How Patrick Henry went from homeless to millionaire with Richfresh and HENRY masks
The work of millionaire fashion designer Patrick Henry does precede itself.
You may not know his name, but you have certainly seen his fits. From The Weeknd’s famous red costume to Lena Waithe’s most daring red carpet sets, Henry, who goes by Fresh, has created some of the most sought-after costumes of the past decade.
A triumph, given that that same decade was Fresh’s avowed “rock bottom”, strewn with tragedy, times of addiction and homelessness.
But we’ll get there soon enough.
Long before he dressed like John Legend, Billy Porter, Justin Bieber, Gabrielle Union, Blake Griffin and Diddy, you see, Fresh had no such aspirations. He started learning to sew at age 13 after a cheerleader told him most girls like bad boys, athletes, or well-dressed boys. “All the things that I wasn’t,” he laughs, “but I thought, damn it, maybe I can figure out the last one.”
By the time he graduated from high school, he was obsessed. His parents? Less then.
“When I told them I wanted to be in fashion, they lost their minds. Told me to find a real job, but fashion has been the most real thing to me, ”he shrugs. Against the will of his parents, he refused scholarships to pursue a more traditional education and decided to start making modifications in his apartment.
As word of mouth grew and dry cleaning companies began to outsource their modifications to it, Fresh realized he could perhaps make more money by opening his own dry cleaner. .
“It was the first and last showcase I had,” he admits. “Part of me thinks it was the worst shot, because I didn’t know anything about dry cleaning, but it was also the best shot, because it taught me so much. It taught me to focus on my skills.
After closing the storefront at 24, Fresh moved to New York City to capitalize on the city’s fashion heritage as a tailor, but ended up in Memphis soon after.
“My daughter’s mother moved out, so I had to raise her on my own, and then my brother lost his job, so there were only three of us sharing this 300 square foot apartment. It’s up to me, ”he takes a deep breath.
Fresh wondered if there might be a better quality of life and more opportunity on the West Coast, so with $ 500 and no prospects, the trio embarked on a three-day road trip to San. Diego.
“I started my alterations business the second we got there,” he says, “and that’s actually how I started making custom clothing.
As the level of trust grew between Fresh and his new clients, they started offering him more value-added touch-ups, such as full re-cuts of Armani suits. Only, they also laughed in his face when it came to paying what he thought was an expensive bill.
“It made me think, if I am fixation people’s $ 3,000 costumes, I could probably make them. I’m figuring out what it’s going to look like, so why not do it early on? ” he says.
Still, it wouldn’t come easy. His growing professional success was reinforced by personal trauma; his father passed away suddenly, his daughter moved to New York City with her mother, and a hopeful move to Los Angeles quickly plunged him into cycles of alcohol and drug use.
“I was mad with depression,” he admits, “and the business I built has deteriorated. Fair…deteriorated.
“On the last leg, I had a pretty wealthy client, Vince, and he asked me to do all of these costumes, so I used almost all the money I had at the time to make them – $ 7,500 – thinking I was going to get about $ 15,000 back. Not $ 1 of it ever happened.
With almost more money, Fresh was forced to sleep in a homeless shelter, where his addiction came to a head. “You know, I spend $ 13 a day to stay in a shelter, next to the junkies and the bums, and I’m like, how did that happen? I have beautiful clothes. I do not fit the mold.
“But I did. I was still drinking. If I could find coke, I was going to do it. I had a poor mentality.
After three months, Fresh made his last call to Vince’s voicemail, demanding the money he was owed. “The second I hung up, God spoke to me,” Fresh says. “He told me I wasn’t going to go out that way, and if I continued to curse people’s voicemail messages, I would be here forever.”
Over the next few nights, Fresh vividly dreamed of a future where he would be successful, happy, and told himself that if it was that easy to imagine, he had no reason to feel depressed about his current situation.
From that moment on, he gave up all drink, drugs and set to work developing a defining characteristic that would distinguish his costumes from other products and made in Los Angeles, allowing him to charge more and, most importantly, to charge more. deliver more value.
When he started designing striped sportswear and posting it on Instagram, where he claimed to be a celebrity tailor, custom commissions started pouring in.
“I was out of the shelter after a few weeks. In an AirBnB POS but still ”, he laughs,“ outside ”.
Twelve months later, Richfresh made his first million dollars. Thanks, in large part, to an unexpected conversation with an Uber driver.
“I didn’t have a car, so I had to take Uber everywhere, and one day I was talking to this driver trying to find a local factory for good fabrics, but not all the people I contacted took my business to. seriously, and he said he knew a place that made an amazing costume for his cousin but couldn’t remember the name.
Unexpectedly, the driver canceled Fresh’s trip and drove him into LA for 45 minutes until he found the factory.
“I went straight in and there were tailors all over,he said, “It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
On a whim, Frresh decided to change the model he had been following for years and, instead of designing and cutting everything himself, limiting what he could sell, hired the factory tailors to manufacture all future creations under his watchful eye.
A year later, he bought the factory. “Those sweatpants and suits changed my life. It was a magical moment. “
Fresh then focused on building its Famous Client List throughout 2019, knowing that big names breed bigger names. He contacted the personal stylists of the names on his clothing list and by the end of the year scratched most of them.
Then, as Covid-19 began to creep into the lexicon, those long-awaited A-list names started dropping out of meetings, one after another.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said, rubbing his hand on his forehead. “I had my factory, my house in the hills, my Maserati… then it all stopped. Everything was in danger.
In the first six months of the international lockdowns, Fresh didn’t make $ 1 with Richfresh.
“I didn’t panic but I knew we were going to have to reset, and my brother [Chase Morgan]- that I had moved to LA to run my factory – kept saying I needed to make masks. I was like, man, no, ”he shakes his head, smiling. “I’m not going to make super expensive luxury costumes at face masks. “
However, when his employees and friends began to share their concerns about the declining availability of face masks in the United States, Fresh started playing with designs and implemented a philanthropic goal for face masks. origami that resulted.
In order to meet the demands caused by the pandemic, the brothers co-founded HENRY Masks, pledged to donate a mask to frontline workers, medical workers and families in need for every mask sold, and they are flew off the shelves.
In just a few short weeks, HENRY was able to count Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James and Doja Cat among her clients, as well as Grammy staff, Megan Thee Stallion dancers and more.
Without any outside funding, the company made $ 1 million and created more than 60 jobs in just five months.
Of course, while regulations regarding the wearing of face masks are abolished both nationally and internationally, long-term growth will not be supported by face masks alone. And Fresh thinks, as usual, ten steps ahead.
“The next step is to make HENRY a CPG brand,” he says. “Give people the best versions of the things they consistently need – soaps, tissues, wipes, you know – things you can’t live without. Why would I use someone else’s lifestyle product if I could make one that is good, Is good, and make people Feel good?”
Not that he’s going to put Richfresh on the back burner anytime soon. As the world enters the ‘new normal’, demand for Fresh’s custom suits is reaching new heights; best illustrated by Justin Bieber’s iconic peach costume in his new video for “Peaches,” which Fresh made in just two days.
“This is where my heart is. I’m still a creative, I’m still an artist, and I’m becoming a kid here, ”he smiles. “With HENRY I have to be more responsible, think about what other people need, with Richfresh it’s just based on what I want to show the world.”
I can’t help but ask, “Do you think Vince blames himself for not spending that $ 15,000 on the originals?”
Fresh laughs. “I am so grateful for all of my experiences, good and bad. If God asked me if I would do it all over again, with the same shitty experiences, I would say “yes sir! ”
“Vince is the celebrity who changed my trajectory. It’s the good one. He taught me that no fame will fall from the sky, and make me someone, I have to do it myself.
“You know, then, yell at Vince,” he laughed as he tossed ties in the sky.