In the heart of Durham, stands J.Dot Digitals, a multimedia production company that was envisioned by the founder Jonathan Okafo.
A native of Durham and now a business sophomore at N.C. State University, Okafo realized the city didn’t have enough artistic platforms. Okafo launched the company last year with the help of his co-founders Dakota Vann and Jaquin Ellis. After discovering the well-known company “We Entertain” on a recent Atlanta trip, his own ideas about a business model began to gel. J.Dot helps their clients shape their brand and portfolios with a variety of services, including fashion and choreography consulting, fashion photo shoots and other multimedia services.
“Whoever reads this: ‘Follow your dreams.’ Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. All my life I’ve had people tell me, ‘You can’t dance,’ ‘You can’t take pictures,’ and ‘You can’t model.’ The word ‘can’t’ doesn’t exist.”
Jonathan Okafo, founder J.Dot Digitals
“We’re all equal business partners,” said Okafo. “They became closer to me once I left some older friends of mine. They told me, ‘Jon, you have all these ideas and inspirations. We can really do this. We can really come together and make this happen.’ I didn’t even want to think about it … they were the ones that really motivated me and pushed me to start it. ”
J.Dot has no permanent facility right now. They hope to move into a permanent location in the near future, but this matters little because they can handle business on the Internet with clients as far away as Atlanta and New York.
“We can just pick up and take anything that we’ve been working on since we don’t have a physical business yet,” said Okafo. “We can travel to France, New York or where ever we want to go. We don’t have to worry about having people come to us. We have everything on our database and our computers.”
Okafo said he wants to create a friendly and supportive environment for their inexperienced clients, one that supports their clients’ passions.
“With the way we do it, we’re really relaxed, comfortable and inviting. We’re there to work with you and build your self-esteem, your portfolio, and build who you are to start your career,” he said.
“We don’t want to scare them away. A lot of models that we’ve worked with would be like ‘I don’t know if I can model’ or ‘I don’t know how I feel about it.’ We don’t want to give that persona. We don’t want to make you feel like you can’t do something. We want to let you know you can do anything you want to do.”
N.C. Central University family and consumer sciences senior Taylor Freeman, a fashion blogger, has said her experience working with J.Dot Digitals was rewarding. She and Okafo’s team worked together on several photo-shoots and have styled clothes together.
“Before, I was just used to doing stuff by myself. I was dressing up and taking pictures of myself to blog about,” said Freeman. “This showed me that I could work with other people and still be creative. We can collaborate and work together. It taught me teamwork and how others will have different ideas than you but you have to learn how to work together.”
Through his own experiences, Okafo hopes for J.Dot Digitals to be a place where others can find support while following their dreams.
“Whoever reads this: ‘Follow your dreams.’ Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something,” said Okafo. “All my life I’ve had people tell me, ‘You can’t dance,’ ‘You can’t take pictures,’ and ‘You can’t model.’ The word ‘can’t’ doesn’t exist.”