Joe Freshgoods Feels Like Forrest Gump, Inspiring People Wherever He Goes

Joe discusses becoming the “Hood CNN,” the importance of a slow grind, and why he wants to bring Chicago to the world.

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Joe Freshgoods Feels Like Forrest Gump, Inspiring People Wherever He Goes
Business of HYPE
9,696 Hypes 3 Comments

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On the season 6 finale, Jeff sits down with pop-up and T-shirt connoisseur, Joe “Freshgoods” Robinson

Proudly repping his hometown Chicago, Joe Robinson is bringing his childhood memories of the corner-shop to the world through experiential pop-up boutiques that feature his pun-intended designs and quirky collaborations. Whether you’ve seen celebrities like Chance the Rapper modeling his Obama collection, or SZA sporting his “Fuck Donald Trump” tee, Joe always has a story behind his designs. 

Previously, Joe worked in retail, from Fashion Geek and Niketown to interning for Leaders, all while simultaneously making his apparel brand Don’t Be Mad. He sold at world-renowned destinations like Karmaloop, as well as more obscure locations like tattoo shops and self-made pop-ups in his own garage. The slow and steady grind gradually led him to — along with King Rello, Desmond Owusu and Vic Lloyd — open his store, Fat Tiger Workshop — a creative space hosting events, parties, workshops and selling an amalgamation of clothes made by the founders.

In a few short years, Joe has had numerous collaborations, selling all over the world. Rather than branching out into cut & sew or wholesale, he tells us about his authentic choice to “stay in his lane” of T-shirts and pop-ups.

“I just usually find a space, bring my crew up. Make a city T-shit. It’s all about touching that city. I go to a city like New Orleans, and they’ll be like, ‘Yo, brands forget about us. You’re the only brand to come here.’ I feel like Forrest Gump—touching people everywhere I go. To me, I have a whole one-fan-a-day philosophy. People feel like I speak for them. The pop-up formula just works for me. I don’t want to come up with a product and have a store see that product. If I’m going to put it on sale, it’s because I put it on sale.”

Whether it’s collaborating with Snapple and McDonald’s or long waits outside his pop-ups, Joe always brings it back home to Chicago. Remaining humble, he emphasizes the importance of controlling his narrative, having a slow burn to his growth and being able to practice the “art of finesse.” 

As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. You can subscribe to our channel on AppleSpotifySoundcloudStitcherOvercastAnchor or wherever else you get your podcasts. Please don’t forget to leave a comment or review.

Additionally, feel free to hit Jeff on Twitter, @jeffstaple, or via email at questions@businessofhype.com, and he may answer your question on a future episode.

This episode features references to the following:

2:13 – Repping Chicago
6:49 – ComplexCon
12:59 – “About Me”
19:14 – Fat Tiger Workshop
21:21 – First retail space
25:02 – First “aha” moment
27:21 – Rihanna beanie
28:11 – Karmaloop
30:37 – Leaders 1354
31:34 – Fashion Geek
32:21 – Niketown
38:20 – Living with Trashhand
40:45 – Importance of t-shirts
42:22 – Being the “Hood CNN”
49:52 – Pop-ups
54:23 – Urban Outfitters
59:15 – Verdy
59:38 – Chance the Rapper
1:02:50 – The “art of finesse”
1:03:57 – McDonalds
1:07:58 – Jay-Z & the NFL
1:13:34 – Racism fashion
1:18:03 – Ronnie Fieg
1:23:29 – Sarah Andelman of Colette

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