Phil Simpson

Freshman Clothing

Phil Simpson + Freshman Clothing

“I am the owner of a local menswear clothing company called Freshman Clothing, which I would describe as clean, casual streetwear with an urban twist. I am also an artist and painter which is important to my work as a designer. As an artist, my two gifts are the ability to create and the ability to make people smile – these are the two driving forces to my work. Whether through art or designing clothes, It’s not about me, It’s about everyone I can affect through what I create.”

Building his Business

“Having already had a clothing store in Downtown Detroit, I joined Build to get some more knowledge on the business end of running and opening a second store. The Build class helped me figure out the direction of my second store and gave me an outside perspective on what I needed to do. None of my previous knowledge really mattered anymore; I felt like a new student and found that the best thing is to be open to new ideas and admit you don’t know everything.

The Build class made me feel less alone because I saw other people going through the same issues as me. It was okay to ask silly questions and I felt very much at home. Build laid out my options for me in terms of funding, which has been the hardest part for me. It really made me want it more, to come back bigger and better than last time. Something I’ve noticed after completing Build is that people tend to listen a little more – you can drop the D:hive name.”

Beyond Build

“I am way further along into my business than I was when I walked into Build. Since then I have gotten more creative with my designs, met people I can do business with such as website designers and am developing my website. I am also working on developing my merchandise and the possibility of a pop-up store.”

Future Building

“By March or April there will be merchandise to offer online or in pop-up retail space, most likely both. I would like to make Freshman Clothing a full brand, meaning not just clothes but belts, socks, even carabiners. My ultimate goal is to open the store downtown or possibly midtown. I would also like to grow the women’s component to my designs. I am always looking to grow and evolve and you can see this in my ‘Backpack Kid’ logo, which represents someone who is on a journey, always putting their best foot forward.”