LABEL, WHAT LABEL: Still waiting to find out whether he has been accepted to MIT, Stanford, Duke and other colleges, Callahan Hinckley has used some nonlinear thinking to start an e-commerce business.
His company ToRemainAnon — an online store that pixelates label names — seems counter to peer pressure and social media. “Just with myself, my friends and my older siblings, I’ve seen that so often people don’t even acknowledge that there are other brands out there besides the big brands like Nike and Adidas. I’m trying to make people see that there are other brands out there that make clothing that is just as good or better,” Hinckley said. “I want to help them realize that they need to broaden their horizon and expand their views. And then they can find so much more.”
Fifteen labels are offered and the plan is to have 15 to 20 at any given time. The assortment is pretty much what would be expected from a high school start-up — T-shirts, hoodies, shorts, sweatpants and a zip-front jacket. To simplify shopping, visitors have the options of five clothing categories or three price ranges — “0 to $50,” “$50 to $100” or “$100+.” According to research from The Center for Generational Kinetics, Bazaarvoice and Kelton Research, 84 percent of Millennials report that user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, compared to 70 percent of Baby Boomers.
Aside from being Strongsville High School’s senior class president and quarterback on its football team, Hinckley’s 4.7 GPA is the highest for a football player in the school’s 47-year history. But he said it was his family’s entrepreneuralism that sparked his own. His father Scott started a wire management company selling items like cable ties. Hinckley’s interest in fashion stemmed partially from his older brother Kyle’s decision to start a clothing company called Zexb Wear and he now has a new LED light business called LED Lucidity. Hinckley said of his older brother’s apparel company, “His struggles showed me that small brands need help raising awareness and they need support when they’re trying to establish themselves.”
Hinckley added, “I come from a family of entrepreneurs and I’ve always loved the idea of just running my own company and being creative with marketing or design a web site.”
The youngest entrepreneur in the family is running ToRemainAnon from their Strongsville, Ohio, home. “I finally got the courage to present my plan to my parents and they were totally on board,” he said Wednesday. “They helped me where I needed help. Our original budget was around $2,000. We’ve stuck pretty close to that.”
Whether or not his unconventional idea flies remains to be seen. Having just launched his e-commerce site, Hinckley said he hasn’t heard from any investors about his nontraditional idea. “No, we’re just trying to keep it in the family for now,” he said.