What do you get when the son of a music mogul and the son of a restaurateur join forces? You get an ever-growing restaurant empire owned and operated by 23-year-olds Damon “Boogie” Dash Jr. and Luke Pascal, sons to Damon “Dame” Dash Sr. and Vincent Pascal. The young duo is the mastermind behind the up-and-coming food franchises Chipz Cookies, Buns Sandwich and Pollo Frito.
Yes, that’s correct – three food ventures and a newly started record label, all happening at age 23. When Dame Dash was bellowing, “My son has cookies!” during his Power 105 The Breakfast Club interview, he wasn’t talking about your average Oreo or Girl Scout Thin Mint. He was referring to his son Boogie’s innovative all-natural gourmet cookie company that he established with his long-time pal Luke. He was referring to a well-thought out business model that his son established to make his own living. And while most 23-year-olds are graduating college and searching for employment, Dash was referring to his son’s innate entrepreneurial spirit to go out and become his own boss.
Savannah: Are you guys inspired by your fathers’ business advice? Do you listen to what they have to say?
Boogie: Of course! I listen to Luke’s father, my father. Whoever’s done it already, of course I’ll listen to, especially if they’re successful at it.
Luke: Our fathers are also very different so they have two completely different perspectives. You get to see two people who have really succeeded in what they do. You get this advice. They’ve completely shaped us.
Boogie: Bosses make bosses!
If you recall, Dame received flack from his interview when he told listeners that one does not need to work for someone before they start his or her own business. Instead, he stressed the idea that one must constantly invest in self. His raw and unrestricted bottom-up ideology left some scratching their heads. And me being the inquisitive mind that I am had to delve deeper and ask Luke and Boogie what is the secret to their business model that allowed them to become their own bosses…
Savannah: What’s the best way to start a business without having to work a 9 to 5 in order to get the money you need to start your business?
Luke: There’s so many different ways. First off you can work your way up in a business, which is nothing to be ashamed of. A 9-to-5 is also nothing to be ashamed of. I had a job, but I had a job in my field so I could learn what mistakes everyone else was making. I worked in failing restaurants, and extremely successful restaurants to take in things from both sides of the spectrum. You can partner with people who bring something to the table. Don’t partner with your best friends just because you are best friends and you spoke about doing something. Talk is cheap in the real world. Also, you don’t always need money to start a business, find someone who will do you a favor by making a logo. Then find someone who has what you need and give them a piece of the pie. After you have a product to sell, sell it. When you have enough money in the bank then it makes sense to trademark your idea and to turn it into an LLC.
Luke and Boogie started their cookie venture by making the initial cookie product and surveying the general public for feedback. It was Dame who recommended they throw parties, sell their cookies at the parties, and market their new music at their parties. The cookies quickly became a hit at their parties, selling out every single time. Luke notes that they had a signature product at their parties that separated them from the rest. Rather than selling beer or shots of cheap vodka, they had a memorable product that people sought-after and relished and branded themselves from there. Rule one to being a boss – branding yourself properly.
Savannah: What advice can you offer to those trying to brand themselves?
Luke: Start branding. That’s it. Make stickers with your logo. Put them on every light post in your town. Make materials so that logo gets ingrained into your consumers’ heads. Look at what the brands do that everyone knows. Bud Light gives big light up signs to delis. They have advertisements everywhere. Start there.
Coupling their exceptional party-throwing skills with their innovative product, their cookies-meets-parties venture skyrocketed and they eventually started charging attendees admission into these highly anticipated parties (anywhere from $5 to $50 at times!). And utilizing the resources they had, they threw many of these parties at friends’ homes or Luke’s father’s restaurants.
They used the profits from their parties to invest in more cookies, better packaging, and bigger goals. Fast-forward to today, here they are with their cookies being sold at places like ShopRite and Clyde Fraziers. Not bad for some 23-year-olds aye? Check out some highlights from our interview
Savannah: What does it mean to “invest in yourself’?
Luke: Investing in yourself is broad and it doesn’t mean just investing money. Investing time into learning, perfecting a craft is another way of investing in yourself.
Savannah: What does being a boss mean to you guys?
Boogie: Taking care of the people around you. Making sure everyone is happy. Making sure your business is growing like a pet or a child.
Luke: You gotta listen to everyone and at the same time run your business. To me being a boss is all about the people that are around you that can help you succeed in being a successful boss.
Savannah: Tell me about your music. What is AFO Records?
Boogie: All For One Records. I had a group back in the day with my cousins called AFO, but sometimes as you grow up sometimes you separate, and then later on meet up and start something new. AFO has such a deep meaning to me. I had to bring it back for the people that I felt all for one and one for all with.
Savannah: What sorts of artists are you looking to work with on your label?
Boogie: Well we started working with Murs. And we have a song “Definition Of a Hustler” which is pretty much a Chipz anthem right now. We’ve been sitting on it for a while. But you know you gotta cultivate the following first.
Luke: We’re looking for anyone who’s talented!
Boogie: I want good music. I want hip-hop, house, R&B, soul, whatever there is. I feel like AFO is gonna be like a Fool’s Gold. You know how Fool’s Gold has Danny Brown and all those house DJs like A-Trak.
Savannah: Where do you guys see yourself five years from now with your label and restaurants?
Luke: Finding new ways to revolutionize the food industry. With Buns we wanna take over Subway and Blimpie. With cookies, we believe that we’re the next Dunkin Donuts. We believe that we can open up shops all over the country. Sell cookies like they do with doughnuts–also sell granola and coffee and what not. With Pollo Frito, we’re gonna take over KFC and Popeyes. We make a better product than all these people… Popeyes is great but we’re right there! Our sandwiches are a whole next level. We’re gonna try and knock out all these old schooled fast food chains!
Boogie: Fat food chains! (Laughs)
Luke: Exactly! Our stuff is healthy. It’s natural. It’s real food. There’s no preservatives in the cookies.
Savannah: Do you think keeping your products innovative keeps you guys ahead of the curve?
Boogie: Of course! My motto is always “Keep the brand cool and have a great product.” Everything we do we always have a cool factor about it.
Luke: And we don’t put anything out until it’s ready. We really sit on our products. It’s almost like Apple developing an iPhone but we do that with the sandwiches.
Welp there you have it folks! That’s some bang-up business advice from two 23-year-olds who have a business track record that speaks for itself. If you’re in the neighborhood and you’re looking grab a bite to eat, stop by Buns Sandwich located in the Food Court at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Their menu offering extends from fried mac and cheese on pretzel bread all the way to veggie burgers. Not to mention, you’ll also find Chipz Cookies there as well! This interview was not just intellectually stimulating for me but also mouthwatering as I’m just imagining all the items I’ll be ordering the next time I go to Buns!
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.