Supreme is an international streetwear brand. It started as a skate company in New York City in the early 90s. Designers soon began pasting their iconic logo - literally just the word “Supreme” in a stylized font - on the sides of fire extinguishers, director's chairs, even bricks, and producing the goods in limited quantities. As an example of the effect, a hard luggage trunk from Louis Vuitton might sell for $30,000; in a collaboration, the same bag with the Supreme box logo sold out immediately at a price tag of $75,000. And today, it's listed on the secondary market for $130,000.
“Here at Way Limited we sell brands like Supreme, Palace, Off White, Anti-Social, Bape, and we have a little bit of vintage items.”
In January, Deoryan Thornton and his partners opened a fashion hub on Austin Avenue catering to the rabid consumers of street wear.
“So you may spend about $80-$120 on a Supreme t-shirt. On a Supreme hoodie you’ll spend maybe $250-$300. And you have specific Supreme items, like the box logo, which is almost like $500-$700, and then you have the hoodie which is almost $1,000.”
Deoryan started reselling streetwear while a high school student at Connelly and continued throughout his football playing career at UMHB.
“You know how some kids will take the wrong route and start selling drugs and stuff like that? They’ll start buying clothes and reselling it and making money that way. So it’s honestly a good thing for the culture and it may not be good for the parents’ pockets but, you know, it’s a good thing. I think it’s really good.”
Now at age 22 and always dressed to impress, he helps other hype beasts find their grails. His clout built in a major way once he connected with a handful of Baylor athletes, including professional basketball players Taurean Prince and Royce O'Neal.
“I got to the point where I was traveling to New York, to, you know, help them pick out their outfits and sell them Supreme. It got to the point where I was like, ‘Man, I need to really link up with the person that I’m buying the clothes from,’ which is Brady, which is the second business owner.”
Deoryan and Brady Gilstrap opened a store in Beverly Hills called Culture Threads, but a break in and robbery left them in a financial hole with a lot of digging to do. They collaborated with the downtown co-working space WacoWork for a series of pop-up shops, and later partnered with Max Loughborough, one of their suppliers off White. Together, the three young men pooled their inventories, rebranded as Way Limited, and signed a lease at 1621 Austin Avenue.
“Ever since then we’ve been doing good. It was a journey to really talk about.”
Inside Way Limited, hundreds of t-shirts are displayed on hangers. Traditional price tags are removed in favor of vintage basketball cards, with a hefty number printed on top the stats of Mark Price or Muggsey Bogues. They also sell vintage tees, shoes, hats, back packs, and skateboard decks from various brands - whatever the streetwear culture dictates.
“It’s a vibe and it’s definitely a type of outfit to where you just throw something on but it still looks and feels good.”
Way Limited uses a sophisticated system of bots to monitor when their brands will drop new merchandise. But because many companies put caps on how much an individual can buy, Deoryen is always looking to partner with enterprising entrepreneurs like himself.
“We want people in Waco to start buying hype items. Even if they just want to make, like, $50 off of it, you can make $50. You can bring it to the store, we’ll buy it off you and resell it. And you make $50 and we get the product.”
The streetwear culture in Waco is young, and Deoryen and Way Limited feel like they're the ones to cultivate it. Connections with athletes, consistency in the store, and commitment to finding the freshest items all help to build clout, an evasive but necessary component for credibility online.
“You just have to take that risk and just hope that you get people in store to buy, just hope that you can get that crowd that you want. We didn't really know if Waco would adapt to it, how they would spend their money with us. But I mean they’ve done pretty good so far.”
The Small Business Spotlight is presented by American Bank, with three locations in town including an expanded branch at Franklin and 4th.