Right after he graduated from college, he was back in Detroit within two days. He didn’t waste any time because he had bigger fish to fry and in less than a month (after he returned), he was able to help a friend take his business venture a step further.
Danario Barnes, a native of Highland Park and a recent Kentucky State University graduate is Our August Ambitious Man of the Month. Barnes gives us some insight on his entrepreneurial journey post-graduation as well as where he hopes to be in five years.
Barnes is the co-owner of The Local Collective on Seven Mile and Livernois as well as Woodworkz clothing line. Aside from that, he also works another job but that doesn’t stop him from chasing his dreams, if anything it supports them but he’s not doing it alone. The other owner goes by the name “Chase” and he’s also the designer of Woodworkz clothing.
“Chase obtained the store in April and had been working on it since the beginning of May,” Barnes says.
“So, the moment I came home from school I jumped right into it.”
“We would be over to Chase’s house and he would always make things… he’s a really creative person,” Barnes says.
“I remember he was putting some wood on his shoes before a party and though he didn’t finish the shoes in time, the next day he had wood on hats, belts …he had wood on everything.”
Barnes says the name comes just from that — clothing with wood made into it.
According to Barnes, Woodworkz is closing in on its first year. Although, it is now sold at The Local Collective (which opened June 1), prior to that it was only available online.
“Chase’s idea to get a store came shortly after doing a few fashion shows at various colleges both inside and outside of Michigan,” Barnes says.
“We started selling online because we understood that we wouldn’t be able to start off selling clothing in Macy’s or Sears and we saw that a lot of people were selling clothes online.”
Eventually, they decided it was better to open up a physical store.
“We wanted to make it a place where we could showcase our work as well as help out other local designers who were going through the same issues as us when it came to finding a physical location,” Barnes says.
Advice to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“Just do it,” Barnes says.
He studied education at KSU and says he never thought he’d be in the position he’s in now.
“Take what you know and keep positive people around you,” Barnes says.
He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to build a team.
Barnes says to avoid trying to do everything on your own because one person will not know every aspect of the business and if you have more than one person working with you that knows something that you don’t, it helps keep things on track (same thing I suggested in the networking post).
“Just make sure you have a loyal team that you can depend on,” he says.
“It’s not as hard as it looks.”
Planning for the Future
“I hope to make TLC a franchise with multiple locations in Detroit and maybe have other locations throughout the Midwest in states like Ohio, Indiana and Chicago,” Barnes says.
TLC is a place for local designers and Barnes says he feels they can go almost anywhere and open up a store with that particular community in mind.
“We can take it to Kansas. I don’t know anything about Kansas but we could find some people from Kansas, see what they’re like and have them bring their things to the store,” Barnes says.
“I’m hoping it can be the type of store where it’s recognized for multiple communities but not specific to a certain “name brand” like most retail stores.”
“We had a goal and once it was set, whether it was having the walls painted, tables or reaching out to designers to get them in here, we wanted to be prepared for business when we opened the store,” Barnes says.
According to Barnes, TLC gives absolute freedom to their designers.
“Everything they make, they get back. We’re helping them get started and it helps us out publicity wise,” He says.
Barnes says some designers are in the store more than others it just depends on their schedules.
“Chase is the owner so he’s always here. It was his idea to start the local collective and he did most of the ground-work and he started Woodworkz clothing, so he does a lot… he does more than anybody this is his.”
We’ve heard about entrepreneurship from a single owner (July Ambitious Woman of The Month) and now you’ve just read about it from a co-owner. I hope you were able to take some knowledge from this post.
Stay Ambitious! Stay Motivated!