We had the good fortune of connecting with Adonis Alexander and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adonis, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a native Houstonian I grew up always wanting to see our city be recognized for all it had to offer. When you look at New York, Chicago, and LA, they all have signature apparel and shirts that really represent their city in an international way. For example you can put the New York skyline on a shirt, and instantly it becomes a fashion statement. Or you can have a shirt simply say “Cali” in a nice beach inspired script text, and it can be seen worn all over the world. Houston being the 4th largest city in America with so much to offer culturally, and artistically etc. I felt there was no reason why it shouldn’t have its own T Shirt staples that allowed it to have a “seat at the table” with those cities, that would draw the admiration of both locals, and eventually nationally. When thinking of Houston’s best characteristic to highlight that would allow it to stand out in it’s own right, it was a no-brainer that this was Houston’s cultural “diversity”. I added the letter “c” after the s in diversity, and “Diverscity” Clothing Co. was born, allowing you to either call it “Diverscity” or “Divers-City’, highlighting Houston’s status as one of the most ethnically diverse cities in America! Coined as the “Brand For All”, Diverscity Clothing Co. was started in Houston, but made to expand to other cities that are also diverse. The name is meant to reflect that no matter how far it grows, it originated in the “diverse city” of Houston. The city that took the lead in sharing with the rest of the world what it has already known for some time. The fact that we are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity the world would be boring.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
So to date I have designed everything myself and Ive been very particular about designing things that are classic and timeless. My goal has always been for the designs to be as relevant 20 years from now as it is today. If it doesn’t have that type of “it” factor I wont release it until it does. I also take the time to add layers to the designs as well so that there is always more to it than initially thought. Im proud of how there has been so much support for the designs. They have been worn all over the world from Amsterdam to Malaysia, and even out of this world all the way on the International Space Station! I originally started back in 2016 while still working my day job at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I worked on my designs for 30 minutes a day on my lunch break as at the time I didn’t even have my own computer. I kept designing that entire year until I had about 12 designs that I was comfortable with before I actually released anything or did it any Pop Ups. I finally released what I had in December 2016, and about 1 month later I was laid off from MD Anderson after 14 years and was pushed into entrepreneurship full time. The lessons I learned along the way is really how much you must love what you do. There are are going to be ups and down, several roadblocks, uncertainty, and tough challenges. If you don’t love what you do or do it from the heart it makes it very difficult to make it past all of those challenges and keep going. On so many occasions I’ve had to remind myself of why I started as motivation. What I want the world to know about my brand is that Diverscity Clothing Co. was created to be the official/unofficial clothing line of Houston that represents in the way we deserve to represented internationally.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Monday I would take them to Axelrad for comedy night and the most amazing collection of draft beer. Tuesday’s are Taco Tuesdays here and I would definitely be taking them to Lamacro which sets up at Drift Bar all week. They have absolutely the best trompo pork tacos I’ve had outside of Mexico! Wednesday I would take them to HEB so they can see how great our Texas based grocery is and we would cook a nice meal from what we find there. Thursdays are all about 90s night at Barbarella! They play everything from NSYNC to MC Hammer and the crowd is so diverse and has such a love for 90s music! But before Barbarella gets started Thursday evening, we have to eat lunch at BB’s Cafe. On Thursdays they have a dish called Grillades & Grits. Beef Tips marinated for 24 hours and then cooked down in a Cajun Roux until tender, over cheese grits, and it’s only available on Thursday’s.. Friday is the All Access Art Show, a unique art show that has an open bar, live painting, and a DJ. Its definitely a unique experience! Saturday we definitely have to go to McIntyres Heights! My favorite local bar, they have all the tv’s, awesome cocktails, El Guajillo food truck. and some of the nicest looking people in Houston! Sunday no doubt would have to be a stop at the Houston Heights Market that is filled with Sunday Funday vibes and some of the best local vendors in the city! You’re going to find things there that you wont find anywhere else!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So there is both an organization and person that has really played a critical role in the growth of Diverscity Clothing Co. In 2017 I was a part of LAUNCH, which is a boutique that was first created for Super Bowl Live as a place everyone could go during Super Bowl weekend to buy Houston themed merchandise. It was so successful that Houston First who created LAUNCH decided to keep it around and rotate the designers every 3 months. At LAUNCH I was taught many of the ends and outs of the business by Sydney Dao and she was such a great mentor. My time at LAUNCH led to several opportunities including being featured on Great Day Houston, being a part of the first ever fashion show at Discovery Green, getting my items in the Hilton Americas gift shop and Phoenicia Speciality Foods, and so much more. Down to this day Sydney has been such a great help in teaching myself as well as several other Houston small businesses how to run your store the right way.