Calling All Artists: A Conversation with Avante Davis
BY: Whitney McArthur
“Boogie drinkin that Goonmilk…”
If you are American, then you are familiar with the 40 oz. You have drank
one, poured some out for loved ones lost, and have never been upset with
40 – A bottle containing 40 fluid ounces of malt liquor beer. The beer
is of low quality and fairly cheap to buy. A bottle can run you usually
between two and three dollars. 40’s are popular in a variety of areas and
are drank by many types of people. Gangstas will drink 40’s. Teenagers
will drink 40’s. Colt 45, Olde English, Mickey’s and King Cobra.
The logo for GoonMilk is a 40 oz with a baby bottle top. The 40 grimaces
at you with a ski mask on. It is symbolic of being the sustenance for the
lifestyle from whence Avante Davis helms.
Avante Davis is the CEO, CFO, creator and head of GoonMilk Brand
Clothing. This is his masterpiece.
What is GoonMilk?
Avante: GoonMilk is my creative outlet through fashion. It started out
as an online consignment shop on January 3, 2013. I began selling clothes
out of my closet just to put money in my pockets. Once it hit social media
& my social networks, it kind of blossomed into a clothing line. I made a
promo t-shirt out of artwork that I got from a friend named Nightmare
Mikey. He made the initial bottle design logo. And I put that
logo on t-shirts to sell to promote for the consignment shop’s
website. Within the first 3 months I had more sales for the tees than the
consignment shop items. And that’s where the clothing line came from.
The term #GoonMilk comes from my cousin Zel (@Hail_Zel – you may know
him from his GoFundMe to save his girlfriend from Spring Break) at a
cookout…“Boogie drinkin that Goonmilk…40oz”. It snowballed
into an idea that was catchy and something people will remember. That
was Summer 2012. By January 2013, I had a business plan, got my LLC and
created GoonMilk from the whole idea of a 40 oz around family and
Who are you?
Avante: I am Avante Davis. I am 26 and from Capitol Heights,
Maryland and attended Morgan State University.
I studied Electrical Engineering my freshman year and then changed my major
to Business Management my sophomore year. Halfway through that I changed it
to Fashion Merchandising. And I kept that up for 3 years until I dropped
out lacking financial aid. I’ve always been into clothes and fashion,
the latest trends.
I feel like growing up in this area required you to “keep up with the
Jones”. Every day is a fashion show. A lot of my inspiration comes from
movies and characters I grew up with. The bad guys. My youth holds my
inspiration. Growing up with more 40s in the house than milk. Literally
there was more beer in the fridge than food sometimes.
What is your definition of style?
Avante: [Style is] being yourself. Extremely confident with yourself.
Everyone doesn’t know fashion, but everyone has their own style. It’s
all about confidence.
What is GoonMilk’s style?
Avante: Street. If I could put it into one word: Street. Urban.
What started your passion for influence?
Avante: Creating is my passion really.
It’s about creating a style and the enjoyment of seeing people wear it.
Like it’s not so much about making a profit. It’s more about “Hey I
made that shirt. You got my shirt on. I made that.” It’s flattering to
me. I want to be a part of the influence for people that I know. The people
that watch me but don’t actually know me.
I want the youth to have positive role models that are not rappers,
positive dreams that are not the hoop dreams being sold because I bought
into those. There’s so much money in fashion. There’s not enough black
men to look up to in it.
I had to come up with a plan that wasn’t aspiring to be what I saw on TV.
Why should I go through all the motions trying to get famous and be in the
spotlight? What do I actually have a passion for other than basketball?
How’d you get into the business?
Avante: I just like to create. Try different things. Different experiences
for myself and other people. A lot of custom work I do now is with people
that are trying to start their own brands. I take what they make. I come up
with the designs, the color schemes, the textures, the shirts, and
the vinyl. I cut it, I press it, and I ship it. You have to cut the
middle-man out to make any type of profit. So I got my own machines to
make my own shirts the way I wanted.
I’m making more money from creating for other companies just by trying
I found out what equipment I would need, which tools. There were
many mistakes made, hours of YouTube tutorials, eBay shopping, test runs,
messed up garments. A true learning experience; but it’s now easy
because I know how to do it. It’s a lot of tedious work, but I like it.
I’m still growing as a man and growing as a company. There are a lot
of long nights and all-nighters. It’s not really that glamorous or how it
seems on IG. It’s a lot of hands on work and networking and branding and
designing and shipping. It’s crazy how many tedious things you have
to do. And if you don’t have that team to give you that push or that
force within you to push yourself, I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s not an
easy task to run a business and have a social life and have a relationship
and have car problems all the time. It’s life. And it’s hard.
What do you have for us?
Avante: A lot of collaborations with other brands. I’m back to blogging
now. I’ve had a blog for about 10 years now. On and off. Rose Fashion
Show on June 27, 2015. Lots of summer parties. Community outreach.
I want to raise money to possibly give out shirts and gear for homeless
people throughout the area. Baltimore, DC, VA…everywhere. I want to give
back to my community.
Why should we care?
Avante: I never really cared if anybody else cared. I just wanted to help
people and make a name for myself. Make my momma proud. If you support
that…I support you supporting it.
I feel like I’m too nonchalant. I don’t get excited over
accomplishments. I feel like it’s what you’re supposed to do. I do it
to help…see a smile on my mom’s face, create a positive out of a
negative. Take nothing and make it something.
Goons – Getting. Out. Of. Negative. Situations.
Avante defies the stereotypes of success presented to black men their
entire lives. Instead of going along with paths media tells him are the
only ones available to him, he makes his own. His goal is to inspire the
youth to look outside of themselves, to other avenues than the ones being
sold on television.
Use your own God given talents to be a positive influence in your
community. Become the young entrepreneur. Become the business owner.
Follow Avante & SHOP GoonMilk:
@GoonMilk (Twitter/IG); www.goonmilk.co