We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher O’Neil and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was really wanting something of my own. I have always been into clothing and adding my own personal touches to it. But the goal is to create something that the City (Houston) and State (Texas) can connect and be elevated to a global status. I will start with my City first.
What should our readers know about your business?
Especial is a Texas brand. I was born in the 1986, so I can say I was super fortunate enough to be really engulfed in the 90’s culture going forward. Now when I say the 90’s culture I don’t mean just the global culture but also the local 90’s culture. I’m extremely grateful. I take those influences mix them in with some personal filters and that’s the basis for my designs and how things come up in my head. Especial started in the local Skateshops such as Select, Southside Skatepark, Kingpinz, and Shannon’s Streetwaves. We also were in Big Tho’s- Go Hustler Smokeshop. We made it to Elite Shop, Harvard Blvd, and Kickin’ It also. I’m so thankful for all of those opportunities to be in those brick and mortar shops. During that time I had no growth strategy and I always knew that was needed. So I developed a plan where I needed to get I front of the people to let them more about the brand. So then, I started to doing popups to get the name out to people. But do expect for Especial to be back in shops very soon. The goal for Especial is grow from the City first and expand outward and always letting being known this is a Texas brand and I am not changing that. I believe that we have a culture that is so rich and thick in Texas that it can be on a global platform without anything being changed or just picking pieces. Basically, the “South has something to say.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’re definitely going to a popup that Especial’s Mobile Hustling Unit is posted up at you get to meet the people there. It’s nothing like that ever. If not we’re going to Vintage Streetfest or Hip Hop Vintage Flea Market, Blck Market, HTX Market, or the Buy Black Marketplace, or checking out some more cool markets in the City. We’re definitely going to get some get vegan food too many spots to name but for sure Veegos, Houston Sauce Co., Lindianas, Ray Jays Feel Good, Houstlanta Vegan. Rice and Peas from Reggae Hut. Over to Spivey’s Bistro for them Turkey Necks. Yeah we’re gonna be in food heaven. Frozen Mojitos from The Flat. Go to Uncle Otis for some fire Vegan Ice Cream. Ride some bikes with the Houston Rippers. Go to the skateparks. Watch some movies outdoors with Space City Shows. Then some cool nature trials at the Audubon and the Arboretum. If the weather is nice then we might drive down to Galveston or Surfside to surf or kick it at the beach.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate a huge piece of my influence to my family and friends. They have all helped in so many ways I can’t name. But I’m so thankful to have a strong support unit. Also shout out to the Supporters and Customers (there’s a difference between the two but it’s love no matter what) without y’all, Especial would just be a brand in my head along with some cool ideas.
Facebook: Especial Clothing Co.
Thanks to the homies Harris (@harrisshootz), Shay Smith (@shana.Lynette) Dayne Helaire (@dxynesworld) for taking some of these shots.