Advice Entrepreneur Human Character Inspiration Me and Life.

Note from Astu

photo (16)Lately, with the growth of my blog, I have been so focused on interviewing, interviewing, and more interviewing. I have, effectively, stepped away from what my original goal was with the creation of the blog. With that said, I want, you, the reader to know that SDBUP will continue to give you “life” with amazing interactions with entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists out there. It will also be a place where I talk about what ever else I want to talk about. Sometimes, I have epiphanies and I want to share them with you all. With that said I will! Thank you for the support thus far and I hope that this blog will continue to inspire you to “stay down and blaze up.”

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Advice Human Character Inspiration Motivation Mondays

Group by Group

[Late post]

I am sitting at my favorite chain coffee shop, Starbucks, and like always I am unintentionally observing the different groups of people. I have been here for about 3 hours, do not judge me, but I was cranking some work out for school and work was rough today. Anyway, I am not sure if I have posted about this topic before but I find it rather important and I believe it will be an excellent addition for my Motivation Mondays segment.

It is something important, it is something that makes the world go around, it is important to business development, and it is something I value immensely; can you guess what it is?

photo (14)The answer is community. That word is almost the reason why I decided to go in the direction I am going with this blog. This past weekend I went to a lounge and a fraternity hosted a centennial party for their organization and it was astonishing to see the support, love, and overall loyalty the participants had to their respective organizations. Their community came out, from literally all over the US, and showed out. It was truly a beautiful thing to see and this can be translated into any developmental stage of an entrepreneurs growth. The people who back you, whether they be random or in the case of this a fraternity from the same college community, your community can be motivation enough to further develop yourself and grow. You almost do it to not to let your supporters down because they already see the potential in you.

Community is key, your network is important, and quality friends are irreplaceable! These people will help you when you are down and out on yourself. Starting something from scratch, as many entrepreneurs do, is hard and it is important to find your people in your field of interest and capitalize on it with genuine interactions.

I know I used the word IMPORTANT a lot in this post but I can not stress how pertinent community is to everything you do! This is not something I learned recently but something my father has taught me and has shown me over the years.

Side note: The post title, ironically, is a play on my father’s tendency, thanks to his Ethiopian English to describe unification by saying “group by group.”

With that said lets build together, develop an unstoppable positive community, and gather group by group.

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Advice Entrepreneur Human Character Inspiration Motivation Mondays

Interest vs. Commitment


There is a difference and it separates those who do and those who do not. Make sure you are aware of where you stand with your grind, it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Some motivation for all my entrepreneurs and hustlers a like. Happy Monday!

Advice Entrepreneur Human Character Interview

Kickin’ It with Mr. C.O.O.L

“Don’t conform” was the continued message echoed throughout my interview with Ian Shaw, owner and CEO of The C.O.O.L. I connected with him, like with many of those I have interviewed, via Twitter. I shot him an email and over about a two-week span we went back and forth until we were both able to sit down and talk. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and loved chopping it up over mind-stimulating topics. During the interview Ian was very straight forward and it was invigorating to hear the mindset behind his clothing. Below is our interview and I hope that you too will come to love this gentleman’s movement.

Astu: “Tell us who you are? Give us the real Ian Shaw.”

Ian: “I am 27 years old, I have roots in both Dallas and New Orleans, and I am currently residing in New York. I graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Business Administration and The C.O.O.L is my brand and lifestyle.”

Astu: “So what is The C.O.O.L and what does it mean?”

Ian: “Well I am looking to promote a life-style of not conforming. Fashion is just a medium of expression that I am choosing to use – it is the accessory to living the brand out every day. It emerged in my undergraduate career and a friend of mine came up with the name but I have since then defined what it actually means.

Astu: “Name two role models that inspire you and why?”

Ian: “Steve Jobs of Apple and Richard Branson of Virgin Mobile are my two role models. They are the epitome of being innovative and not conforming.”

Astu: “This is an off the wall question – if you had to choose one person to be locked in a room with for 24 hours, out of the two, who would you choose?”

Ian: “Aww man! It would be Jobs – when I see where I want my brand to be in the next five years it will be on its way to being the next Apple and when I see where it will be in the next 10 years it will be Apple in terms of success and getting my message across. Also, my biggest focus is not just selling clothes it is building a community, much like Jobs and Branson were able to do!”

Astu: “So in terms of advice – what is something you want to tell other people?”

Ian: “Time management is key! At first I quit my job thinking I needed to be totally immersed in developing The C.O.O.L but I went broke because of it.  Now I have come to realize you will find the time to work on your dream if it really means something to you!”

“It boils down to living the brand. We buy into lifestyles and it is a personal experience. I inspire my friends to not conform by living out my brand. This is what separates me from the rest of society.” – Ian Shaw

Our generation is extremely creative and clothing lines are popping up everywhere but what really makes this brand, The C.O.O.L, unique is the message behind it. It pushes everyone to explore themselves and their potentials and it does not hurt that the clothing is dope. I encourage you to connect with Ian and The C.O.O.L  and as always DO NOT CONFORM.

Connect with Ian

Twitter: @TheCoolSociety| IG:thecoolsociety  |

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up

Human Character Inspiration Music New


pharrell43-600x400“Brought to you by Pharrell Williams, i am OTHER is dedicated to Thinkers, Innovators, and Outcasts. By celebrating creative people and pursuits of all kinds, we showcase architects of global culture, music, fashion, and the arts. Be OTHER.”

So, if someone were to ask me who inspires me, who do I admire, and if I could be locked in a dungeon for 72 hours with one person who would it be – I would answer without hesitation, well I might hesitate because I love Bob Marley, but I would gather my thoughts and respond Pharrell Williams.

Now again he would be on a long list of other people who I consider, no brain-ers, that I admire but nonetheless he would be pretty damn high up on the list. Whether people think he is arrogant, an ass, or unfriendly in person – I would take that with a grain of salt and just bask in his ambiance.

I found out about his channel, iamOTHER, through my loyal allegiance to Issa Rae’s channel on YouTube, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. I can remember sitting in my dorm room glued to my computer just laughing my butt off at the several awkward and shared experiences of being a black girl. I eventually was able to get all three of my roommates, at the time, in on the clips and for the rest of my upperclassmen experiences reenacting some instances from the channel. I want to say Pharrell came in towards the end of the first season and recruited Issa and developed this iamOTHER YouTube channel and since then has cultivated a place where fashion, culture, stereotypes, weridos, and hoodrats converge and discuss topics of interest.

This channel is LIFE! I am in graduate school, now, studying public policy and while I will get a Masters in public policy and I can see myself turning towards getting involved with organizations like iamOTHER. With this blog I hope to verbally display what Pharrell, Issa, Ryan Hall, and others visually display.

Please take a look at the video below and let us all continue to be #OTHER.

“At certain point you decide are you going to actually be who you are authentically, bravely, and courageously . . .” – direct quote from cute old lady in the above clip

Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up