By Olivia Spidell and Jaleah Green, JSHOP Reporters
For Grant Henderson, originality is a major key when it comes to building your own brand.
The 24-year-old Detroit native is the founder of the clothing line Greatness The One. Henderson’s brand is dedicated to inspiring young people in Detroit through fashion and streetwear. His brand is geared towards people ages 18-26, but he particularly believes in putting his focus towards those in high school to start businesses.
“You’re never too young to start,” Henderson said.
The entrepreneur spoke to the National Association of Black Journalists’ JSHOP 2018 on Thursday, Aug. 2 to a group of young journalists about turning their ideas into a business.
“Recognize to a T what it is you want to do, what path you want to take and incorporate your individuality,” Henderson shared.
Henderson joked that he got his start as a self-branded business owner at a young age selling dollar tapes at his church. He talked about how he had to find a way to make his own money to buy the things he wanted because his parents wanted him to learn how to make his own way.
Henderson started his brand, Greatness, when he realized he couldn’t find clothes that he liked when he was younger. He began to make his own shirts, and with the advice of others, he learned about branding while continuing his education.
“I wanted to do something that had a lasting impact,” he said.
The Greatness brand began in April 2015 with the help of a Kickstarter campaign in which he raised $7,484.
Henderson said one of his earlier designs that he believed had the most impact was a shirt saying “Don’t be good, be great.” It was the brand’s first hallmark design. He believes that the next in line will be his newest design “Detroit, A Different World,” referring to the 1990’s TV show “A Different World.”
Henderson was raised in Pontiac and attended Groves High School in the Metro Detroit area.
“This brand is 100 percent Detroit,” he said.
He believes that there is a lot of room for growth in Detroit within his brand. He mentioned that the city is in a “Renaissance period” and there is no better time to be a Detroiter than right now.
“I would like to be the Henry Ford of streetwear, ” Henderson said.
He is the son of two prominent journalists; Felecia Henderson and the late Angelo Henderson. When the younger Henderson was asked about the challenges he has faced while pursuing his start-up brand, he reflected on the toughest moment he experienced: the sudden death of his father, former two-term NABJ president of the Detroit chapter and Pulitzer Prize winner.
“Everything was smaller than the loss of my father. Personal loss is always going to be worse than a professional one,” Henderson remarked.
Rather than let this event devastate him, it became the catalyst for helping him through tough times. His mother proudly stated, “(It) inspired him and helped him push through the grief.”
She continued to speak fondly about her former husband and the legacy her family has left on the Motor City. She quoted him as always telling their son that “You have to be your brand.” Felecia Henderson gave one final piece of advice for her son: “Always stay authentic and be true to who you are.”
In June 2018, Grant Henderson was one out of 16 chosen for the Puma Fashion Mogul Challenge. “I didn’t even think I was gonna get picked, for real.” The story of his design was:
“If you stay in your lane, and run your race… you can be VICTORIOUS in the race of life!”
The design that Henderson presented landed him second place. During the contest, Henderson was also able to meet one of his role models, fellow Detroit native, Sean Anderson a.ka. rap star Big Sean.
Henderson hopes to work with the rapper and others as he has a bright future ahead of him.
“I’m very proud of him. That he wanted to do something to inspire young people to excel in their life,” his mother, Felecia Henderson, said about her son.