Long before Terron Ward became a professional football player for the Atlanta Falcons, he conceived the birth of a brand that would outlast his career in football. Ward and best friend/business partner Malcolm Marable were the dynamic duo on the field at Oregon State University. But off the field the two friends developed J2N—a streetwear clothing brand that resonated in the community both on and off campus. “We always had an eye for fashion…we just decided to create our own brand together. All the athletes around campus gravitated towards it and before we knew it just took off,” said Ward.
But Ward and Marable wanted J2N to represent something more than just high quality fabric with a logo. They visualized a movement, a lifestyle and a legacy meant to inspire every individual that wears their brand.
“Live Life Confident” is a lifestyle the J2N owners encourage others to embody. For those who rock the J2N brand, Ward and Marable conveniently remind you to embody this movement by leaving a friendly reminder inside the tag. “We believe confidence is the missing element to everyone’s success. Inside our tags we put “Made for the Confident” because we want you to feel that way genuinely from the inside out,” explains Ward.
But Ward understands it takes time and dedication to fully embody confidence in whatever it is that you do. He reveals a few times when his confidence was put to the test–both on and off the field–and how he persevered. “After college, I wasn’t drafted into the NFL. I had to try out to join the Atlanta Falcons. I knew I belonged in the NFL but I had to prove that to everyone else. I was no longer the best on the team… which, for a long time had become a comfort zone of mine. But at training camp I was surrounded by the best of the best in the country. I had to readjust my thinking and strengthen that confidence that had been there all along.”
After his time with the Falcons ended, Ward began to focus solely on building J2N and spreading their movement. But transitioning from sports to fashion opened up another door of growth for him. Something he continues to learn more about everyday. “I just had to really study and do research on this industry. But honestly I’ve learned so much just from trial and error. Now I know what not to do, or how to do it better next time. I’ve learned so much from Malcolm (Marable) and also our consumers as well. Their feedback is what pushes us to go harder. Because this is who we do it for.”
In 2011 as Oregon State Beavers, Ward and Marable’s sole focus was to be the best players on the field. Today, almost ten years later their focus is to no longer be the best but to build a legacy that transcends into something that’s bigger than themselves. “One thing I’ve learned since transitioning into this industry is that it’s not always about quality or who did it best. It’s really about how you market. We take notes from the best but we always add our own twist to it. You don’t have to recreate the wheel…you just have to make it your own.”