The Southern Editor
Like many other students, junior Kylan Stephon Hayes came into college expecting to study one thing and ended up achieving more than he could have imagined.
As a freshman at Florida Southern College, Stephon declared a major in political science, as a part of the pre-law track. He had always been interested in design and fashion, so he later picked up a minor in art history. While some people may not see the correlation between pursuing both a pre-law track and an education in art, Stephon believes that political science is connected to everything.
“Everything [FSC] teaches you gives you this three-dimensional view of how everything is tied into each other,” Stephon said.
Stephon, a junior at FSC, recently started his own business: Powered by Verity. Verity, a synonym for truth, is a creative agency with the purpose of empowering current and future generations to use self-expression to change the world.
When Stephon started his business in 2022, it was originally just an Instagram account used as a platform for him to upload his ideas.
“When I first began, it was really just a reflection of me,” Stephon said. “I wanted to find a way to go back and bring what I was attuned to in my childhood and make that relevant to what I’m actually doing, and now that’s finding ways to combine the art, the law, the design and the politics.”
Stephon said he created this platform out of necessity: for a platform that doesn’t ask people what they’re going to be, but something that allows them to just be. Verity is a channel where individuals can express themselves creatively.
“I want people to be able to use their individual talent to influence matters that affect everybody,” Stephon said. “Things like mental health, things like homelessness, things like health care, things like engineering problems.”
As of Dec. 23, Verity now offers design servicing, business logos, brand servicing and more. They also specialize in political design, which is a service that sets them apart from other creative agencies. Stephon describes political design as using design language and collaboration to solve political issues.
When clients collaborate with Verity, there are some rules, such as “unconventionality is a requirement, not a recommendation,” “leave the status quo at the door” and “no loud talk without a plan of actualization.”
“You see a lot of stagnation. You see a lot of looking at the problem, yelling at the problem and not fixing it,” Stephon said. “Verity is all about finding artistic ways to find solutions to those problems.”
The collaborative process begins once Verity talks with the client and asks them questions about their organization and vision. The team at Verity then researches how they can best fulfill the client’s vision. Once the client is satisfied with the ideas presented to them, they will be sent an invoice for a 10% down deposit.
Using their ideas and research, Verity creates several potential designs for the client to review. If the client wishes for adjustments to be made, three revisions are included for the project. Once all the revisions have been completed and the client chooses which design variation they prefer, they pay the remaining balance sent from the invoice to receive the completed art.
The company’s commissions from their design work goes toward their mission. All non-profit organizations and those whose work aligns with that mission, will receive a 10% discount on services.
With a platform so unique, Stephon found it challenging to constantly clarify Verity’s mission.
“We went from being a platform, to a movement, to a brand, to a business…and that’s because the entire thing that we’re doing is all about breaking boundaries. That’s why our slogan is ‘let the art do the talking,’ Stephon said. “So I had to learn to get past that phase of trying to explain exactly what [the company] was and just let the art do the talking for itself.”
While there are always challenges when starting a business, Verity has already grown since officially starting. They have worked with non-profits, clubs, organizations and more.
“It has grown so much faster than I could have anticipated,” Stephon said.
Verity already has plans on how they can grow their business further, including a new website. The most important part of a collaborative company is having people to work with.
“Right now we need more people…who share that unconventional, break-the-status-quo mindset,” Stephon said. “Just send us a message, we are a collaborative platform.”