MAKING THE BRAND: STELLA ULTRA
Meet Christian Bortey the founder of brand Stella Ultra. We asked Christian a few questions about the origins of the brand.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME STELLA ULTRA?
Stella Ultra is Latin for "Beyond the Stars". Stella means star, and Ultra means beyond. I got the idea from Sk8thing's brand, Cav Empt. I read an interview where Sk8thing was explaining how he got the name Cav Empt. He said it was Latin for "Buyer Beware", and he thought it sounded cool. So I went into Google translate and typed in a few words to see how it would sound. I knew I wanted to use the word "ultra" in there somewhere, and I can't even tell you how I landed on "Stella" but I'm glad I did. I think I originally had the word "stellar" and then just put it into the translator, then took off the "r" and there you have it.
EXPLAIN YOUR BRAND IN 3 WORDS.
Create or Die
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START STELLA ULTRA
After working at a non-profit designing their merch and having my ideas shot down, I thought about starting my own brand, but I wasn't sure how much I actually cared to do that. In my head, starting a brand seemed like a lot of work and a lot of money. So I left the idea alone while spending some of my free time working on the Notaurious brand.
Then, In 2018 (I think) I did a music project, challenging myself to make a brand new beat every day for 30 days. I did, and did hand-drawn artwork for each beat. People loved the artwork so much, and a friend of mine even asked me to make it into a poster so she could put it on her wall. I even printed a copy for myself (which, btw, I still need to frame) and totally forgot about until today, when I was looking around for a spare light bulb to replace a burnt out one. I saw my poster among a bunch of random other things (everyone has that "junk drawer of random stuff") and was like, "Oh yeah!".
Anyway, the positive response to the drawings made me realize that I had developed a unique style, and that I could probably make a brand out of that. And that's how the brand was born.
WHAT'S THE ONE STELLA ULTRA PIECE EVERYONE SHOULD GET?
They should buy my Face Tee. It's one of the first drawings I ever did for the brand and I love it - it totally represents what the brand is about, which is to have fun doing whatever it is you love. I believe that your passion should be fun. If it isn't, why even bother?
WHAT DO YOU HOPE SOMEONE GETS OUT OF OWNING A STELLA ULTRA PIECE?
I really hope that whoever buys it feels that they got a unique piece that's different from other things they have in their wardrobe. I hope they connect with the design in some way, and that the silly vibe of some of the designs inspire them to avoid taking too many things too seriously, and to have fun doing whatever it is that they enjoy.