Two student entrepreneurs are getting P.E.I. hyped.
Ashkan Asadi, 21, and Jackson Haley-Atkinson, 23, opened a clothing store at 181 Queen St. in Charlottetown on Aug. 26.
Catalyst Clothing will sell limited-edition lines of clothing, known as urban streetwear or hype clothing, from popular brands like Nike, Supreme and BAPE.
The duo will also be setting their own trends by selling and growing their brand of clothing called Catalyst, a word meaning an occurrence that causes something to change.
“This is almost like a change that we’re bringing into the community,” Asadi said.
Streetwear is hard to come by on the Island.
A few other stores do consignments, but otherwise, most Islanders have to buy it online, which can be expensive due to their limited-edition nature, Haley-Atkinson said.
Catalyst Clothing will act as a buy, sell and trade for this economy of fashion.
They’ll stock their shelves with a variety of big-brand products, including T-shirts, hoodies, sneakers, backpacks and accessories.
Meanwhile, they’ll be continuing their business degrees at the University of Prince Edward Island on a part-time basis. They’ll take turns running the store.
“I’ll be here during the day; he’ll be here during the night,” Asadi said.
They’ve been working throughout the summer to set up the store, which Asadi’s father owns.
They also took a trip to Los Angeles to meet and form relationships with distributors.
“We pretty much did everything ourselves,” Haley-Atkinson said.
For their own brand, they’re having Catalyst-labeled shirts printed by Golden Custom in Winsloe.
They plan to partner with popular influencers on social networks like Instagram, as well as local musicians, to wear their line and promote their style.
They also want their downtown storefront to be a place for people to socialize, listen to music, and play video games on their PlayStation 4, Haley-Atkinson said.
“(We’re) just kind of trying to make a community vibe where anybody can come and hang out.”
They’ve had a steady stream of people walking inside to browse since opening, he said.
“We notice a lot of high school kids coming in.”
The nearby Startup Zone and the Hostetter Centre for Enterprise & Entrepreneurship at UPEI helped them a lot over the summer.
The city of Charlottetown is very supportive toward local businesses, which they’re appreciative of, Haley-Atkinson said.