From the back of his car to a permanent store at the Broadway Square Mall, TJC alumni Romereo Brown, Jr. has started his own clothing business, Weird & Different, from the ground up.
Brown enrolled at TJC in 2016 and majored in business. After graduating, he had the idea of starting his own clothing business.
Brown started his business degree journey at TJC, graduated in 2019 then set his plan into motion. At the start of Brown’s academic journey, he said people tried to stifle him and told him he might want to choose something different. He persisted through the adversity.
“It kind of put a self-doubt with me. But I’m happy I came to that self-doubt and did it myself,” Brown said.
While criticism from others might have been a challenge to his drive and creativity, Brown persisted.
“When I look in the mirror you have to see greatness in yourself before anyone else sees it. So, I have to look in the mirror and be like, ‘Hey, you gonna be great. The world don’t know it yet but you do. Show them,” Brown said.
While being an entrepreneur most are faced with more than just the business side of the world, they also may face the people they know not believing in them.
The year Brown moved back to Texas from Colorado was when the inspiration for Weird & Different, his store, finally struck. Inspiration can come from anywhere — a speech, an ad, social media— but for Brown it came one day after school, when he went to his local mall and picked up and Levi’s shirt and said, “$40 for a shirt? Man, I can do that myself.” From then, Brown said “it just clicked.” Instead of making something artificial with no personality, he wanted to do something different.
“I wanted to do something meaningful, something powerful. So, something that connected me to my brand,” Brown said he added he wants people to feel his pain because, “no matter who you are, we’re all weird and different.”
He started his company in one of the hardest modern climates for all businesses — COVID.
“I started in February 2020. Everything ready. And then outta nowhere COVID hit me,” Brown said. “And was very tough because I did it all by myself and my clothes didn’t come in till May.”
Starting one’s own business means they can start any kind of business whether it be real estate, marketing, podcast, YouTube, landscaping, construction — there is no limit to what one can do. Brown found his journey through clothing.
“With clothing there is no limitation on creativity. The first thing people do is look at what someone is wearing. Clothing is self-expression,” Brown said. From the beginning to now, Brown has gone a long way in the past four years of owning and operating his own business. He is locally famous and has obtained a wide following on social media including Instagram and TikTok, but he says he’s still not where he wants to be.
“We want to be in every different country, every different state. We’re going to be everywhere. We inspire productivity. So we will have an anti-bullying campaign in the schools though we want to do so much,” Brown said. “We want to help churches, build houses, build schools. So it’s cool to be in this moment. And I’m grateful. A lot of people in their lifetime won’t experience what we’re going through. But I don’t want to get too content as well.”
One of the steps he has taken to help his community is the creation of the Weird & Different scholarship at his alma mater TJC. The scholarship will give students majoring in business, fashion design, retail or marketing $1,000 annually to go toward their education while they’re studying.
He’s now looking around his shop, remembering the road he has traveled to get to the place he is now.
Overcoming all the nay-sayers, the drawbacks, the trials and tribulations this is what he had to say to the person who is beginning their own journey.
“I’m blessed to have a great family, but not everybody is blessed with that. But you can make friends your family. Be around people that treat you well. Be around people that when you get successful, they don’t want to lie to you. They’ll be honest,” Brown said. “Everybody in my store my mom, my sisters, my brother, if I’m wrong, they will call me out on it. And I think sometimes people get egotistical and big headed and not willing to be humbled by somebody. So, I have everyone in my store correct me if I’m wrong. This is how I stay humble.”