Name: Verneda White | Humanitarian
Verneda is founder and Creative Director of Human Intonation, a “unisex apparel brand dedicated to raising social awareness while giving 20% of the proceeds from each sale to growing non-profits.” The brand hopes to show us a new purpose of fashion. Verneda gets her inspiration from her family’s survival through Hurricane Katrina and the loss of her 22 year old cousin to AIDS five months later. Verneda and the brand have celebrity supporters such as Usher, Wyclef, and Ne-Yo. Human Intonation also has non-profit partners such as Darfur, Advocates for Youth, Hands on New Orleans, and YeleHaiti.
She got started after Hurricane Katrina hoping find a way to use fashion to help rebuild New Orleans. She began designing T-shirts for Hands on New Orleans making it the point of inspiration for Human Intonation. In 2008, she took the concept and turned it in to a brand to use fashion to raise social awareness.
Protection Is The New Black is a forum series that looks at how relationship communication connects with HIV. Before starting the series and making it apart of Human Intonation Verneda looked inside herself to see where and how to make the biggest impact for the community of color. These candid discussions allow the audience members to leave feeling empowered to talk about HIV with their partners.
Her first job out of college was product development at Macy’s. She boasts an impressive background in textile and apparel and an MBA. When starting the business plan in graduate school she realized she knew how to make shirts, source fabric and create he own pattern and did not need to go to American Apparel. She went on to create own prototype and took it to a center in NY to have it set to industry standard to be produced. The shirts are made in CA, a very important point of differentiation for Human intonation.
Her best personal quality is honesty.
In the future she hopes to see the “Protection is the New Black” community forums grow in to an international campaign that travels worldwide to keep the discussion of HIV on-going.
Her advice for young entrepreneurs “if you’re passionate about starting business you have to be willing to wait for that “slow wind” to start picking up. For those willing to stick to it you are in a position to put yourself in a good place to be successful.”