Tag, you’re an entrepreneur

The Lawson brothers seem able to do it all – so much so that they seem almost superhuman. Roderick is a senior majoring in English. Ravin’s a junior majoring in communications. Both are line brothers to Iota Phi Theta. Both are artists, entrepreneurs, and USF students.

Roderick and Ravin Lawson are the creators of RL Customs – a hodgepodge of painted shirts, shoes, fraternity paddles and custom-designed flyers and posters. They even custom-paint bedrooms.

“It kind of happened accidentally,” said Roderick, the older brother. “(Ravin) painted some shoes and (they) didn’t turn out so (well). So we used that same paint to paint a shirt and (it) turned out OK. We started from there.”

Ravin is more artistic and loves to draw. He’s been doing it for as long as he can remember.

“It’s just always come naturally to me,” Ravin said.

He started as a kid, drawing stick figures in elementary school. When he got to middle school he moved on to graffiti lettering.

“I used to write my name all day in graffiti letters,” Ravin said. “Then I just moved on to drawing pictures. I would draw what I’d seen in magazines.”

Roderick has his own creative abilities – he just discovered them differently.

“I’m not the best drawer. I’m not the best web designer. I’m not the best flyer-maker. I’m not the best anything,” Roderick said. “But I will sit there for hours and hours and learn how to do it because I just believe I can do anything.”

The sources of their ideas are endless. They find inspiration in music, Bible verses and even cartoons. Ravin particularly likes using color combinations inspired by what he sees on TV.

As USF football has become more popular, the brothers are getting more requests for game memorabilia.

“We were making shirts for the UCF game and people came to us to make posters for the West Virginia game,” Roderick said.

Close friend and customer Kenneth “Boogie” Ross admires their creative ability.

“I think their work is very creative. They can make something out of nothing,” Ross said. “They do impeccable work.”

Roderick and Ravin’s main inspiration comes from their parents, Rose and Reginald Lawson. Their father introduced them to working with their hands.

“My dad can do anything. He remodels houses and does all the electrical, tile, everything. Ever since we were little we’ve been in houses, painting,” Roderick said.

The Lawsons want their artwork to appeal to everyone. The slogan for their company is “Represent Your Life.” The quote plays on the R and the L in their first and last names.

“(It’s for) anybody who wants to be original and have something original,” Ravin said.

The brothers said they don’t have a particular message that they want to portray through their art, though.

“We just want to help (people) represent their life. Whatever you want, whatever you like – we’re here to help you achieve that.” Roderick said.

The brothers live by a simple motto:

“Everything is easy. It’s as easy as you make it, or as hard as you make it.” Ravin said. “You may not have that much artistic ability, but just do it.”

Roderick agrees.

“This is the time. The time (is) now. You’re not getting any younger,” he said.

Roderick and Ravin’s Web site is Representyourlife.net. They also have a Facebook group called “RL Customs.”