Last week was Huston-Tillotson’s homecoming week, we’re in the middle of Black History month and there’s still so much more to celebrate!
Founded in 1875, the second black HBCU in all of Texas and the first college in Austin (yes, before UT), is still thriving and shaping quality talent and changemakers for the world. This time four years ago, soulciti featured HT grads, the Kicking It team, to highlight the opening of their flagship store and the history made by being the first retail shoe and apparel store with a full-service bar in America.
The opening also served as the first and only black-owned space in Austin’s exclusively occupied, Domain. Since then, the team has continued to chart new territory with its marketing prowess, branding partnerships, and events highlighting other local businesses. soulciti recently sat down with HT Business Professor and Kicking It founder, Greg Grovey to discuss Kicking It’s success, future plans, and recent “I Love my HBCU” Jacket collaboration with World Series Company owner and HT grad, Tim Moore.
WHAT IS THE “I LOVE MY HBCU” COLLABORATION AND HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
The “I Love my HBCU” Jacket is a Kicking It and World Series Company collaboration paying homage to Historically Black Colleges and universities. It’s made of high-quality leather and jean and features 40 patches depicting some well-known HBCUs as well as some of the smaller colleges that are sometimes overlooked, Huston-Tillotson being one of them. It retails for $400 and is part of a limited release.
WHEN DID THE COLLABORATION OFFICIALLY LAUNCH AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON IT?
Kicking It hit the masses with a Beyonce-type surprise drop. The “I Love My HBCU” Jacket dropped on January 28th having first announced it two days before. From planning to fruition, it took about six months or so for design tweaks, manufacturing, and sampling.
HOW DID THE PARTNERSHIP COME ABOUT?
The partnership was a collaborative effort with Kickin It and World Series Company owner, Tim Moore. Grovey explains he and Tim first met when he was a professor at Huston-Tillotson and Moore was a junior in the business school. “ After he graduated from HT, he went on to work for Oracle and teach Business at HT. One day he came into Kicking It and told me he was starting a clothing line. He began to show me his various designs and ideas and they were good. I respected his ideas and his hustle.”Grovey continues, “Nowadays hustler has a negative connotation but Tim was determined. He really wanted to put on for our schools and others and I was with it.
HOW DID YOU SELECT THE SCHOOLS TO BE FEATURED ON THE JACKET?
Well obviously, HT had to go on there. It’s near and dear to our hearts. We’re a small school compared to colleges like Morehouse and Clark Atlanta. And I feel that sometimes we can get overlooked in the HBCU conversation. Others were selected as our family members may have attended. For instance, my parents met at Texas Southern University’s campus and my dad was an entrepreneur. Others were more random. We also understood marketability. Bigger schools have larger followings and thus a good selling point as well. We still get people who come in and are like, man I don’t see my school on there, he laughs. We couldn’t have them all but a lot of them still purchase because they understand what Historically Black Colleges and Universities mean to the culture.
Kicking It is HBCU culture
THIS NEWEST RELEASE IS A CONTINUED EFFORT OF THE KICKING IT BRAND AS YOU RECENTLY PARTNERED WITH THE HUSTON-TILLOTSON LADY RAMS BASKETBALL TEAM TO DESIGN THEIR UNIFORMS, HOW WAS THAT?
Out of everything Kicking It has done, designing the Lady Rams uniforms was one of our biggest accomplishments. We’ve only been open for four years; technically, we’re still in our infancy/start-up stage. HT has been around since 1875 and since its origin, they’ve only worn maroon and gold. Our uniform designs were the first time they’d ever worn another color. That shows so much trust in the brand. That means a lot to me. I appreciate the trust of Dr. Williams and Coach KD and I look forward to us working together more in the future.
When asked his why, Grovey asserts, “Kicking It is HBCU culture. We believe in telling our story authentically and that story started at HT. It started with my parents.” The “I Love My HBCU” Jacket and campaign is just the beginning for the Kicking It brand. While Grovey was rather tightlipped about what the future holds, he did confirm there were more collaborations in the future and also hinted there’s a second location slated to open in the fall of 2023 — stay tuned!
Kicking It is located at 3200 Palm Way #156 in The Domain North and they are open Monday-Saturday 11AM-8PM snd Sunday Noon-6PM.