My name is Darrell Alston, CEO and lead designer of Bungee Brand sneakers and clothing. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. My team and I take very seriously our mission of providing high quality, unique and fashion conscious footwear to our customers and my story of how I got here is very much a part of why this is so important to me.
I grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. In high school I realized that I had a talent for writing and performing quality rap music and wanted more than anything to be a successful rap artist and live my life like the performers whose music and lifestyles I so admired. I started having some success and notoriety which led to becoming part of a few well known tours. As my name got out there, I realized that my income didn’t come close to keeping up with my lifestyle, which I thought I needed in order to be looked at as the successful artist I so desperately wanted to be.
This led to my making some incredibly bad decisions. Once you’re in that life it’s extremely difficult to get out and I was good at it so the money made me stay in even though I knew what I was risking. I had money, cars, expensive jewelry, and a name in the rap world people knew. It was everything I thought I wanted and then it all suddenly came to an end. I was arrested and sentenced to prison for 6.5 years. I realized a number of things in prison that are important to who I am today. I knew I needed to own up to everything I did that got me there. I learned I can work hard. I learned it’s important to me to help people. And I learned I have a talent for design. While in the rapper lifestyle I become very interested in clothing and footwear because I saw how it could represent my individuality and persona not only to audiences but to people in general. I made sure that I never walked on stage with the same pair of sneakers twice. So while I was incarcerated I spend any free time I had sketching and coming up with unique sneaker designs.
When I was released from prison I had no idea what to do with my life but I knew it was going to involve hard work and helping others as much as I could. So I started my own hair cutting business and going out to speak and tell my story whenever and wherever I could. I went to speak at some of the high schools in my area, which led me to telling my story on TV news segments as well as being featured in a few magazine and newspaper articles. While the attention helped to get my story out it also led to meeting some people who have become incredibly important in my life as mentors and advisors.
The whole time I was cutting hair and going out to tell my story I was also continuing to design sneakers. People in prison told me the designs were cool, interesting and unique. I heard much of the same after I got out, but I didn’t know anything about where and how to have them made and most importantly, how I was going to pay for it. So I did what I learned in prison and what my mentors told me I needed to do now that I was out. I worked. Hard. Cutting hair to pay for my first sneaker order and when I wasn’t doing that, talking to anyone who could tell me about the sneaker business. I finally got my first line out and I’ve been doing this ever since. That was 6 years ago and I’m still here doing what I love. And still going out every chance I get to tell people my story, because if I can help one young man or woman to not make the same mistakes I did then it was all worth it.
I hope you enjoyed reading about me and how Bungee Brand came to be. Please feel free to reach out on my social media, I love hearing from people.