While the City of Flint, Michigan has made national headlines due to its poisoned water crisis, one local company is drawing positive attention to the community. GoodBoy Clothing recently was awarded $20,000 from AT&T, as the choice winner of its Agility Challenge competition.
GoodBoy Clothing is a lifestyle streetwear brand that specializes in urban and casual wear. It was one of 10 top finalists for the AT&T Agility Challenge. Two other African American entrepreneurs received $10,000 as runner-ups in the competition; tself-taught chocolatier Phillip AshleyÂ and Esosa Ighodaro, co-founder of the app startupÂ CoSign.
Along with other artisans working tirelessly to refashion the city, GoodBoyâ€™s owners sought a way to get involved by planting the business in the Flint. â€œ[It] is a postindustrial city, full of artistic people who are very resilient when put to the test. We wanted to reinforce that identity through apparel and clothing. We are a comeback city,â€ says founder and CEO Oaklin Mixon.
The Good Journey
The company started in 2014 with a basic t-shirt with “GoodBoy” written across the chest. â€œIt was a name that would resonate with people doing social work. It is definitely socially driven brand,â€ Mixon says.
GoodBoyâ€™s cultural message is about raising social awareness and promoting the well-being of people worldwide. The goal is to create quality clothing through traditional cut-and-sew operations, manufacturing products locally.
According to a statement fromÂ Mixon posted on AT&Tâ€™s website, â€œCreating good culture is key, and we do it by expressing our core values and moral statement through art while upholding the integrity of a solid brand identity. So, we came up with the tagline, ‘Tailored for Your Good.’â€
The Brand’s Purpose
The company has a space that is for manufacturing and retail. Mixon notes that the next step in the companyâ€™s model is bringing production in-house, making the shop into more of a â€œmaker’s space,” to pioneer a new retail experience. â€œItâ€™s a shop-to-shelf model. When customers come into the space,Â they can experience seeing their clothes being made while, at the same time, shopping and seeing the clothes on our shelves,â€ he explains.
The funds from AT&TÂ will be used for purchasing equipment and to make GoodBoy merchandising products from start to finish. According to Mixon, GoodBoy Clothing heralds the glory of Flintâ€™s blue-collar days of craftsmanship, which caused the city to soar.
â€œThrough textile fashion, our mission is to make exceptionally high-quality cut-and-sew clothing in the region. Our desire is to use the vehicle of fashion to restore American manufacturing to the area,â€ he says.
Mixon adds that another goal is to provide job training. â€œWe have a ton of universities around here, so we wanted to foster education and training,â€ he says.