Not every high school student knows what college and profession they want to pursue. When Scott Wooten, 33, was in high school, all he knew was that he wanted to be an entertainer. He was always involved in art and music.
Now, when he isn’t running his own DJ company, Marquee Wedding Company, Wooten is running the 704 Shop, a clothing brand he and two friends started with no background in fashion. However, the three former UNCC college roommates behind the brand, Wooten, Jerri Shephard, 34, and Chris Moxley, 36, have always been entrepreneurs.
After noticing an immense amount of city pride in Pittsburgh while working at Marquee Wedding Company, Wooten got the idea to create a clothing brand strictly Charlotte based in order to bring a similar pride to the city he grew up in.
After talking about the idea for three years, Wooten founded the shop with Shephard and Moxley in 2013. You can find the shop at 704shop.com; the brand has not opened a store front.
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Wooten bought the 704 Shop handle, sat down with his brother-in-law, Jacob Schultz, 26, to create a logo and make the business a reality. The handle 704 Shop was inspired by boutiques that use area codes as a way of representing home.
704 Shop has a mission: to bring pride to the city of Charlotte. Wooten first realized his pride for Charlotte as he was growing up. After Wooten witnessed Pittsburgh pride primarily by noticing citizens’ show of love for their city through the clothing they wore, such as Steelers’ jerseys and other city centric shirts, he wondered why Charlotte didn’t have anything like it.
Wooten said, “We try to highlight other people, businesses and overall history of Charlotte all within our brand to highlight everything going on in the city. From artists and photographers on our Instagram page to helping STAX try to break the world record for largest boot camp, we try to get involved and educate wherever we can.”
Highlighting other people, businesses, and Charlotte’s history is achieved through 704 Shop’s graphic designs on products as well as partnerships with other businesses.
However, achieving this mission hasn’t been as easy.
For the first two years, the three minds behind 704 Shop tried making T-shirts and apparel for the sole purpose of making money. Wooten, Shephard and Moxley realized failure was bound to happen because they “weren’t putting everything they had into the business,” said Wooten.
After an article about 704 Shop written by CharlotteFive was released in 2015, the cofounders’ confidence was renewed. Wooten began sketching new designs and turned the shop’s focus towards making fans rather than money.
That’s when business started to pick up for 704 Shop. Avery Primis, 15, a steady customer of 704 Shop, first became familiar with the company through their social media. She loves the shop’s products.
“I buy 704 Shop merchandise because it is good quality, and you can’t find anything like it,” she said. “Plus, I love representing Charlotte.”
Latest products include a unisex “home” T-shirt in numerous colors for $28, a black beanie with the shop’s logo for $22.50, and yoga leggings with Charlotte’s skyline for $60. Items are available for men, women, and kids.
Wooten describes his customers as “all over the board.”
Blue Hem’s cofounders and sisters, Vanessa Shreve, 32, and Suzy McIntosh,36, sell 704 Shop products in their denim store.
Shreve said, “With 704 Shop tees being one of our local favorites due to the quality and subtle designs representing Charlotte, we reached out to Scott and began collaborating. Blue Hem couldn’t be happier to have partnered up with such a solid brand.”
Currently, the 704 Shop owners are taking their business one step at a time, but they are always planning. Something to shoot for in the future could be a store front, but only if the timing is right. Wooten continues to be active on social media and designs daily.
When asked what he has learned from running the business, Wooten said, “What haven’t I learned? I’ve learned people in Charlotte are excited about Charlotte, and that they are happy to be here. We’re trying to create a brand people can be proud of.”
This story was written as a part of the Charlotte Observer’s high school journalism Explorer Post.