How this entrepreneur dropped out of school to start a fashion brand endorsed by NBA players

Abu Mubarik March 20, 2023
Justis Pitt-Goodson. Photo credit: CNBC Made It

Justis Pitt-Goodson is a fashion entrepreneur with celebrity endorsements, and the brainchild behind the streetwear brand, BrownMill. Before launching his brand, he sewed and sold bow ties to his middle school peers. According to him, it was the experience of selling crooked-seamed designs that gave him the confidence to pursue his dream of designing clothes.

The idea of BrownMill was also conceived while he was in high school with two of his colleagues, Taha Shimou, and Kwaku Agyemang. His dream to be a major player in the fashion industry motivated him to take internships with stylists and fashion brands in New York while juggling classes.

“I’m interning with stylists, so I’m learning different parts of every piece of the business of fashion,” Pitt-Goodson said. “I think all that mixed with going to the business school at the same time really helped shape an idea and give me a vision for what I wanted this company to look like.”

He later dropped out of school to focus on the business full-time because he already figured out how to grow his fashion business. However, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and his then-girlfriend found out she was pregnant with their son shortly after he quit college to build his business.

This turning point in his life saw him pick up a job in copywriting at a luxurious hotel, but got fired less than one year into his job, according to CNBC Made It.

“It was a job that was more about production and pace rather than the quality of work,” Pitt-Goodson said. “I just felt like a machine. I had a big quota every day, and I would ultimately have no time to think about what I was doing. I knew it wasn’t serving me. It wasn’t serving my spirit, and before I could quit, they fired me.”

He soon turned his attention to making streetwear, which led him to start BrownMill from his family’s home in Piscataway, New Jersey, and grew the brand by promoting its online store at local pop-up events until March 2020,

According to CNBC Made It, the company brought in $327,000 in revenue last year. Before that, the company was not making a six-figure profit; it made $86,000 in 2020. In 2022, the company was on track to reach $1 million in sales. “This year, the firm has projected to reach $2 million in annual revenue by getting BrownMill into traditional retail stores,” he said.

What is more, he plans to open storefronts in “growing Black communities” like Atlanta, Los Angeles, or Accra, Ghana. Meanwhile, the brand has received endorsements from NBA stars like Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Andre Iguodala.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: March 20, 2023


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