True friendship isn’t about who you have known the longest. It’s about who has your back—who you know you can rely on no matter what. The person who supports your dreams and isn’t afraid to help you work toward them and struggle alongside you day by day.
Brandon Chapman and De’von Wellesley have cultivated that type of friendship, resulting in the creation of 88Visual, a business that strives to capture the stories, relationships and humanity of people and to illustrate how beautiful each person’s life truly is.
“We always want to connect with people and tell their story,” Brandon said. “We want our clients to know their story matters. The world is often big on titles...in reality, we are all worthy of recognition. Hierarchy isn’t necessary. Each one of us has something someone else can learn from.”
“We thrive not just because of high-quality content, but by bringing our authentic selves into our creations. That’s connecting with people’s hearts,” said De’von.
Meeting in 2017, the duo had no idea their paths would eventually lead them to combine their dreams and passions for storytelling into an award-winning adventure years later.
At the time of their meeting, Brandon was leading various programs throughout Frederick County, focused on inspiring youth while De’von worked as a transport for Frederick Memorial Hospital. LAI, a video company in Washington, DC, hired De’von, a self-taught videographer, full time after seeing his content on Instagram.
“They [LAI] were shocked that I wasn’t doing videography as my full-time job,” said De’von. “They were impressed that I had so much content. Honestly, making videos is just something I enjoy doing.”
A conversation between Brandon and De’von in 2018 about Brandon’s trips to help youth and citizens in South Africa bonded the two men and grew their friendship to a whole new level.
“I asked De’von if he would go to South Africa with me and create a video to help raise money for our nonprofit. He spent a week with us and during that time we forged a deeper relationship,” Brandon recalled, noting that De’von’s videos capture the heart of his subjects.
In South Africa, De’von not only focused on the school and orphanage, but also captured Brandon in his own mission of servitude.
“Every morning, Brandon would buy apples from the grocery to hand out. He did this not for publicity, but out of the goodness of his heart. I wanted to document that as well,” De’von explained.
This trip and the videos they produced sparked the partnership that would go on to create 88Visual.
In 2020, a time when the rest of the world was shut down and bracing through a global pandemic, Brandon and De’von began fulfilling their dreams. At home, De’von found solace behind the camera and they decided to highlight local restaurants that were forced to shut down.
“This was an opportunity where we could give back to our community and help these restaurants and businesses stay alive,” Brandon explained.
“We have both been taught to give back any time we can, in any way we can,” De’von said.
Their state-of-the-art version of storytelling developed into much more than a hobby and soon their big dreams didn’t seem so out of reach. Even though they knew there would be sacrifices, hardships and struggles to face along the way, they decided to “go all in” and see where this adventure would lead them.
On a leap of faith, Devon resigned from his job in order to commit full time to building 88Visual. Brandon continued working, but dedicated as much time as he could to build the business.
“There were so many times we didn’t pay ourselves. Times where I only had $80 in the bank or barely enough food in the refrigerator. That’s when I really understood faith—it’s in our darkest moments when we find out what faith really is,” De’von recalled.
Even with De’von’s vision and passion for videography and Brandon’s experiences in the nonprofit sector, both men admitted that striving for their dreams and creating their business was not easy.
“We had no idea how to start a business,” said Brandon, who eventually transitioned to full-time with 88Visual in early 2023.
“We were entering into an industry we didn’t really know a lot about,” De’von explained, noting that he spent a lot of time reflecting on what he had learned while working in DC. “We had to figure out our own system of doing things, create our own blueprint.”
With curiosity and humility, the men sought advice from other community businesses and leaders to help them navigate areas with which they were not familiar, including Tanika de Souza (a business coach), David Weigelt (Managing Chair of C12) and Karen Chapman (Brandon’s wife).
“When we didn't know something, we tapped into our resources and connections...If I don’t know something, I’m going to ask someone who does,” De’von said. “That is all part of our growth.”
Open conversations and their desire to learn from others have allowed them to not only grow in their partnership but also as entrepreneurs.
“We are always in a pursuit of elevation—elevating ourselves and elevating others,” said Brandon. “We seek to be better friends, spouses, parents and storytellers.”
“We are always going to be pushing each other,” De’von agreed.
This pursuit of elevation carries into their work with 88Visual, which symbolizes both men working together (each eight represents one of them) to help elevate the brands of businesses and customers with whom they collaborate.
“We excel in unveiling the human side of a brand in a way that resonates with their intended audience,” Brandon said.
There is an undeniable chemistry between the pair, who easily laugh with one another and even finish each other’s sentences. This partnership, which they noted is a lot like a marriage, allows them to use the strengths of the other and create videos that capture the human-ness and authenticity of a person. Brandon pulls the heart of the story out in interviews and De’von brings the visual to life by creating and putting it all together.
A typical shoot with De’von and Brandon is done in a client’s natural environment, where the client feels most comfortable and where they can candidly illustrate their story.
Brandon explained, “It’s our mission to capture the essence of the story through video and storytelling, whether that’s for a 150-year-old company or for a two-week-old one. We want to create a video that allows people to envision themselves there, using those services.”
Although the men have won five Emmy® Awards between them, the duo said this is only the start of what they hope to accomplish together.
“You can exist in your dreams while you are still dreaming and reaching for the next one,” Brandon said.
“There is still a lot more work to be done,” De’von agreed.
Both proud fathers, De’von and Brandon hope their journey will help inspire not only their children but also the people they work with.
“All odds could have been against me, but I chose this life,” said De’von. “We have to have the ability to trust our intuition, but also know that it won’t always be easy.”
“We want to inspire other people to not forget their dreams. It’s ok to dream and go after the things you want in life. Believe in yourself and cancel the outside noise,” Brandon said. “Speak your dream into existence. We are examples of that. Let your passion qualify you. There are so many opportunities to make things happen.”
“We always want to be able to connect with people and tell their story...we want our clients to know their story matters." - Brandon Chapman
“We thrive not just because of high-quality content, but by bringing our authentic selves into our creations. That’s connecting with people’s hearts.” - De’von Wellesley