FLINT, Michigan—Three years ago, Oaklin Mixon used his tax refund to order $1,000 worth of T-shirts and bowties outfitted with a simple logo packed with meaning and his Flint roots.
Mixon sold his very first GoodBoy gear out of the boxes they came in and reinvested the profit to make more shirts—and soon found himself surrounded by box upon box of GoodBoy products in his family home.
Until this point Mixon didn’t consider himself an entrepreneur. He had spent four years working at the Flint Crepe Company (where he got the all-important tax return) doing everything from chef to operations manager. As he progressed with the company, he learned how to work with systems and numbers to track sales and employees. This piqued his interest in developing his own business. He left the Crepe Company a year and a half ago, putting the majority of his time and effort into his new business.
This week, GoodBoy will open its new storefront and launch its new collections. It is the fulfillment of a dream with all the makings of being just the beginning.
“GoodBoy represents that type of lifestyle to where, if you’re going to be involved in your community, you have to be involved with your family,” says Mixon. “GoodBoy isn’t just kinda’ like for streetwear enthusiasts or people who are just into fashion. It’s actually more about those core values of building community and building family. We want to push that message. These things are actually important.”
These days everyone at the small business is frantically working, nearly around the clock, to finish preparations of their new storefront and eight new collections. The sleek and modern, yet rustic, 2,000 square foot storefront will offer a unique shopping experience, beginning with the walk down Buckham Alley.
Unlike many retail stores, spending time in the storefront is encouraged by the company. GoodBoy wants its potential buyers to feel welcomed and aims to develop a community. They will have a personal concierge service in conjunction with tablets throughout the store, offering customers multiple ways to purchase goods. Customers will also be able purchase online and come to the store to pick it up, like many larger retail stores.
“Whatever you want is always available,” says Mark Chatman of Flint, 27, the GoodBoy operations director. Chatman, touting years of high-level experience in retail, was lured to GoodBoy despite competing offers.
“I knew I wanted to make a change. I wanted to do something I was more passionate about. … I wanted to do something that really reflects who I am,” Chatman says.
Chatman recalls the first time he saw the GoodBoy logo. Mixon sat at a table in the rear corridor of the Flint Crepe Company and spoke to Chatman about his passion for creating the brand. At that point, the logo was just a design element. It had yet to appear on a garment of clothing.
Years later, he found himself commuting from Detroit and visiting with Mixon on a regular basis. Soon after, he officially joined Mixon’s team. Chatman then called in Lydia Seale, 23, of Mt. Morris, with whom he previously had worked on marketing projects.
Seale also serves as the point-person for the upcoming Flourish line, a women’s clothing line produced by GoodBoy. “It validates that who I am, what I have to offer, is important here. I think that (attitude) tells you more about the brand itself than the actual collection,” Seale says.
“The collections that are coming out, they mean something,” emphasizes Seale. “They’re not just like ‘oh this sounds like a good idea, it’s cool.’ This is not that kinda’ brand. This is a brand, that when you wear it, you’re wearing something that means something.”
Mixon, 34, a father of five, often works long days as he prepares for the grand opening of his new storefront. To help balance his work and home life, he and his wife have included their children in as many aspects of the business as possible. They have integrated it into their home education, bringing the children to work and doing the best they can to be inclusive. Mixon and his wife want their children to be like their father. Entrepreneurs and creatives.
Staying true to the original order of shirts and ties, GoodBoy Clothing is an urban lifestyle, streetwear company. Simplistic, effective designs with neutral and muted color palettes, span their collections.
There’s one big difference these days compared to the original GoodBoy clothing. These days the crew at GoodBoy are working towards producing everything in house. The “shop-to-shelf” approach means screen printing, embroidery, assembly, and tagging are all done by GoodBoy—not an outside manufacturer.
It is part of the socially conscious business Mixon is determined to build. That means creating jobs locally and continuing to build his business, invest in, and be inspired by Flint.
“We’re here. We represent Flint. We don’t want to be anything else,” says Mixon.
The grand opening event for GoodBoy Clothing is 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. New collections will be unveiled and guests will be invited to tour the recently remodeled storefront and see the production process.
GoodBoy Clothing is located at 522 S. Saginaw St. in downtown Flint. It is located above Sutorial in Buckham Alley. For more information, visit www.goodboyclothes.com