This semester, The Diamondback is compiling a series on Prince George’s County businesses owned by people of color. Click here for a story about Footage Society, a sneaker boutique in Laurel, and here for a story on WaterHole, a juice bar in Mount Rainier.
Herbert Obeng believes “whatever you set your mind to in life, you can do.” With this mindset, the junior communication major at the University of Maryland started his own fashion brand called Herbin’s Fashion.
The Ghana native launched his brand last November because he wanted to create a line of clothing that is different from big brands such as Puma and Nike and to promote the culture of his home country.
Obeng’s fashion brand doesn’t just focus on athleisure. It sells a variety of clothes, from T-shirts and sweatshirts to dresses and blouses on its online store. It’s also an international business that ships to the U.S., U.K., Germany and Ghana through its online store and Instagram page.
Kofi Akuffo, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, loves the originality and creativity of Herbin’s Fashion. Not only that, but the wide variety of clothing is also handmade.
“I think he’s been taking the risk, especially specializing in the African Ghanaian culture,” Akuffo said. “And just implementing his own culture and his mother country into his clothing and be able to get different types of people to buy his clothing.”
The concept of incorporating African culture into the brand is meant to make customers feel connected.
“People feel connected and the whole African diaspora and I think that’s a really cool way to help people really connect back to their root cultures and all,” customer Deloris Abrokwa said.
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Christiana Asihene, a customer from Ghana, appreciates the quality of the clothes, something she said sets Herbin’s Fashion apart from other clothing brands.
Many people ask her where she got her clothing when she wears Herbin’s Fashion, she said.
The clothes aren’t made in the U.S., Abrokwa said, which is another aspect that sets the brand apart.
“It’s right from the source back and it’s authentic,” Abrokwa said.
Gideon Adomka, a customer from Ghana, feels Herbin’s Fashion projects African culture and values through its unique designs that are “out of this world,” he said.
“He’s doing such a great thing for expanding his business and promoting Africanism,” Adomka said. “He’s such a young age and in regards to his business, he’s doing so amazing, so kudos to him.”
Although Obeng is a full-time student and works a part-time job to support his family, he has a drive to make his business succeed and makes time for his business, he said.
“There will be setbacks but it doesn’t have to bring you down, it has to make you improve where you want to get to in life,” Obeng said.
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Although he sometimes has to sacrifice certain things like having more free time, Obeng said Herbin’s Fashion is something he loves to do, with the support he gets from family and friends making it worth it.
Additionally, Herbin’s Fashion is closely linked with Flute Charity Foundation and a portion of its proceeds go to the organization to raise money to help people in need, such as people experiencing homelessness.
“Giving back to society is something I love to do,” he said. “Being the reason why someone wakes up in the morning to have a smile on their face makes me so happy.”
Akuffo sees Obeng’s dedication to his brand as inspirational, especially since Obeng started his business during the pandemic.
“It goes to show that you can just put your mind to whatever you want to do and sticking to that thing, you can get as big as Herbert’s been getting,” he said.
Akuffo isn’t the only one who’s admiring Obeng’s zeal. Abrokwa has seen how hard he works and is amazed by the way Obeng runs his business on top of being a student.
“I just hope that he continues to progress throughout, not only just College Park but also with his brand,” she said.
In the future, Obeng hopes to expand his business to be sold in stores and have his own stores to sell his clothes, depending on the person who comes into his life to provide him those opportunities.
“I always want to bring somebody into my life … I want them to be supportive of my dreams,” he said.