Part of being a feminist means shining a spotlight on pro-women business endeavors. I’ve already highlighted pro-choice conglomerates, so now it’s time to feature a smaller, woman-owned-and-created venture: Noir A-Go Go.
K.C. Washington, the genius behind Noir A-Go Go, was kind enough to participate in a sherights Q&A:
So, tell us. What exactly is Noir A-Go Go?
It’s a novelty postcard, bookmark, and general gift company featuring African American pinups and 50s housewives.
How did Noir A-Go Go evolve? What was your inspiration?
I have always loved the 1940s and 50s because of their overall glamour and style and am an avid collector of the memorabilia, especially postcards, magnets and journals. But every time I bought a card or whatever, being a Black woman, in the back of my mind, I always thought, wow, I wish they made black versions. Because of the history of this country and, dare I say the world, the Black woman hasn’t always been seen as beautiful or glamorous, especially back in the day. Sure, you can find images of Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge, but those are usually movie stills or specific pictures connected to an interview. Rarely, outside of the Black press, can you find glamour shots of ordinary women of color. So I had some time and a little money and I thought why don’t I create a line of postcards and bookmarks?
Do you draw the images yourself?
Unfortunately, I can’t draw to save my life, so I hired two artists I found through etsy.com and craigslist.com to do the work. I am in charge of overall concept and design, as well as the pithy tag lines like “Trust Me Sugar, I’ve Overcome.”
Who is your target audience?
Although I’m sure Black women and other women of color will be most drawn to Noir A-Go Go, I believe the images and sayings stand on their own and are fun and cute for anyone interested in the genre to appreciate. Plus, I figure, I’ve been buying White pinups forever why shouldn’t/wouldn’t White women enjoy Black pinups too? I came up with a little slogan to entice non-Blacks to check out the line: You don’t have to be Noir to Go Go.
What do you think is Noir A-Go Go’s biggest differentiators from the pin-up market?
Other than the lovely sepia tones of my girls, the ladies and two gentleman of Noir A-Go Go stand out for their vivid, eye catching style and fun sayings like “Play Nice? Try Again,” and “Feminist. Womanist. Humanist. I do it all. ” While firmly rooted in the pinup genre, I am attempting to put a fresh spin on the tone and playfulness. Some of the sayings are geared more towards African American culture while others are more general. Also, Noir A-Go Go is a family. I have created names for all of my images—Tessa, Izzy, Julius, Harper to name a few—and through my Facebook wall and on the website itself, you can find bios. Charlie (the main pinup) and the gang “interact” with one another and their buyers.
Tell us more about the Noir A-Go Go family. What products do you currently have that feature “the gang”? Are you going to expand your current line?
As of now, I have 7 different postcards, including one for Black History Month and one for Valentine’s Day. I also have two bookmarks. In the next two months, I am rolling out a post-it and one or two magnets. By summer, I will have two different tote bags and several more postcards. And of course there will be a Christmas card.
You can find the Noir A-Go Go family at http://noir-a-gogo.com as well as on Facebook. And coming in May, I should be at one or two flea markets around Manhattan and Brooklyn