Making vintage trendy

Business major Grant Houston's retail store thrives in the MU Student Center.

 

Jan. 18, 2022

On a cool October morning, University of Missouri junior Grant Houston was busy tagging newly arrived jackets at Hype & Stripes, his store in the Griggs Innovators Nexus at the MU Student Center.

Hype & Stripes is not a typical clothing store. Instead, Houston offers his customers vintage finds, selling everything from 2012 Adidas sneakers to Mizzou T-shirts from the Y2K era. Houston hopes his vintage clothing store will encourage students to develop more sustainable purchasing habits.

Each of Houston’s items is unique — with a special story behind it. For example, he once sold a shirt displaying unrecognizable cartoonish puppets. After a little research, he discovered that the characters were from the obscure “Tightline and Sinker Show,” whose puppets enjoyed fishing (and only one season on cable TV in the 1990s). Stories like this have helped Houston sell his products.

Since the beginning of his entrepreneurial career, Houston has been selling his goods online. The idea for a physical retail store came to him when he was touring Mizzou as a high school student and learned of the many entrepreneurial opportunities available on campus. Soon after he arrived as a freshman, Houston met with Greg Bier, executive director of entrepreneurship programs, whom Houston describes as “an awesome resource."

“He really just gave me this plan and the steps that I needed to be able to pitch for my business and to be able to have a successful business,” Houston said.

Nexus staff provided Houston with a step-by-step guide on starting a business, which included crucial information, such as how to file articles of incorporation and obtain a business license. And they connected him with bankers, lawyers and other entrepreneurs. In addition, Houston has gleaned valuable information from focus groups, biweekly meetings and university databases and journals. He’s also learned to manage employees, comply with complicated regulations and promote his business using social media.

Houston said he hopes his space at the Nexus will encourage students to switch to buying vintage clothing and reduce the amount of fashion waste.

“I want people to express themselves with clothing, but to do it in a more sustainable way,” Houston said.

Read more from the Office of Research and Economic Development

Students, grow your business

Students interested in taking their businesses to the next level during the 2022-23 school year can apply for retail space or incubator space in the MU Student Center by March 23. Email innovators@missouri.edu for more details.

 

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