Terrance Kendrick, performer, cultural explorer and owner of Lion Buttaz Products and Apparel specializes in celebrating cultures amongst the many name which we call our spirit. His products, fashion styles and apparel highlight our unique selves celebrate you, help you explore and take care of self while being comfortable and looking fly.
By LaMar Anderson | April 8, 2021 | 6:00am
Please tell us your name and your business’s name and about your business.
My name is Terrance ‘TK’ Kendrick, and my business is Lion Buttaz Apparel and Products. We specialize in healthcare and one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry.
How long have you been in business?
I’ve been whipping up the shea butter for about three years.
Tell us about Lion Buttaz fashion styles and apparel.
Yeah man, they say -[if] you want to be new you gotta go old, so we have a lot of cultural clothes, things that people, probably more recently, look at and call them “the MC Hammer drop” or “the performance pant” or something like that but I do a lot of overalls that are neutral colors or natural colors. A lot of tie-dyes, jumpers, pullovers, hoodies. I even have a few pants; I call the bi-fall look. But really, it’s just the checkered, different color patterns together where its different articles of fabric put together to create a masterpiece.
What was the inspiration behind the designs and style?
Well, we are one, ya nah mean. Everybody’s always openly selling Nike’s, Adidas, ya Nah mean, Filas, Puma. So I just took on the aspect of being cultural. I grew up in all different kinds of religious understanding, drumming, and dancing. I like culture. When I see these products [Lion Buttaz], the styles are more neutral to everybody. Nobody feels excluded when they come in this booth. Anybody can find something for them inside this booth; they just got to be open to it.
Do you design all the fashion?
No, I don’t design all of the fashion, but sometimes I have a little input on like the colors, maybe the patterns or different nuances, not necessarily the actual material.
Did you grow up in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles?
Nah, It’s funny. Well, I grew up in my adult life. Once I graduated from college, I came here in my adult life and started dipping and dabbling in more cultural ideas.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia; I came out here from Nashville, Tennessee, where I went to college. So after college, I came out here and started exploring self.
How long has Los Angeles been home for you?
Almost ten years.
Is it feeling like home? Are you calling it home?
Well, it’s home. Home is where the heart is, you know, my heart is here. I love being close to the beach, five minutes, haha.
Did your journey into entrepreneurship start with Lion Buttaz Apparel and Products?
Well, it started with Pape Diouf [master drummer/teacher], he gave me my first table. I do a lot of drumming, dancing with him, performing, we were always wearing these types of clothes. He told me to set up and do business, and I have been doing it ever since.
When did you start?
2014, I was selling books my uncle wrote. So, I still got some books. We got Trappers on the table right now, but the book I was selling was a book of quotes called Flashlights [by @crazymeflashlights].
What fueled your desire to move to Los Angeles?
I was coming to explore self, you know, connect my roots. I had a lot of connections in California, but I think LA is more international than Nashville and Atlanta. Atlanta is growing for us, but for overseas and things of that nature to have an export-import business; you think of East Coast-New York. You don’t necessarily think of Georgia cause Georgia is not by a port other than Savanna and stuff like that; Atlanta is inland.
When you come to LA, a lot of things are being imported; you know what I mean, you can understand the export-import business. These are the things they don’t teach you in school. They don’t teach you trade. I was yearning for that understanding. So I came out here and expanded it.
You received the support of your drum teacher, Pape Diouf; what about from family and friends?
Man, my mom is my biggest supporter; she goes hard for me. She’s down there in Tennessee and has a daycare. We sell shea butter; it’s all hand whipped. A lot of kids come in with skin rashes, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, things like that; we give them a lot of different
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We’re putting a lot of different products in there, like one-of-a-kind jewelry, a lot of different clothing, the tye-dyed jumpers is a big thing right now, because people like to feel unique. Even though they want to be comfortable, they want to be fly. You know what I mean, and that’s what these clothes give you.
So entrepreneurship has been a part of your family and is the source of influence?
Yeah, my mom, grand-mom, dad, haha.
What does Leimert Park mean to you on your journey over for the last ten years in Los Angeles?
Like I said, man, I am into the cultural aspect of everything. So I feel like these clothes are a representation of us, you know. Not from the perspective of somebody owning them, but the perspective of, you got the Buddhist on the block, the Muslims, the Moors, the Hebrews, you know what I mean, the regular folks, Martin Luther King people, everybody out here. When people see this [apparel], it don’t matter what your spirit is calling at the end of the day. You come here with a free spirit to receive whatever this is.
They see the meditative wax pants they be like -yo man, that’s dope, I am with that, I understand yoga, yoga’s cool I am going to add that to my life. Sometimes they see the Mandinka, Mandela, or the OM symbols, you know, whatever speaks to your heart. I was having a conversation about sacred geometry because a lot of people see the circles in stuff. I was like, the circle is older than you know. We have a drum circle, but when people gather in a circle, that’s storytime, and different information is being passed, and that’s the sacredness behind the circle, you can see it, and it’s infinite.
What advice could you give to other entrepreneurs looking to come out and do what you do?
I would say, just do it, man. Do it and invest back in yourself. A lot of times, people do it and don’t see the return. It’s because you go to stay in there. Don’t give up, haha. It’s hard-working for yourself. It’s hard when someone isn’t telling you -you gotta get here by 5 [AM], yo know, haha. If no one is ever telling you to get up and go to work, you know, you gotta o it for yourself. You got to want to do that; you got to feel it. If you don’t feel it, man, do something else because, at the end of the day, I feel it. I look forward to the weekend; I look forward to seeing my people happy.
As an entrepreneur, there is enough for everybody. To all the young entrepreneurs out there, like I said, don’t give up. One of the biggest things that I see that people deal with is the factor that there is enough for everybody. If it’s over five million people here and I am only selling shea butter, you are selling shea butter; if I get one hundred thousand people, do you know how many hundreds of thousands of people that can invest in the same business.
So we go to stop thinking so small we got to think bigger than that. If all I need is one. So if you buy from me once, buy from someone else the next time, but if you want to come back to me, I appreciate that. We got to stop thinking small like -I got somebody that does shea butter. Nah, bro, when you finish with that one, support me [then] I support you. Because what we are doing is looking at our economic situation grow, I invest in you, and hopefully, you take that investment and invest it back in yourself to where you can grow.
What are you excited about this year?
For myself personally, I am about to go to Africa next month, and I am excited for the journey of enlightenment, love, and light, and truth and transformation, you know. I think those are a lot of things I am looking forward to in my journey and exploring fashion.
In business, man, just growing. I got my partner Richie right here. Richie is a young African American male out here just sharpening his tools. You know, A lot of times in school, we don’t get these opportunities to understand or be an apprentice. He’s gaining a lot of knowledge that a lot of people don’t gain by not having a business or doing business. He’s nineteen, so we got a ten-year gap; inside that ten-year gap, he’s able to ask questions and close that gap; you see what I am saying to take it [knowledge] and elevate the game and take it to the next level. Someone gave me the game with the shea butter; I just took it to the next level.
How can we connect with Terrance Kendrick and support Lion Buttaz?
You can go to www.dabuttaz.com, or you can go to lion_buttaz on Instagram, or you can hit me up personally at 678-270-7698. I am serious about the business, so if you call me, you already know what we are talking about Big TK.
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