I Dropped Out Of College To Grow My Side Hustle - Now It Brings In $327,000

Updated: December 4th, 2023

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Justis Pitt-Goodson is the founder, creative director, and CEO of the Newark, NJ-based BrownMill clothing company.

  • Pitt-Goodson and two friends(Taha Shimou and Kwaku Agyemang) built the idea for the streetwear brand. He dropped out of college after two years to pursue his business full-time.

  • BrownMill company attracts NBA players as customers and brought in $327,000 in revenue in 2021.

  • Justis Pitt-Goodson studied business management at Rutgers University-Newark.

  • Pitt-Goodson took internships with stylists and fashion brands in New York while juggling classes.

About BrownMill Clothing Company

The BrownMill Company idea started in 2009 when Justin and his friends decided to create an innovative streetwear brand of luxury clothing touted as a combination of bespoke tailoring and lifestyle.

BrownMill’s clothes are produced using recycled textile material from clothing waste.

How grew BrownMill into a household name

When Justis Pitt-Goodson looks back on his first bow ties, he says he can’t believe he could sell the crooked-seamed designs. But the experience gave him the strength to pursue his dream of streetwear clothes.

After two years, Pitt-Goodson dropped out. He figured since he already knew he wanted to grow his clothing line, his time would be better spent doing exactly that.

Justin and his partners Taha Shimou and Kwaku Agyemang, grew the brand by promoting its online store at local pop-up events until March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic.

Began shutting down in-person gatherings. Pushing to open a brick-and-mortar location, the co-founders raised money through crowdsourcing, subscription packages, and outdoor, socially distanced pop-ups.


BrownMill Subscription Model

The subscription model was a product of the co-founders’ audience analysis and their need to generate income. He says he noticed returning customers buying about 12 items across the site every year, so BrownMill responded by offering tiers of bundled clothing ranging from $200 to $1,000 per year in cost.

Customers still spend roughly the same amount in total, a subscription gives people monthly credits to spend on the site, but BrownMill gets the money upfront and uses it on new machinery to help scale the company, Pitt-Goodson explains.

The brand brought in $86,000 in 2020, enabling the founders to put down a $7,000 deposit on a Newark storefront that opened in June 2021. They chose the location due to Newark’s distinct shopping culture, which Pitt-Goodson discovered while working at a nearby sneaker store in college.


Increase Business Sales & Future Plans

In 2023, Pitt-Goodson hopes to reach $2 million in annual revenue by getting BrownMill into traditional retail stores, as per Pitt-Goodson’s thoughts.

Over the next five years, he wants to open two more storefronts in “growing Black communities” like Atlanta, Los Angeles, or Accra, Ghana. He’s cautious about over-expanding.

We don’t want to grow to be too big because then we lose quality control or coolness.

Locally, BrownMill sponsors community basketball games and an urban garden in Newark, and Pitt-Goodson says he wants to be seen as an example of entrepreneurial success in his neighborhood.