By Karen Abbott-Trimuel
LANSING, Ill. (July 22, 2022) – Reginald Jones always wanted to become an entrepreneur and own his own business. So much so that he once wrote an affirmation card for himself that read: “I will have a storefront in 2021.”
That dream came true for Jones after he signed the lease for 3432 Ridge Road, which has become the home of his clothing line Outliers Apparel. Located in the heart of downtown Lansing, the small store offers branded streetwear clothing including T-shirts, hats, pants, ski masks, and jogging suits. The store also has an online presence at otlrapparel.com.
“I’m very spontaneous and always wanted to work for myself,” said Jones, who opened Outliers in November of 2021.
Jones is 31 years old and the father of an 11-year-old son. He graduated from Chicago Vocational High School and went to trade school at Coyne College in Chicago. From there, Jones worked in factories as an electrician and often found himself the youngest employee doing the trade work. This realization fueled his desire to become an entrepreneur as he didn’t want to work at a factory for the next 30 years.
In 2016, Jones read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
“The book was about research Malcolm Gladwell did to discover the common denominator with all successful people in the world, the people who we consider to be GOATs (Greatest of All Time). The conclusion he shared is that it would take 10,000 hours to put in towards your craft for you to be considered an Outlier. After I read the book, I decided the name Outlier would make a pretty cool clothing line, and that next year I got my LLC to start the process,” Jones explained.
Urban streetwear in Lansing
Jones said that he first learned about the Ridge Road location when attending a pop-up shop for another clothing business, and the process of opening Outliers at 3432 Ridge was easy.
“The Village of Lansing made opening my business stress-free, and it happened very quickly, so everything lined up for me at the right time. Lansing doesn’t have a lot of urban streetwear clothing stores, so I can now be that option for people looking for quality garments,” Jones said.
Outliers’ customers are primarily high school students or people ranging from the ages of 18-35. However, many of its older customers come in to purchase jogging suits. The prices vary from $35 for T-shirts to $160 for jogging suits.
Balancing time and advice for other entrepreneurs
Now that Jones not only has his own clothing line, but also a brick-and-mortar location, he says he’s careful to balance his time well.
“Nowadays making time to enjoy more life is more intentional for me because it’s easy to get locked in on business and forget to live. I love to travel, visit my best friend in Dallas, and take trips out of the country. Business should never take over your life completely,” Jones said.
Jones believes that aspiring entrepreneurs should have a three-to-five-year mindset and not procrastinate.
“It’s different from working a job and collecting a check. With that comes consistency. … If you’re chasing money while building your business, it’s not coming from a genuine place, and it will be like a false sense of urgency. You’ll be trying to live off that, and for most businesses, you can’t live off the profits when you’re just starting. Plus, it’s better to put the money back into the company early in the years,” he said.
Outliers is located at 3432 Ridge Road in Lansing, and can be found at otlrapparel.com.