WE ARE BACK! With the latest installment in our HFL Blogger Series. This time we sat down with Brandon Bryant, founder of Wall-Street Paper – a blog inspired by life, style, and culture for the modern gentleman. What makes Wall-Street Paper unique is the fact that Brandon started this while working as an Investment Banker on Wall Street. He noticed that even though many of his colleagues had plenty of money, most didn’t take pride in expressing their individual style that their affluent lifestyle so well enabled. Thus, Wall-Street Paper was born!
Today Brandon has grown Wall-Street Paper to having working collaborations with Daniel Wellington, Allen Edmonds, as well as being invited to attend Pitti Uomo. Jealous? Don’t be! This entire series is about education and below we talk in-depth with Brandon about his decision to step away from the lucrative career of Wall Street to be a “blogger”, how to grow your brand on Snapchat, and his personal style.
HFL: Explain to us the thought process and mission behind Wall-Street Paper?
WSP: The thought process and mission is very simple. We want to create an ecosystem where men can learn, engage, and distribute content about everything in men’s lifestyle. We are in the process of rebranding the site and aiming to aid contributors who will focus on segments outside of menswear to add depth.
HFL: Is there style in Finance? Obviously we have all seen Wolf of Wall Street and know Wall Street showcases the wealthy man’s taste for custom suits, but what about an overall style or individual industry taste that we may not know about?
WSP: Yes, Wall Street has a very defined style that in my opinion influences all of culture. For decades Wall Street has been the epitome of how to dress, where to travel, what to eat, and how to spend your money. The culture is very frat or boys club, so many style codes are passed down and kept in tact and modernized as newcomers see fit. Also in the past since Wall Street guys have worn suits every day, we have really been the poster child for how to wear a suit and how a good suit can help “close the deal.”
HFL: What was it that led you decide to get out of the big business world of corporate finance and into the fashion industry?
WSP: What led me to leave the corporate world was my heart and the eagerness to create something. In the corporate world it can get very stiff and routine. I needed something fresh. Many people do not know I ran a start up suit store during undergrad at The Ohio State University or that I grew up a huge sneaker head waiting as long as 2 days in line for a pair of Air Yeezy’s. I have always been intrigued by style and how it’s connected to confidence and the feeling you get when you put on a new suit or pair of sneakers. Ahhhh, feels like Heaven on Earth.
HFL: What is your personal style aesthetic?
WSP: Personal style for me is a mix between business casual and streetwear. I started off wearing very bold suits with loud socks and hand made shoes. I have found a happy medium with dressing down suits with sweaters/polos and sneakers and maybe adding a ball cap to add some character.
HFL: It seems as if you have really started to differentiate yourself as an influencer by focusing more on Snapchat. What is it that makes Snapchat effective as an advertising platform for brands?
WSP: Thank you for the kind words, Snapchat lets you be yourself! I believe Snapchat is very effective for advertising in terms of brands because you can tell an entire story (beginning, middle, and end) unlike on other platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. It’s also much more of an authentic way to connect with an influencer’s audience. Believe the ROI is much greater and will only increase with the different filters, added features, and content partnerships.
HFL: What are some of the trials and tribulations you face as a fashion blogger?
WSP: I have a lot to say here but will keep it short. Money, lack or respect, and having your ideas watered down by CTA’s and micromanaging.
HFL: How do you feel bloggers/influencers in the industry have impacted the world of fashion and what do you think is next in the evolution of this growing industry?
WSP: The impact has been enormous thus far and I do not even think we have scratched the surface. Very soon influencers will replace models, actors, singers, etc. Actually they already are, oops. Brands are still focused on TV and print because there is a ton of money to be made there and it’s hard to evaluate ROI on social media, but the ball is going to drop very soon and when it does all the first movers will reap the benefits.
HFL: You have done a lot this year; attended Pitti Uomo, the Liberty Fairs Trade Show, and Miami Music Week. What has been your most enjoyable experience and what if any trends have you noticed at these events?
WSP: My favorite by far has been Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy. It was my first time in Europe and I went with an amazing brand in Allen Edmonds. I had the chance to meet and rub elbows with people I idolize and admire. I met some of my Instagram friends in South Africa, Germany, and Finland to name a few. I dined with the locals and had a wonderful time indulging in the Italian culture. This was a total dream come true and I thank God everyday for it. Good news, is I will be attending Pitti Uomo in June and doing it all over again!
HFL: What is currently your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?
WSP: That’s a tough question! Well if I was to choose it has to be the custom long coat I designed with Knot Standard for fashion week this past February. The coat is dark red, double breasted and it has a heavy Italian influence with wide peak lapels. Everywhere I go it is well-received and a huge conversation piece.
HFL: Can you explain to us what is Harlem Capital Partners and the mission behind it?
WSP: Harlem Capital Partners LLC is an investment fund I co-founded with four other African American males that invests in start ups, real estate, and social impact. The idea came about after we all being ex-bankers on Wall Street wanted to put some of our own capital to work. The financial markets haven’t been quite steady so we thought to pool our resources and invest in entrepreneurs and their amazing ideas. Thus far we have invested in two amazing companies; Seed CX an exchange to trade hemp as a commodity which is a huge play on marijuana being legal. The second investment is Harlem Coffee Company which will be opening this summer in Harlem. This was a play on the latest increase in independent coffee Brewers and Harlem having very few players in the coffee space. The end goal of the fund is to have 4-5 investments and after we show our returns and evaluation methods we plan to raise a family and friends fund in the seven figure range.
HFL: Finish this sentence…. Style is?
A: Style is the epitome of who you are, it tells a very clear story about where you’ve been and where you’re headed – so don’t take it lightly!!
Make sure you visit www.wallstreet-paper.com and follow Brandon on Instagram @wallstreetpaper