nature.”

In order to finally bring the line to the bookstore, they had to build up their presence.

After showcasing their line in the 50 Shades of Pink fashion show with the Fashion Students Association, people were starting to love the brand.

Grant started participating in United Students Government. This is his second semester as a representative. He has also received the honor of Senator of the Year.

President Katherine Conway-Turner took notice of the two and loved what they were doing. Her Chief of Staff, Bonita Durand, notified the school licensing representative, Jill Powell.

“She gave us a chance,” Grant said.

Over this past summer, they were licensed to be a Barnes and Noble vendor.

Hill and Grant are responsible for things the average student could not imagine at this time in their college life. They are now responsible for all things related to running a business, such as a business certificate, business insurance, and creating a business plan quarterly.

“We have to operate as a large entity, even though we’re just two people,” Grant said.

In addition to operating a business and trying to find a garment supplier to fill their demands, both students have worked to give back to their school in more ways than one.

Along with launching a Tumblr account for students, they have also done raffles, helped out with a Rate My Professor campaign to encourage students to use the site more, as well as given away Springfest tickets for who could dress up their signature sweatshirt the best.

“We want to do more than clothes,” Hill said

Black Fire presents itself as more than a brand. It is a business, but it also gives back to the students at Buffalo State. It is a brand “for the students, by the students.”


e-mail: [email protected]