By Alison Decker
NASHVILLE, TN — Tiffany Hamilton created Victor Wear with her son and Co-Chief Brand Ambassador Isaiah Hamilton in April of this year.
Hamilton hopes to create economic mobility for people with autism through Victor Wear. Victor Wear sells sportswear including t-shirts and hoodies. Hamilton started the business while working full-time in marketing and continues to do so.
Hamilton said: “I know the placement statistics for people with autism and there are not enough opportunities for them to thrive. When my son turned 16, a fire was lit under me to secure his future; since there weren’t enough opportunities and that’s what he’s going to face, we’re going to create the opportunity.
According to the Autism Science website, approximately 85% of people with autism will become unemployed or underemployed throughout their lives, and nearly half of people with autism by age 25 have never held paid employment. According to 2018 data, approximately 1 in 44 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.
Hamilton said: “The meaning of the spectrum is different in terms of employment from what they will need to be successful and people are often categorized, which is something we didn’t want to do with Victor Wear.” The death of Trevor Martin in 2018 further motivated Hamilton to create the idea of starting a business.
Hamilton said: “I realized I had to be aggressive about my son’s future, that he would be okay with his future as a black man and facing challenges in America. I wanted to ensure his success because I knew he would have obstacles like this to face as a young black man with a disability.
Hamilton said she encountered hurdles when applying for funding for the venture.
“It was really difficult to get financing before our official launch, because many business loans require two years of sales receipts and proof of business success,” she recalls. “It’s really difficult to get financing for companies in the early stages of business development. So it’s like a catch-22. You need funding to grow and develop your idea. But, I found few options available for a business like mine to give funds to a business owner, leaving individuals like me to use their savings and apply for loans online. Funding is hard to come by when you are not yet considered a formal business and this is one area that is seriously lacking.
The company’s aspiration is to grow the brand to increase opportunity for African Americans with autism and other disabilities by creating economic opportunities for other black and disabled entrepreneurs that may be denied by others. other companies, Hamilton said.
She enlisted the help of a public relations firm to create recognition and business before officially opening in April. They timed the opening of Victor Wear to fall on World Autism Awareness Day when they launched just two months ago, Hamilton said. Victor Wear recently received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award from the DC Chamber of Commerce. The company was also part of a competition called Score Perfect Pitch, an American reality TV series.
Hamilton said: “It took me months to get comfortable with the idea of sharing our story, but I knew I needed it because our story connects with other people who know or love someone. autistic.”
For more information or to purchase apparel, visit Victorwear.com. The company is also on Facebook and Instagram at @victorwearco. Hamilton will have a gift on the day this article is published. To enter to win, follow and subscribe to both of their social media accounts and complete this form https://victorwear.com/pages/tenn-tribune-giveaway by June 22 to enter and win a free t-shirt. 10% of company profits are donated to the Special Olympics in Virginia.