As a kid growing up in North Minneapolis, Houston White began selling t-shirts from his backpack and cutting hair for cash. He was a young entrepreneur, hustling hard to create a future all his own.
Today, Houston is a creative powerhouse that brings people, cultures, and communities together to elevate one another. He believes style is an act of self-celebration, a means of asserting your point of view and bridging the distance between yourself and others.
Houston motivates everyone around him to seek more, be more, and do more for the people and ideas that matter to them. He is invested in creating a better world, particularly for the Black community, and regularly collaborates with local government officials and business leaders to increase racial equity.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- The story behind Houston’s creation of HWMR
- How Houston designed a franchise model for a barbershop rooted in community and culture
- How the passing of Houston’s wife affected his path as an entrepreneur
- The challenges and difficult decisions that people of color have to make living in Minnesota
- What Houston is doing to build up the black community in Minneapolis and create a central gathering space for exceptional black people
- What Houston is doing to push for black excellence in Minneapolis
- How Houston stays resilient as he gets multiple endeavors on their feet
Rebuilding the Black Community in Minneapolis
Houston White is a designer, entrepreneur, and community leader based in North Minneapolis. He is a creative powerhouse that brings people, cultures, and communities together to elevate one another. Houston is constantly finding new ways to use style as a means to bridge the distance between people from all walks of life. And he frequently works with local government officials and business leaders to increase racial equity. In this episode of the Intentional Greatness podcast, Houston joins us to talk about the creation of his business, HWMR. He also talks about the challenges of living in Minnesota as a person of color and what his community is doing to make a difference.
The Black Man’s Country Club
HWMR—better known as “the Black Man’s Country Club”—started as a barbershop/remodeling endeavor when Houston was eighteen. After ten years in the business, he had helped design and build a number of other local barbershops, which gave him a new perspective and enabled him to find many ways to improve his own business. During the great recession, he created a franchise prototype that became HWMR. It was rooted in both community and culture, but it was also built on highly efficient systems and processes that could sustain scale and maintain consistent quality across all locations.
Bridging the Gap
During one of our prior conversations, Houston said something that really struck deep; he told me that “Minnesota has lost its soul.” It is so different in so many ways, and Minnesota is set up to benefit white people. Black people have to make a difficult decision between associating with the community they want and a higher standard of living. But Houston’s journey with HWMR has created a place that exceptional black people gravitate to. It is bridging the gap and enabling black people to build up their sense of community. In reality, this journey has only just begun.
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