Some may recall an online store profiting from using ZJ Spark’s image on T-shirts and other merchandise last year. It was a move the radio disc jock condemned, as the merchandise owners did not seek permission to use her image and had infringed on her copyright.
Fast-forward a few months, and Sparks has started her own T-shirt line.
A little more than a week ago, the disc jock capitalised on an opportunity that birthed from her commentary of the Miss Universe pageant last year.
Videos of her cheering Davina Bennett, second runner-up in the Miss Universe, went viral within hours, as the commentary was unusual and witty. Her ‘Yaaas Goodie’ and ‘Steam Fish and Okra Body’ comments in particular caught on quickly, and soon became slangs used to describe persons making boss moves and owning their confidence.
In an interview with THE STAR, Sparks said she was constantly being encouraged to start her own T-shirt line bearing the slangs ‘Yaaas Goodie and ‘Steam Fish and Okra Body’, but opted against it initially as it oftentimes easier said than done.
“My followers on Instagram and Twitter kept saying: ‘Sparks, you should go make T-shirts, we’ll support’, but I ignored them. Because nuff time people say dem want X, and when yuh do X, dem say a Y dem did want,” she said.
“They kept coming back, and so I said maybe they really want it. I then contacted my graphic designer. She’s Jamaican and I was looking for the right T-shirt distributor, and so I went to Cooyah. Cooyah is a brand that is synonymous with quality, and a lot of persons associate them with Jamaica and Brand Jamaica. We have the ‘Yaas Goodie’ line and the ‘Steam Fish and Okra Body’ line, and based on customer feedback, I’ll be rolling out some other stuff, but I don’t want to say what those will be just yet.”
Business is booming, according to Sparks, who revealed that she has had customers from countries including, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Nigeria. She is now thinking about having her shirts in stores islandwide.
“We’re working on some stuff now to get it out broadly across Jamaica. I want to thank everyone across the world for helping to get this movement going and for the support. They told me to make the T-shirts, I made them, and they’re actually buying,” Sparks said of the shirts that are being sold for US$20 (J$2,553) on Cooyah’s website.
The disc jock also revealed that part proceeds from the sales of the T-shirts will go towards the Davina Bennett Foundation, which caters to the need of the deaf.
“I’ve always been giving back, but I never made it public because me can’t bother with the excitement. But because everybody is so excited about this and the whole world knows. I see Davina doing her thing, [and], I said you know what, this is a really worthy cause and it deserves to be highlighted,” she said.
In addition to supporting Bennett’s foundation, Sparks will be using a portion of the funds to help children who need to improve their education and can’t afford it.