We got the chance to talk to Dustin Vann, a Southern entrepreneur that is bringing new life to fashion. One of problems Vann saw in the fashion industry was how boring belts were, so he hit the drawing board and came up with HUCKSTRAPS.
“I started researching and kind of dreaming about, you know, if I could make a belt - what would the perfect belt for me be? So I started brainstorming different materials, different looks, but I knew we didn’t really need to reinvent the belt, cause it works as a piece of fashion accessory.”
Instead of the traditional approach, HUCKSTRAPS were designed with one-size-fits all appeal. Made of 100% thermoplastic materials, each “strap” (they prefer not to even use the term “belt”) is cut to a standard 45-inch length that can then be customized to your needs. Simply cut to length and attach a “huck” (their version of the buckle) to the end, and you have your own unique look ready to go. By Vann’s count, up to 600 variations can be made with the colors and styles of each “strap” and “huck.”
However, it’s not always easy to get innovative products to the end consumer. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, HUCKSTRAPS have been successful all around the country, but when Vann went to a few local stores that asked to see his product, they were both a little disappointed.
“I’ve been told by some store managers and retailers that, ‘Well you know, Alabama’s 3 or 4 years behind California and Portland and all of those cities that you just mentioned when it comes to what’s in style.’ And sadly I’ve had to walk out of some of those places and say, you know, ‘Okay, I guess we’ll see you in 3 or 4 years.’”
Vann keeps a good attitude and can laugh about it, but plans to prove the retailers wrong. He doesn’t have any plans to move the HUCKSTRAPS operation away from the South.
“I don’t really see any need for us to relocate from the South” Vann said. “I was born and raised here, and I love it here.”