Omar Bolden on Social Media, Branding, and Positive Living

Omar Bolden wearing the Hooded Haori by REINGE.

One, I am a fan of social media. I think social media is great. People who utilize it can reap true benefits. Especially if you learn how to monetize everything you’re doing, which I’m learning myself. With that being said, I think it influences everybody at some point. Back in the day, when I was younger, it was magazines and music videos to see what people were doing. Now it’s a blog or a person that keeps you updated every hour on what’s hot or not. It’s powerful.

REINGE (@reingeclothing) is trying to reach a certain audience, and I’m trying to reach every audience. You can reach people that you don’t even know. It’s fantastic.

With my brand, I’ll hear people mimic things I say. They try to say it the way I say it. It gives me a nice chuckle, but it lets me know that I’m reaching people. I’m trying to take full advantage of it.

In college, one of my academic advisors used to tell me “you are your brand.” He said it so much that I started to say it. So every time something happens to me, I tore my ACL in college and just decided to come back to school (I could left and went to NFL), so I was really it was a tough time. I was looking for anything to keep me positive and a friend was like, “Yo, why don’t you make a wristband.”

I bounced some ideas with a friend and came back to her with “positive living” on a band. As a gift, she went and got it made for me. One side said positive living, the other said LG (life’s good) which I was saying all the time. So I think I had one, showed my teammates and needed 10 more. I met a guy who worked for Wristband Connections, the manufacturer who created Livestrong bracelets. He called me excited and we made 100 bands. I took the LG off, and the Positive Living bands were printed and passed out to the team in 2011. At that time, Twitter was taking off and hashtags were just starting. I Tweeted #positiveliving.

People on campus started asking for the bands, and I realized I may have something here. I paid for a trademark after working with a lawyer.

It grew organically; I never wanted to sell bands for a profit, just the message. I try to look at things with a positive mindset, and wanted others to do that. I’m just trying to share positive energy.

You can control the way you react to things. You have full control over the mindset you attack challenges with, but that energy can have a snowball effect and create more problems. My friend tore his ACL 2 days before I tore mine. We had surgery the same day, but he couldn’t perform the same way on Pro Bowl. My situation could’ve easily gone the other way.

I don’t ever want to force anything. I go with the flow, but with direction.