Jay Johnson can’t be stopped. The entrepreneur is well-known for his Studio Life Clothing brand and Studio on 9th boutique and is expanding into the world of media through the Studio Life After Dark podcast, which he co-hosts with Jewel and Wurk Mane. The headquarters for this empire are found in Bessemer, with the impact being felt throughout the state and beyond. From deals like $22 Tuesdays at his store to the interviews and discussions that are shared on the podcast - Johnson continues to create exciting moments in the Birmingham area.
The podcast released its first episode in August of 2022, but has quickly built a reputation for interviewing some of the biggest names in the arts and business. Pastor Troy, Fat Charles, Shatoria Peavy, G-Child, Chef Tyler Thomas, Corey Bishop, and Ms Brown Wigs have all had their own episodes released with dozens more already recorded and waiting to be released. The focus on production, along with the fun hosts and cool setting make for a good time - and Johnson and company have exciting plans to expand into other cities while continuing these important discussions with Bessemer and Birmingham-area entrepreneurs.
“I started with clothes first. I actually had a clothing business in 2006/2007. I ran that for about three years,” Johnson shares. There was less of a focus on boutique shops around these years as malls still claimed most customers in Alabama and the dresses, rompers, and more found in all sizes at this new location quickly gathered a large fan base. That business taught Johnson lessons and brought him customers, which he would bring with him when he opened up Studio on 9th in 2018. The boutique focuses on women’s clothing and highlights local brands including Studio Life, WurkLife, and Gotta Have It.
“It’s called studio life because we’ve got the microphone props in the front and we’re always playing the music. Most of the time it’s loud so when people come in they’re feeling good about it,” the entrepreneur sounds of his brand, “A lot of the time people may be in a bad mood and it uplifts them when the music is playing and everything. That is the whole concept of the studio. Most people that come in here - they have fun. It’s not your everyday clothing store plus we are open late on weekends.”
Great clothing options plus a fun atmosphere have equaled success for Studio on 9th, and the motivation for Johnson is bigger than himself. “My mom passed to breast cancer in 2009. What keeps me motivated - what strives me for this business - is my mom because she was a hard worker. So I opened the business on June 29th, 2018 and every year I do something different.” Studio Life also focuses on events and awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October as one of many ways to continue her powerful legacy.
“I’m originally from Fairfield but I chose Bessemer because they don’t have a lot of places you can shop,” Johnson explains, “So far I’ve done great in Bessemer. I have people traveling all the way from Gadsden, Auburn, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Huntsville. On weekends they’ll make that drive to come out and shop. I know I’ve made an impact but most of the surrounding area is my main customer base.”
Johnson has nothing but love for his present support system and the Bessemer and Alabama communities that support him, and it’ll be fun to see how he continues to make his influence felt.
Image provided by Jay Johnson