Knoxville teen launches clothing brand based on his roots

A Knoxville Central High School junior launched a fashion company inspired by his own heritage built a clothing company that defines him and everyone.
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - At 16, most teenagers are focused on getting their driver’s license. But, a Knoxville Central High School junior is spending his time building and running a business. Justus Hayes is an entrepreneur at the helm of a fashion company called Blended.

“Everyone is blended in some type of way,” said Hayes who launched his line in 2020. “Fashion is a day to day thing, like, it’s not going to go away.”

He started his own clothing company to promote that message and remind everyone they’re unique. Coming from a big family of mixed races, he wanted that message to stand out.

“I think it’s pretty cool. I’ve always said, starting younger is better because then you have a bigger opportunity down the line,” said Hayes.

At Central High School in the library is where he met Kelly Hyatt, the librarian, who’s taught him the communication skills needed to grow his t-shirt and sweatshirt operation.

“I’m definitely proud to be among the people supporting Justus. And him having the empowerment to make something that’s an interesting idea into a business opportunity,” explained Hyatt.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram help him promote his company with encouragement from Hyatt.

“He has what it takes already, as a Central High School Bobcat. We’re just here to make sure he keeps feeling confident and gets the opportunity to spread that,” said Hyatt.

Hayes hopes to get a storefront for Blended one day, but first, he plans to go to college. His ambition is to become a realtor and run Blended on the side.

He’s made more than $1,000, and Hayes learns how to save that from his family.

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