Shari’s Bon Bon Vie

Post by Kay

“The Bon Bon Vie lifestyle isn’t necessarily about material possessions, but rather self-love, pursuing your dreams, and celebrating your own personal joy. Bon Bon Vie is where fellow shirt addicts fulfill their graphic tee fix while expressing their individuality.”Thandie in bonbonvie.com

I came across Shari Neal‘s brand Bon Bon Vie when I had a ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ moment about her Brown Skin Lady t-shirt on Instagram. I DM’d her immediately and she kindly sent a t-shirt to Thandie in LA.

She’s a kindred spirit and it is our pleasure to introduce her to our readers…

 

I started Bon Bon Vie back in 2010 when I was working at a job I didn’t love. I needed a creative outlet and I decided to turn my love of graphic t-shirts into a business.

 

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The company name Bon Bon Vie was inspired by a funk song of the same name by T.S. Monk.

The lyrics really spoke to me, he sang about a job that was getting him down and he just wanted the good life. I wanted to make the “good life” my reality and inspire others to do the same. I wanted to build a life for myself I was happy to be living instead of just punching in and out and going through the motions.

That sentiment that rings true for me even now that I am married and have a 2-year-old daughter.

Belizean beginnings

My parents emigrated to the US from Belize, so I very much had the immigrant child experience. belize-country-map-1024My mom expected me to work hard, have impeccable manners, be responsible, get good grades and generally not do anything to embarrass our family, lol.

My older brother is also an artist and just as nerdy as me, so growing up we loved all things art and pop culture.We’d spend hours watching Michael Jackson and Prince videos and countless days exploring the city of Chicago, just riding the train, having photoshoots on the lakefront, walking and going to museums or the library.

I loved knowledge and read whatever books I could, the ones by black women authors really spoke to me. “For Colored Girls…” by Ntozake Shange is one of my all time favorites.

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I read “The Coldest Winter Ever” and “No Disrespect” by Sister Souljah more times than I can count. I probably checked out all of the books my local library had by Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez and Asha Bandele.

Sonia Sanchez (top) and books by Asha Bandele.

Sonia Sanchez (top) and books by Asha Bandele.

 

Future

In the short-term, I would like to keep adding new products and designs. I started out with t-shirts, but I now have mugs, bags and other things customers have expressed interest in. Shari's mugsWhat I’d like to do more of is collaborations with other brands and folks I admire. I have a few things in the works that I hope I can let out into the world very soon.

I just want to keep building and growing and hopefully inspire others in the process.

shari-and-maya

Shari and her daughter Maya

 

Follow Shari on Twitter and on Instagram

Totes in love with Shari's Totes

Check out the wonderful array of designs at BonBonVie.com

See more of our favourite slogan t-shirts here and Matriarchy Now slogan t-shirt here.

 

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