Couples Inc. : Blair and Brandon Created Apparel brand, The Blairisms

Blair Dottin-Haley and Brandon Dottin-Haley are the owners of The Blairisms, a fashion brand that started off offering tee shirts and expanded into other apparel.
Their products, emblazoned with humorous, witty and inspiring phases, have quickly become recognized by the likes of En Vogue and D.L. Hughley.
We reached out to find out more about their journey as partners in life and in business.

SB: How did you both meet? 

Blair: We met online in early 2009 and spent the majority of the year communicating back and forth through different social platforms and instant messenger.

When we met in October, it wasn’t long before we realized that being together wasn’t as much of an option as it was a calling.

Not long after we officially started dating, Brandon (Bae) decided that it was a done deal, Blair agreed, and we were married a year later.

SB: What inspired the creation of The Blairisms?

Brandon: Blair had been churning out these quick life lessons for years. They usually came out during a conversation and he would realize that someone else could benefit from the message. The lesson would then be posted to Facebook and tagged #Blairisms.
Fast forward a few years and while at lunch with a friend, she looks at him and says “you know, if you put the Blairisms on t-shirts, people would buy them?”

A couple weeks later Blair and Bae put together mock ups of what the best 5 #Blairisms would look like on a shirt and began a week of pre-sales to test the market. Hundreds of #Blairisms sold in the first week, which let us know we were on to something.

Once we worked out the kinks and figured out how to get the product out quickly we focused on building our assortment and getting more customers.


SB: Describe your individual personalities and explain how they come together to make the business work.

Brandon: Blair is so New Orleans his grandmother has a street named after her downtown. Bae is the business-savvy operations expert.

Together we’ve tried to create a brand that represents who we are as individuals and what we feel our community needs.

The Blairisms reflects both of our vibrant, unapologetically Black-Queer personalities and passion for celebrating the truth. As any married couple knows, making a relationship work is work.

Making a business thrive in the midst of making the relationship work is a miracle.

SB: What has been the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial journey so far? What is the most gratifying?
Blair: One of the most challenging parts of being an entrepreneur is expecting to see all of our friends and family support our vision and business with their actions and words. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and it’s been tough to swallow.

Also, similarly to making our marriage work, the challenges we each have with each other show up in our work together.

We don’t surprise each other much when there’s a disagreement on how we should move forward with the business, it just becomes another process of working it out and coming to a peaceful compromise.

The most gratifying part has been sharing the success and experiences of a lifetime with each other.

This has been surreal on so many levels and the business has surpassed our expectations 10 fold so every day This keeps going, we feel more blessed and thankful that we’ve got each other to pinch.


 SB: What advice do you have for couples that are also business partners?

Brandon: Know your boundaries and make sure there’s balance. It can be difficult to stop working when you live with the person you work with so make sure you both understand how the other one works and when they need to take a break.

You have to hold each other accountable and make sure that roles and responsibilities are clear.

Pray for each other, pray with each other and be honest about what you’re feeling. This is a marathon and if you do it right, each day feels like you just won the race of your life.


See more The Blairism gear on their website.

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

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