Redefining American Style: Houston White’s Journey from Barber to Brand Builder

Last updated: November 19, 2023

Houston White, the Minneapolis entrepreneur who first made waves with his upscale barbershop, H. White Men’s Room, has since expanded his empire to include a coffee shop, an apartment building, and a soon-to-open restaurant.

Houston White posing for the camera
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But his influence doesn’t stop at the city limits. Thanks to a partnership with Target, White’s coffee beans, clothing line, and hair and skin care products are now available nationwide.

White’s approach to business is as unique as his ventures. He calls it a “mixtape” strategy, blending brand building with community development. His book, “Culture Making,” co-authored with Casie Cook, delves into this philosophy, aiming to inspire others to follow suit.

White’s vision of success goes beyond the traditional archetypes of Black excellence. “I’m more relatable than someone that’s dunking a basketball or singing a song,” he says. “The heroes of the future, they’re entrepreneurs. They’re doers. They’re innovators.”

His perspective on cultural appropriation is equally refreshing. He believes in honoring and respecting other cultures, not just borrowing from them.

“It’s restorative justice,” he says. “Then it’s meaningful and it’s integrating into people’s lives and it’s not just, like, an Instagram post.”

White is a firm believer in the power of diversity to drive business and community growth. He warns that businesses and even entire cities risk becoming irrelevant if they don’t adapt to the changing cultural landscape. “If you’re not prepared, you’re done,” he cautions.

Despite his success, White’s journey hasn’t been without hardship. He’s candid about his past, including his arrest for selling drugs at 14.

He shares these experiences to show others that it’s possible to overcome adversity and achieve success without compromising one’s values.

White’s entrepreneurial spirit is as fierce as his commitment to his community. He likens his drive to an eagle hunting for its prey.

“It’s uncomfortable. It’s excruciating. It’s difficult. But it’s extraordinarily rewarding to listen to your inner voice,” he says. “My greatest hope is for people to listen to their inner voice and be brave enough to say, ‘Why not?'”

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