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OtionBleu: Riding the wave of the business world

Larshell Green

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Freshman business administration major Z’Noah Broyard and freshman biological sciences major Tians Varnado actively participate in the music management business OtionBleu. Broyard, the owner, enlisted girlfriend Varnado to recruit, assist and model attire. Larshell Green/The Lion’s Roar

Freshman business major Z’Noah Broyard was inspired to create a project dedicated to consulting and promoting up-and-coming music artists.  

At 18 years old, Broyard officially launched the business OtionBleu on Jan. 1, 2018. An additional release occurred on March 1 that publicized the business’ slogan: “Motion in the Otion” and revealed an additional clothing design concept. Although the business focuses on music, it was initially created from a previously developed passion for visual art. 

“I love art including pictures and videos,” said Broyard. “I started OtionBleu to bring people from different backgrounds together through art and video.” 

Although Broyard is new to the world of business, his sense of planning, attention to detail and creativity has contributed to creating the unique name OtionBleu.

“I was pondering a name for a long time,” said Broyard. “Everybody wants to join the wave. You find waves in the ocean. I spell it this way because it’s versatile. ‘Otion’ is found at the end of a lot of words. I could brand a lot of different things. I chose to spell ‘Bleu’ that way because it represents the bayou and Cajun cultures. We’re in the South.”

In order to recruit artists, Broyard attends parties, allows his friends to help listen to artists on SoundCloud and social media, and attends showcases held on campus like “Concrete Jungle.” He hopes to attend music festivals in the future to promote himself more and discover more talent. 

“I am contacted by some artists, but I reach out to them if I know that someone is making good music without videos to see if they want to make something,” said Broyard. 

Broyard stated that he is open to representing clients in all areas, but often represents those in the genres of hip-hop, indie and rock at the university, in the local area and in New Orleans. His larger goals for the business revolve around creating partnerships, expansion and customer satisfaction. 

 “Hopefully soon, we’ll start branching out to get people all over the United States,” said Broyard. “I feel great when they feel great. If they feel like there is a need for improvement, I know that there is more work that needs to be done.” 

Freshman biological sciences major Tiara Varnado assists Broyard with OtionBleu. The pair met in middle school in 2013 and started dating during their senior year at Thomas Jefferson High School in 2017. 

Varnado said that she was supportive of Broyard’s dreams from the beginning, but did not think that she would be a big part of the business. She is now responsible for giving him tips on designs and concepts within the business, and serving as a model.

She shared her perspective on why it is important for businesses like OtionBleu to exist in today’s society. 

“I’m excited to see people wearing the merchandise around and observing how people feel about it to see how far the business goes,” said Varnado. “It’s important to show that black people can own businesses and become big brands, especially while they’re still in college.” 

Prices vary based on the length of the video. However, customers seeking smaller videos may receive a set price towards the beginning of the process. 

Broyard’s work with photography and videography in the eighth grade has expanded. Although he cited that the most difficult aspect of starting the business was gathering information, he was always comforted by his talents in photography and videography throughout the process. 

For young entrepreneurs hoping to start their own businesses, Broyard recommended defining what the goals of one’s project will be first and being prepared to learn from mistakes.  

“Come up with a name that people would want to represent,” said Broyard. “After that, promote and show off your best talents. That’s how to make your business grow. That basically comes from trial and error. You can learn in school because you have people who can teach you like your professors in the field as opposed to being in the real world. By then, you are sort of on your own in a way.” 

On Thursday, March 22 at 2 p.m., OtionBleu will have a pop up T-shirt sale on campus. Those interested can expect to spend $15- 20 on clothing with multiple choices of designs. 

Check OtionBleu’s social media pages at @otionbleu and website at https://www.otionbleu.us/ to stay updated with events and to make inquiries.

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