As of July 2020, there were only 20 Black-owned brands out of the more than 2,300-plus brands in Nordstrom. The lack of Black-owned brands in major department stores has become even more apparent in the last few years. Wearbrims, a luxury hat brand owned by two Atlanta residents, is one of those brands that have made it into one of Atlanta’s trendiest and more popular shopping destinations.
From Lance Gross to Keri Hilson to Lena Waithe, multiple celebrities have been seen representing the black-owned hat brand owned by HBCU graduates, Archie Clay III and Tahj Crutch.
The Atlanta Voice had the opportunity to sit down with Clay III for a conversation on the business and the inspiration behind it all.
Atlanta Voice: Why did you decide to start your business?
Archie Clay III: It all started when my grandmother passed away from cancer, while I was in college. This was the foundation of my wanting to create generational wealth. I realized that she had the spirit, energy, and love, but we often forget that wellness is different from wealth. When I graduated, I ended up working in corporate America and was going out through some things in 2016 and hats were cool to me, I used to wear hats in college. So I reached out to my business partner, Tahj, and took the opportunity to make something special, so we created Wearbrims.
AV:Was there a moment that inspired you to start this business?
Clay III: In 2016, my fiancee and I broke up and I needed to put my mind into something. God told me at that moment that I needed to do this. I already had manufacturers in place that I reached out to beforehand. I knew it was time, but it wasn’t a matter of it being the “right time”, it was god telling me it was time.
AV: What was it like partnering with Nordstroms?
Clay III: We have an amazing partnership with Nordstroms, we have been in Nordstroms for about 2 years now. We launched during COVID-19, which was a tough year for everybody, which broke a lot of people. We were in shambles at the beginning of that year and Nordstroms ended up reaching out to us through Instagram and found us through an employee’s husband who followed us since then we have been building our relationship.
AV: How many stores are you guys in currently?
Clay III: We are currently in six stores and the goal for us is to be in 20 by the end of 2023. [Nordstrom] are great partners and we are excited to get to grow together.
AV: Is there a mentor in your life that inspired/inspires you as a business owner?
Clay III: I don’t have a solid mentor, I have a community. My mother and my line brothers. Everybody is helping us get to the top, and we are always taking advice, even if it is not granted or wanted.
AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year?
Clay III: Now is preparation. Our goal is driving sales for black friday and holiday sales, building brand equity going into 2023, finding a major partnership for 2023, and working on a growth strategy for 2023. We want to hit $1 million dollars in revenue for next year, which we can scale up from.
AV: Any advice to future business owners about taking the plunge?
Clay III: Remove your ego. Make sure this is what you really want to do. You’ll have to decide if it’s full-time or part-time. Regardless, if you are giving your all or not, if you aren’t putting 100% into the company, then you aren’t full-time yet. It’s very difficult to make a million dollars. It’s all mindset first. It’s being able to find a way to make hard decisions, to have difficult conversations, we naturally aren’t individuals who do that. We don’t like conflict. To be the best, you have to be good in everything, not even in business, but in life.
AV: How do you find a work/life balance?
Clay III: Dealing with your spouse, your family, and your relationships, if you aren’t good at one, it will affect the business. When you are creating a product, you are selling it to your customers, not yourself. If you sold it for yourself, you would be broke.
You can now find WearBrims products on the website and at Nordstrom in Phipps Plaza.
This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.