YEM Interview: Learn about the inspiration for the Heart Blaster brand

Heart Blaster is a youth and young adult brand with a mission to bring awareness, communication, and consciousness to social issues that create barriers for all of us in the world today. The brand was founded by Sophillia and her daughter Janelle. YEM was able to speak with Sophillia about the inspiration behind the Heart Blaster brand, if they have intentions to collaborate with other businesses, and advise those who want to start their own business one day.

Young Entertainment Mag: What exactly is the Heart Blaster design meant to represent?

Sophillia: Our Heart Blaster Logo Design is a symbol of unity and respect for all people. When you wear the Heart Blaster design, you are representing a visible commitment to yourself, to create a world that is equal, and nurtured through advocacy in our daily lives.

YEM: What does “Heart Blaster” mean? Is it a play on “heartbreaker?”

Sophillia: Heart Blaster means, to live a life spreading love and helping others. It means that you are living with intention and consciousness. Heart Blaster wants to inspire you to be a good human and to spread positivity through the interactions we have with each other every day. Whether it is in our home, school, at the grocery store, donating our time, giving a compliment, finding a cause, helping someone with homework, advocating for people in our personal lives, or in a protest. It is a collective effort to ensure that we are all moving in a direction for more peace and a supportive environment. It is very much the opposite of “Heartbreaker”.

YEM: Since your tagline is “made by good people for good people”, how do you define good?

Sophillia: I think knowing the kind of person we all want to be is important. Good is the energy you put into the world that makes a great impact for the better of humanity. Sharing good values and morals that create equal spaces, equality, and opportunity for all people. Good is showing up for each other. Good is important, and it is something we have to keep building on.

YEM: Are there plans for there to be more blog posts on your website considering that currently, there is only one?

Sophillia: Our blog is there for authentic publications that are written by Heart Blaster, and for students we work with. We have two websites, Heartblasterkids.com, and Heartblaster.com (juniors) they each have a publication. Our goal is to definitely keep growing our blog space. As a small business and because our mission is so important to align with the right people, we are not in a hurry to push out blog publications. Heart Blaster will organize a blog contest for youth writers later in the year. We would have liked to share this sooner, but we have projects that we are currently building out for summer. Our blog is meant to amplify the voices of the youth. We are always open to support the young writers and free expression.

Anyone who is interested can email us at [email protected]

YEM: On the “Events” portion of the Heart Blaster website, there are a number of events that are listed from 2018, but nothing since then. Are there any plans to schedule more events since the pandemic is slowly wading?

Sophillia: Events are important and we have missed them a lot. Being able to bring a lot of people together in support of our mission is always a blessing. Human connection is a must. Our last event was Summer of 2019. We did a collaborative community event with Hometown Bowl, in South San Francisco, and we partnered with another brand. This was a circus themed event, Back to school, runway, youth vendors, and a youth DJ, it was amazing! Our events page is on our list for updates for Heart Blaster Kids. We are missing a couple of good ones, including a bone marrow drive for a beautiful girl named Maddie. Head over to our events page at Heartblaster.com and check out upcoming events. There you will find information for Teentopia! The biggest and first ever summer music and arts festival for exclusively for teens ages 13-19. Hosted in Norco, California, June 25, 2022 by First Class Events. Heart Blaster is an Official Sponsor for this event. We are also a proud sponsor of our Official Brand Ambassador for this event, Kaitlyn Reyes , DJ K Sprinkles (@djksprinkles) from Dallas, Texas. Heart Blaster will have a huge presence at this event, from K Sprinkles Live Performance, A digital animation video produced by digital media company OBSDN, VIP Bags, Press, etc. This is 600 acres of bliss and 5,000 teenagers in one space. You can find our logo in the lineup, and under Sponsors. For things related to covid, we feel it is important for everyone to make the best personal medical decisions for themselves.

https://www.teentopiamusicfest.com/venue/

YEM: While this organization means to support minorities, how much input is there from these groups into designs? Are people allowed to suggest potential products?

Sophillia: As the owner of this organization, and head designer, I am a minority woman. I come from a very diverse background of Mexican, Native American, Filipino, and Spanish/Portugese. I grew up poor, I have been discriminated against, I was a teen mother, and I have had to work really hard to be where I am. That is not even half of it. My team is small, but I am always creating new opportunities for people who want to work with Heart Blaster. My door is always open to new creators who fit the needs of the project. Right now we are working with:

JC @jc.sundayart – Graphic Artist, Illustrator on a new zodiac collection for Heartblaster.com. JC is an incredible artist. He was born in the Phillipines and has only been in the US for a few years. He won a plane ticket to the US from an art contest and has been building a life here ever since. Our Zodiac collection is a collaborative project and it was is way for Heart Blaster to help JC get his own brand out there.

Susy Moreno Rosales @prudenciadesignsbysm – Fashion Designer and originally from El Salvador. Susy is a long time friend of mine and we worked together in San Francisco in our twenties. Susy studies fashion design at the College of San Francisco and attended the SF Academy of Arts. Susy is currently working with Heart Blaster on the Custom Limited Denim Jacket Project. This project is set to release end of summer so stay tuned!

TYKE @tykewitnesawr – Tyke Witnes painted his first graffiti piece in 1988. He was influenced by his older brother who introduced him to a subculture of art, which at the time was underground, rare, and mysterious. Tyke Witnes was based in California and started doing

graffiti art in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles. But a few years later relocated to Orange County and continued his passion to create new and more graffiti.

Project Level – Is a youth organization from San Francisco.https://www.projectlevel.org/about

Founded in 2012, Project Level is a groundbreaking, socially active non-profit program that nurtures the creative needs of at-risk and underserved Bay Area inner-city youth. Our team is dedicated to providing a safe, experiential learning environment where youth can freely express themselves through the arts. Learn more here https://www.projectlevel.org/about

Project Level, youth leaders and students are working with Heart Blaster in an entire photoshoot production for our Zodiac and Denim Project. We meet every Friday at 4 pm. Our first meetings were based on getting to know Heart Blaster, (if the students had not worked with us before). I shared my creative process with the team, and introduced the project. We talked about organization, and the overall vision for this project. We are now building out moodboards, style, makeup, hair, and logistics around our photoshoot. The students are excited to put on this production and learn from each other.

VAL WOW – @valwiththevision Val’Dionna. Youth Photographer and Project Level Photography Department. Val is a young photographer on the rise. She is always working with Project Level youth for anything related to photography. I love her style and her commitment to the students. We have worked on small projects before, but this is our first big production, and I am excited that we are finally collaborating. Val’s work has been published in Footlocker, Sidewalk Juice, Puma, iHeartRadio, T.U.K Footwear, and Forever 21.

Ms. Lee Designs and Phil Emerson Photgraphy

@mslessdesigns @philemerson @wafflehowse wafflehowse.com

This Photography duo have worked with a lot of Bay Area favorites like, E40, Cookies, etc. They are amazingly skilled photographers with beautiful vision, energy, and the most kind hearted humans to work with. They will be working along side Heart Blaster and donating some of their their time to help mentor our students from Project Level. Helping working hands on with all things photography, creative directing, and lighting. Having these two on our team is a blessing and will elevate our shoot to the next level.

Makeup By Stephanie @makeupbystephanie_ / makeupbystephaniesolano.com

Self taught makeup artist and licensed esthetician, and certified brow specialist. Stephanie Solano has been working with Heart Blaster since 2018. Stephanie has worked with us for special events and photoshoots. I trust her work and her ability to always align with my vision. She kills it every time. We have grown to be good friends and i highly recommend Stephanie for any occasion. Our next shoot is all about the makeup and we are shooting for a very fun and futuristic vibe.

Everything is strategic with Heart Blaster, and always in the best interest for everyone involved. Listening to our community is important. As we grow there will always be new opportunities to incorporate that is supportive and identifies with different minority groups. Suggestions are important as we grow and collaborate more. We always want to make sure we represent all people correctly, and not through cultural appropriation. So we have to grow organically and thats ok.

YEM: According to sources, Heart Blaster is a family-run company between mother and daughter. How do you collaborate as a team and how do you resolve disputes?

Sophillia: Heart Blaster was co-founded by my daughter Janelle when she was 6. Our Logo for Heart Blaster Kids is her actual handwriting. She has done photoshoots and events with lots of other kids. Her last one was last August. Janelle is a normal teenager, now almost 15 years old. She will be the first one to tell me she does not like a design and often she and my other kids are my inspiration. If Nel or my other 3 children do not want to be a part of a project, I always honor their feelings, and I am excited about the next time they might want to join me. My son Vincent (24) created and refined our Heartblaster.com logo. He is a college grad from Parsons School of Design. He has hosted an online graphic design workshop for Heart Blaster with the students of the Mid-Peninsula Boys and Girls Club during covid. My daughter Yasmeen (19) is always my beautiful assistant and organizer for events or shoots, and Ava (8) rocks HB Kids every day! So we do not ever dispute about Heart Blaster, but just normal family disputes haha. Mommy runs the company and I appreciate the kids for what they do contribute. The most important part of what we do is honor our mission every day, in our daily lives, because that is what matters.

YEM: What is your favorite Heart Blaster product either existing or yet to be produced?

Sophillia: Our favorite product to date is our new Lip Balm and Tint Collection. It is the coolest collection, adorable packaging, eco-friendly, organic, 100% biodegradable, and an amazing high quality product. The Tints are unscented and naturally tinted. The Balms are colorless with gorgeous natural scents. I am so proud of the work that went into this project because I had no idea where it would take Heart Blaster. I had no intention of creating cosmetics but I have a beautiful friend @cykosmetics and I absolutely knew, we could create something amazing together. Thank you, Crystal. CyKosmetics is a mom and daughter company and black-owned. I am a creator and I enjoy challenges and that is how I went into this project. Heart Blaster Lip Balms and Tints just had its first print and digital media publication with Girls Life Magazine, and we are being considered for an award. I am so grateful and proud of us. Try it! Its so good!

YEM: Are there plans for other products apart from the wardrobe and educational items?

Sophillia: Starting May through Summer we are releasing Black and White Heart Blaster Slides in three different variations, Our LIMITED Denim Graffitti Jackets, and a really dope Zodiac Collection. This product will be (Juniors) at Heartblaster.com. Heart Blaster is a Lifestyle.

YEM: What was the inspiration for the Heart Blaster brand?

Sophillia: Its hard to put it all into words. I am inspired by many things from my own personal experiences, by my children, by the youth that I work with, and by advocates and leaders who are resilient and work hard to nurture people, and the world. I am inspired to be better by the nurturing I lacked in my younger years. When I see my own children supported and thriving in ways that I had to teach myself, I realize that it is possible. When I see youth like Amanda Gorman so fierce, intelligent, and making an impact, it was because of her nurturing. When i see advocates, and journalist like Shaun King fighting every day for black lives, and knowing that his passion stems from his own stories of trauma and resilience, I am inspired by his own nurturing. I took the Heart Blaster name and created a brand. Hoping to join the work of of those who see the value in nurturing each other, because thats what it takes. I left a women’s march in 2017 with my daughters eager to get to work and realizing that the things we were marching for, gender equality, fighting racism, Immigration, police reform, and social change wouldnt matter, if we did not implement these messages and actions into our daily lives. I am inspired by the nurturing that can happen if we all do our part.

YEM: Do you intend to collaborate with any other businesses?

Sophillia: I do have intentions to collaborate with business who values align with our own. Organizations who believe in equal opportunity, gender equality, nondiscriminatory companies who have equal respect for all people. People who value individualism, but also believe in the beauty of diversity in people should be freely celebrated. I am very careful with Heart Blaster. I have to protect our core mission to be a company who is transparent, authentic, and trustworthy. From our team, designers, collaborators, to our models and community we are #friends. I do have a dream collaboration that I have been manifesting for a very long time.

YEM: There is one design on a shirt that says “Hella Nice.” What does this represent compared to other shirts?

Sophillia: The slang word Hella originated in the San Francisco Bay Area. Meaning “a lot of” intensifying a verb like, “Hella Nice” and now its in the dictionary. Bay Area people say this a lot. Myself included! The word Hella has a very extensive history from its origin and different eras. It is in all things Bay Area from the people, hip hop, and the culture. It is now known all over the U.S. Heart Blaster is a Bay Area company and the Hella Nice T-shirt emphasizes the “nice” meaning to be extra nice, or that you are Hella Nice! It’s all about the individual.

YEM: What advice would you give anyone looking to start their business?

Sophillia: Be strong, be driven, and prepared to learn a lot. Know that rejection and mistakes are not failure, but apart of the process. Do things slow and strong and what feels organically right for you. Be ok with being alone so that you can grow in the ways that require you to nourish yourself, your craft and vision. Follow your intuition and learn to trust yourself more every day. Work on self love and let all of this shine through your work. Just keep going!

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