Read all about how Wes built his own clothing brand around inclusivity and acceptance to help inspire everyone to live life boldly uncovered.
Everyone has feels, at one point or another, that they want to hide. In high school, I wanted to hide for many reasons, one of them being my bad acne. I couldn’t look people in the eye when they spoke to me, I tried to cover my blemishes with my hair, and scratched at them, only to make things worse. For Wes, it was a skin condition and his inability to “fit in” with any circle of friends. Instead of feeling defeated, however, Wes felt inspired, creating a line of clothing that motivates everyone to live their truth, unhidden. thehidden has now grown into a full range of clothing as well as moved into the realm of content development. I sat down with Wes to get the complete run down on how his business has flourished over the years.
Wes, tell us about yourself!
Sure! My name is Wes Woodson and I’m the founder and chief storyteller of thehidden company. Recently, I have graduated from Babson College- where you and I met haha. In my free time I like to write, listen to music, and walk my malti-poo Bentley. Oh! And my favorite color is red. Always have to mention my favorite color in intros.
What was your inspiration for starting your clothing company thehidden?
I honestly love this question! The inspiration behind the brand actually stems from my personal experiences growing up feeling too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids. It was this feeling of being misunderstood, lonely, as well as my diagnosis of my rare skin condition, which led me to “hide” the parts of myself that I was ashamed of. This included the skin condition, which caused white spots to appear on the surface of my skin. However, I wanted to build a brand that would inspire kids (like me) to never hide who they are and truly accept themselves; which defines the name “thehidden” but also explains our iconic logo. I wanted to empower those who feel hidden to never hide who they are.
What is the mission and goal for your business?
The mission of thehidden company, which now houses our clothing label (thehidden) and our content development arm (thehidden Project), is to use the power of storytelling through merchandise and original content to empower our generation to never hide who they are. My goal with thehidden company is to empower 1,000,000 unique individuals to be their true selves unapologetically.
Why hoodies, t-shirts, and shorts to help spread the message of acceptance and inclusivity?
Back at it again with the great questions! So growing up, I always wanted to wear the streetwear brands everyone would rock- Supreme, Palace, Obey, etc.-but I couldn’t afford them. More importantly, I wanted to build a brand that not only empowered people but helped them express who they are as well. So, when thinking about these two things, making clothes with messages of acceptance and inclusion made sense because that’s how people express themselves: by the clothes they wear.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your company’s journey?
Truthfully, the most challenging aspect of my company’s journey has been dealing with self doubt and anxiety. Every time I release something, or do interviews like this, I want the world to see thehidden company for what it is: a company started by a kid trying to help others not feel the way he once did. Of course, doing anything entrepreneurial or risky can create a level of anxiety. However, the hardest part for me has been trying to find a way to channel that anxiety into a positive force to propel the brand forward.
How has thehidden changed your perspective on life?
I used to think people fell in love with “images” or ideal lifestyles. Through thehidden I’ve found that the real beauty is becoming comfortable enough with your flaws to share them. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve learned that there’s power in being authentic with yourself and with those around you.
Are there any personal testimonials from your customers that stick out to you?
Yes! I remember when I first launched the business, I had written my story through a medium blog post. Turns out, someone had shared the blog post with their mom who has the same skin condition as I do. The daughter, who shared the post, purchased two hoodies. One for herself and one for her mom. She ended up writing to me to tell that her mom had been battling depression after receiving her diagnosis, but felt less alone reading my story.
That is what it’s all about. Those are the types of interactions I live for.
What does the future of thehidden look like?
The future is looking bright! Like I said, I’ve always wanted to build a brand that is known for talking about real things instead of just selling clothes. Therefore, in the next few months we will be releasing new products that have never been seen before as well as other cool pieces of original content dedicated to something near and dear to my heart: mental health. No matter what, though, our mission is still the same.
Lastly, favorite merch item?
Okay this is tricky! My favorite merch item, prior to this interview, was the Adore hoodie. It’s a black and white camouflaged hoodie that’s super comfortable. However, at this time, my favorite merch item hasn’t been released yet! (Ooo! Cue the suspense!).