MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The coronavirus challenged many businesses, but two Memphis brothers have found a way to build on a fashion empire during the pandemic.
They call them Henry masks, after their last name. The wife of LeBron James, model Kate Upton and others, famous and not-so famous, have been spotted wearing them.
“We had to have something that when you saw it, you know, oh.. that’s one of those,” said Patrick “Fresh” Henry.
He and his brother, Chase, own Henry Mask. Both graduated from Bolton High School in Shelby County.
Fresh, who grew up doing tailoring and alterations, attended the University of Memphis. Chase went to Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Both left the Mid-South to pursue dreams in Los Angeles.
Fresh admits he was broke until he retooled his business plan.
“I decided I’m going to call myself ‘Fresh,’ I’m going to dye my hair pink,” he said. “I’m going to really become like a symbol of like, Black luxury, and just something really dope.”
That built a brand, he said.
“I started calling myself a celebrity tailor before I had any celebrity clients.”
Fresh dresses everyone from NBA players to A-list celebrities in his luxury clothing line.
Now he’s building this second business with his brother — one started in the pandemic and growing by the week.
The business-savvy brothers sell the masks through online subscriptions. A new set arrives to customers every month.
“I’ve started marketing methods before, distribution models, and I knew that subscription models work really well,” Fresh said. “Netflix, every gym that you go to in America, Amazon. So we know the power of having a built in customer base.”
Chase handles production and logistics for Henry Masks.
“I spent quite a bit of time in aviation but I also spent time in the manufacturing world as well, so I just kind of have a sense of what it should look like. If it’s going to grow, we have to put certain things in place — machines, people, etc.,” Chase said.
Fresh lends the medical-grade, origami-style masks the same sense of style he gives his clothing. It’s a style influnced from his days growing up in Memphis.
“We went to church with guys who were wearing pink suits and light blue suits, so like, the idea of wearing colorful clothes, doing colorful things is not new to us,” Fresh said. “We come from a very colorful place.”
That colorful place that also instilled in them the value of hard work.
“We learned how to hustle in Memphis,” Fresh said. “You have to hustle in Memphis. I was never one to work jobs. I didn’t do jobs. I just did tailoring. We hustled a lot. We came up with a lot of different ideas so when we got to LA, we noticed there’s an abundance of money but there’s not a lot of people that hustle the way we hustle.”
The brothers are responsible for production and distribution of their masks from one of their two Los Angeles factories.
However, in a shout out to Memphis, Fresh allowed local upscale retailer Oak Hall to sell some merchandise and just recently, the brothers inked a deal with Nordstrom to also sell their masks.