Eight months after launching an athleisure-wear company that they bought in Cincinnati and brought to Dallas, identical twins Terrence and Tim Maiden envision a year of robust growth for a brand that offers not only clothes, but inspiration.
Appropriately named RISE, the Oak Cliff-based venture couples the sales of its online apparel with a commitment to foster “positive change,” particularly in impoverished communities. A percentage of its revenues goes into community programs to help eradicate poverty and improve social conditions.
“We want people to look good and feel good and then do good.”
One of its websites — inspiredtorise.com — offers motivational messages from “brand ambassadors” such as former NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson, a six-time All-Pro during his 11-year career with the San Diego Chargers, and Coqueace “KoCo” Powell, a third-generation cancer survivor who has traveled the country to offer hope to other cancer victims.
“We want people to look good and feel good and then do good,” said Terrence Maiden, echoing one of the company’s core messages. “That’s what we feel differentiates our brand. We’re a clothing company with an inspirational message.”
The 38-year-old businessmen, who grew up in Oak Cliff and were scholarship football players at Texas Christian University, bought the Cincinnati apparel company in October 2015 and introduced RISE to its new home in Dallas at an event in May.
The company was shut down for six months before its re-launch in Dallas as the new owners transferred a half-million dollars in inventory, created new websites, and repurposed RISE into an athleisure line accenting quality and geared to urban millennials.
NEW PRODUCTS, PHYSICAL STORE IN THE WORKS FOR RISE
The current line, displayed on riseclothing.com, features jackets, hoodies, T-shirts, backpacks, and caps, ranging from a low of $15.99 for a cap to $79.99 for a Signature RISE jacket. Maiden said RISE plans to roll out between eight to 12 new products throughout 2017 in what he predicts will be a period of strong growth in its first full year in Dallas.
“We’re evolving,” he said. “We’re a young company that’s growing, that’s looking to really grow aggressively.”
One major expansion for the online company will be the opening of a brick-and-mortar store, possibly in March or April. Maiden said he can’t disclose the location pending negotiations, but said it will cater to a regional clientele that includes Oak Cliff, Duncanville, DeSoto, and Cedar Hill. Other plans include a fashion event in May and additional inspirational videos on the RISE website.
“We’re a young company that’s growing, that’s looking to really grow aggressively.”
RISE Clothing Co. is located on South Madison Avenue in Oak Cliff. Maiden said he and his brother constitute the only “actual employees,” but they work with more than a half-dozen consultants, designers, and video companies. The company logo is RISE along with a symbol vaguely shaped like an R.
Although RISE has been somewhat of a work in progress in its opening months, Maiden said sales have steadily increased with the help of ads and promotions, spiking around Father’s Day, Independence Day, and the holiday season. The company relies heavily on social media such as Facebook and Instagram.
BUILDING THE ATHLEISURE BRAND
The Dallas company began taking root in 2012 when the brothers — Tim, a banking executive, and Terrence, a real estate developer — conceived a movement called iRISE to inspire individuals through motivational films featuring stories of people who overcame hardship. The 2015 purchase of the four-year-old RISE company in Cincinnati gave them a retail vehicle to help fulfill their altruistic ambitions.
Tomlinson, who knew the brothers from their days playing football together at TCU, serves a high-profile role as a “brand ambassador” appearing in a video on the inspiredtorise.com site. Tomlinson, who is now a studio analyst for the NFL network, recounted his days as a high school athlete in Waco when one of his basic goals was “just making my Mom proud.”
“He’s always been a big supporter of some of the things we’ve been trying to accomplish,” Terrence Maiden said of Tomlinson, whose Touching Lives Foundation promotes education, social/cultural awareness, and self-esteem. “He agreed to share his story, which was huge for us.”
“I found my purpose and I try to motivate others to go to the doctors and take care of yourself.”
Coqueace “KoCo” Powell
Coqueace “KoCo” Powell is featured on the site wearing pink boxing gloves and a gray hoodie to symbolically illustrate her fight against two bouts of cancer.
“I found my purpose and I try to motivate others to go to the doctors and take care of yourself,” she said in a recent telephone interview.
Another website — riseagainstpoverty.com — describes the company’s commitment to fighting the global poverty crisis and promises to invest a percentage of the returns from each purchase toward issues of “systemic poverty or crisis.”
Terrence Maiden said the company will try to donate “anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of our revenue to alleviate poverty” but was only able to give about $1,000 during its Dallas start-up phase this year.
The RISE model is similar to that of TOMS shoes — which promises to help “a person in need” for every product sold — but it nevertheless seems to put the Maidens’ company in a relatively exclusive niche of retailers. And for the brothers, it marks the fruition of a goal they first started reaching for years ago.
“It embodies our life,” Terrence Maiden said. “It gives us the opportunity to build and grow something together.”
Oak Cliff Natives Aim to Alleviate Poverty Through Clothing Brand
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