Elevate Exchange is bringing the 'First Class Fashion Show' to downtown Flint

FLINT, Michigan — Flint native Dustin Gaines, the owner of clothing brand Elevate Exchange, returns with his 2nd Annual Fashion Show illustrating the evolution of his company and his experience as a small business owner. The First Class Fashion Show is set to take place on Saturday, May 13 at the Rutherford Parking Garage Rooftop (600 Church St) from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., with showtime starting at 8 p.m.

There will be a special guest performance by Flint artist, Babyfxce E., and Gaines himself will be celebrating his birthday that day. “We are taking off and taking fashion to the next level. It is an airport theme,” says Gaines. He gathered the main concept for the show from his slogan and sentiment, “It’s only up from here!”

Gaines shared with Flintside a look into his career in the retail field and how it has helped him to successfully operate his business. “When I first got out of high school, I worked for the Banana Republic so I had experience with running a fitting room and checking out customers as a cashier.”

Gaines acknowledges the difference between receiving orders from customers in person and dealing with difficult customers at times. “Overall, I love every bit of it because it’s made me who I am today.”

Since launching the brand in 2020, Gaines describes his steady success over the last two years as “a real eye opener” and “a ride to remember.” “When I first started, the number of orders was outstanding,” says Gaines. “I had to fulfill at least 10-12 orders per day for about two months straight. Once I launched my website, I decided to incorporate ‘collections’ to make it easier on me during the ordering process.”

Gaines is currently preparing to operate a storefront in the ‘heart of the city’ in downtown Flint. He says that the most important lesson from operating his business and hosting his annual fashion shows would be always making sure his customers are happy. His main priorities are to ensure that customers and attendees are having a great time and are happy.

“The advice I have for other entrepreneurs would be to always make sure your customers are satisfied and stay consistent in promoting your brand so they can’t miss it,” says Gaines.

He encourages his peers to “trust the process” assuring that “whatever you are working towards will pay off long as you stay consistent.”

Tickets for the First Class Fashion Show can be purchased here. Learn more about Elevate Exchange on their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.
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Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.