This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the 11 student startups participating in our Terp Startup Accelerator summer program. Participating student entrepreneurs will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 that will enable them to work exclusively on their startups over the next eight weeks.
Founder: Brian Spinner ’23, Environmental Science and Policy
DC: In two to three sentences, how would you describe your startup?
Spinner: Old Town, New Clothes is the creative outlet I use to introduce clothing that is currently non-existent in the world of clothing.
DC: At what point did you know you wanted to create your own startup?
Spinner: In March 2022, I set out to Mckeldin to sell clothing to make money for a spring break trip. It was a success and I got a sense of how much I enjoyed curating collections of clothing and seeing other people enjoy the clothes I picked out. Come August 2022 I began making my own branded merchandise which was a hit. This success was all I needed to give it my all.
DC: Who or what is your biggest influence for your startup?
Spinner: I first felt inspired creatively when I started consuming the media that AWGE produces. AWGE is a creative agency founded by A$AP Rocky. I began watching their content, following the featured artists, and checking out their merchandise in Highschool with some of my friends. Watching AWGE create something out of nothing gave me the desire to do the same. Years later this took the form of Old Town, New Clothes.
DC: Why did you decide to start a business in this industry?
Spinner: I call myself a “glorified hoarder”. I have so many clothes. I love clothing; brands, thrifting, marketing, cultures surrounding clothing, and expressing myself in my outfits. Whatever it is, I developed a strong passion for clothes during college and gained the confidence to wear whatever I want. On any given nice day in College Park there is a good chance someone is having a pop-up on Mckeldin selling whatever their “something” is. I realized there was such a growing market for second-hand clothing. Now is a unique time as our generation understands the importance of purchasing clothing second-hand. Looking at the clothing industry through multiple lenses showed me how malleable it truly is. One day I am screen printing, the next I am embroidering, the next I am editing a video, and the next I’m on Mckeldin on a beautiful day selling clothes and sharing my passion with people I didn’t know the morning prior. In this industry, I can be a designer, artist, photographer, videographer, tailor, accountant, founder, brand ambassador, and the list goes on and on. Old Town, New Clothes is whatever I want it to be and quickly became a therapeutic avenue for me.
DC: What updates or significant accomplishments can you share with us about your company from the last few months?
Spinner: Getting accepted into the Terp Startup accelerator is something I am very proud of. Made my 600th sale all while keeping Old Town, New Clothes fully sustainable. Completed ARTT343 “Elements of Screen Printing” with Justin Strom this past semester after not taking an art class since middle school. Made Old Town, New Clothes worldwide by gifting a 1/1 hoodie to my tour guide from my winter abroad experience in New Zealand. This list as well could go on and on.
DC: When it comes to your startup, how do you define success?
Spinner: I define success as sticking to my values as a business owner. Early on I received some very important advice. This was to really dig deep and think about why I am doing this and to never lose sight of that. I continue with Old Town, New Clothes because I enjoy it and I can still say with confidence that I enjoy it. As long as this continues Old Town, New Clothes will continue to be guided by me as a business owner and creative.
DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup Accelerator this summer?
Spinner: One tangible goal for Terp Startup is to have my own set of blanks. By the end of this program when customers shop Old Town, New Clothes they will be walking away with an Old Town, New Clothes tag on their garment. This is an avenue I have been intimidated by as there is so much to it but I know it is attainable through this program.
DC: If you could give advice to any aspiring entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Spinner: Go for it. I used the term “something” earlier. Whatever your “something” is, go for it. If you need to count on friends and family in the beginning, that’s normal. College is a unique period of time in which you have access to this vast community to be your early adopters. Your circle should want to see you dive into something you are truly passionate about. If you are really enjoying your “something” and finding your definition of success then keep the ball rolling. If it doesn’t work, pat yourself on the back and figure out how or if you want to continue your journey. Minimizing risk is an important part of entrepreneurship and sometimes learning the hard way is the best way to understand the importance of this. My last piece of advice would be to follow this super cool clothing brand called @oldtownnewclothes on Instagram. The guy who runs it makes some really cool clothes and would appreciate anyone who supports it.
To learn more about Old Town, New Clothes, please visit the website here.