Tones of Melanin HBCU Clothing Review: Unbiased Analysis and Insights

Tones of Melanin is a unique collegiate streetwear brand designed to represent and celebrate the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Founded by Ashley Jones, Tones of Melanin takes pride in its mission to create apparel that not only looks fashionable but bears a meaningful connection to the HBCU community, thereby supporting the institutions and their cultural significance.

The brand offers a range of clothing items like jackets, tops, sweatshirts, and accessories, all emblazoned with the names of various HBCUs or phrases associated with the institutions. By incorporating these elements, Tones of Melanin uses its products as a marketing tool to raise awareness and promote career opportunities for HBCU students. Through the power of fashion, the brand aims to make a lasting impact on the HBCU ecosystem while providing high-quality, stylish options for supporters to showcase their pride for these important institutions.

Tones of Melanin Background

Ashley Jones and The Origins

Tones of Melanin is a black women-owned licensed collegiate wear brand founded by Norfolk State University graduate Ashley Jones. She bootstrapped the company using her personal savings and has since grown it to employ 10 team members, all of whom are HBCU graduates.

The brand originated from Ashley’s desire to raise awareness about Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and promote their culture and influence through apparel. The brand’s unique fusion of streetwear, collegiate, and vintage fashion has made it a popular choice among HBCU students and alumni.

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Mission and HBCU Culture

Tones of Melanin’s mission is to speak to the pulse of HBCU culture through philanthropic endeavors, one-of-a-kind designs, and long-lasting quality. The company’s focus on supporting a strong and thriving HBCU community is evident in its clothing line and collaborations with various HBCUs across the country. As a result, Tones of Melanin products are currently available in over 18 HBCU Follett bookstores.

Some notable products offered by Tones of Melanin include:

  • Reversible basketball shorts
  • Reversible jackets
  • Pullovers
  • Board shorts
  • Empowerment-themed t-shirts

The company’s dedication to supporting HBCU culture and giving back has resulted in significant revenue growth, reaching approximately $700,000 in 2021. Tones of Melanin’s success further cemented its reputation as a pioneering HBCU-focused clothing company, creating unique designs to showcase and celebrate The overall HBCU experience.

Product Offerings

Clothing Line

Tones of Melanin offers a diverse range of apparel for HBCU students and alumni. Their product line includes:

  • Hoodies
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Jackets
  • Hats

Unique Designs

One of the distinct features of Tones of Melanin is their one-of-a-kind designs. They uniquely celebrate the culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by fusing elements of streetwear, collegiate, and vintage fashion. This results in a collection that stands out and appeals to HBCU students and graduates alike.

Quality and Affordability

In addition to their eye-catching designs, Tones of Melanin is committed to delivering long-lasting quality, ensuring that their customers are satisfied with their purchases. They use high-quality materials and manufacturing processes to create apparel that looks good and feels comfortable.

Furthermore, Tones of Melanin aims to make their clothing accessible to everyone by offering affordable pricing on their products. This allows individuals to represent their HBCU pride without breaking the bank.

Business Expansion

Retail Relationships

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU clothing company, has been steadily expanding its presence in the retail market. The brand’s apparel can now be found in several big box stores nationwide, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Belk stores. In addition to these retail outlets, Tones of Melanin merchandise is also available at HBCU bookstores, providing students and alumni a convenient way to show support for their schools.

Collaborations and Partnerships

To further its reach and impact, Tones of Melanin has established strong working relationships with key partners in the industry. Among these partnerships, the brand has teamed up with Follett Bookstores and HBCU Follett Bookstores in particular, making its products more accessible to a broader audience. By partnering with these well-established companies, Tones of Melanin strengthens its position in the market and ensures its products remain relevant to the HBCU community.

The apparel offered by Tones of Melanin ranges from summer shorts, jerseys, hoodies, to shirts, with prices varying from $20 to $100. The brand continues to expand and diversify its products, keeping the designs fresh and in line with customer expectations. Through its business expansion and collaborations, Tones of Melanin stays committed to celebrating the HBCU culture and supporting its community of graduates and students.

Marketing and Branding

Social Media Presence

Tones of Melanin is an HBCU clothing company that understands the value of social media in today’s world. The brand actively engages with its audience through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. These platforms provide an excellent opportunity to showcase their unique designs and products while connecting with customers and supporters.

On Instagram, Tones of Melanin shares product images and updates while building a community of HBCU followers. Meanwhile, their presence on Facebook focuses on interacting with customers, sharing testimonials, and promoting HBCU culture. Lastly, YouTube serves as a platform for Tones of Melanin to publish video content related to their brand, clothing line, and support for HBCUs.

Revenue-Generating Marketing Tool

Tones of Melanin is more than just a clothing line; it serves as a revenue-generating marketing tool for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. By creating fashionable and high-quality apparel catering to the HBCU community, the brand increases the exposure of these institutions. Moreover, Tones of Melanin is currently available in over 18 HBCU Follett Bookstores across the country, further expanding their reach.

Their mission aligns with the goal of promoting and supporting HBCUs, making them an integral part of the marketing strategies of these institutions. As a result, Tones of Melanin not only builds brand awareness but also contributes to the long-term sustainability of HBCUs through its marketing efforts.

Sales and Reviews

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU-branded apparel company founded in 2017 by Norfolk State University graduate Ashley Jones, has made a significant impact in the HBCU community by offering unique and fashionable clothing options for students and alumni. The company’s sales have expanded over the years, with their products currently available in over 18 HBCU Follett Bookstores across the country.

The success of Tones of Melanin can be attributed to its vibrant, one-of-a-kind designs, and a commitment to producing long-lasting, high-quality products. This dedication to craftsmanship resonates with the HBCU culture and has contributed to the brand’s positive customer reviews.

Some of the popular product offerings from Tones of Melanin include:

  • Reversible SC State Basketball Shorts
  • Reversible Jackson State Basketball Shorts

These products showcase the uniqueness of the brand, and their visual appeal has resonated with the customers.

The majority of customer reviews for Tones of Melanin focus on the clothing’s quality, design, and fit. Many customers appreciate the brand’s ability to incorporate HBCU pride into their products, allowing the wearers to represent their colleges and universities with style.

As the brand continues to expand its retail presence, Tones of Melanin remains committed to offering clothing that speaks to the HBCU community’s culture and values. Their dedication to producing top-quality apparel has cultivated a loyal following within the HBCU community and set the stage for continued growth in sales and satisfied customers.

Philanthropy and Career Opportunities

Giving Back to HBCUs

Tones of Melanin, a clothing brand that focuses on historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) apparel, is dedicated to giving back to these institutions. The brand’s philanthropic efforts include contributing $50,000 to HBCU educational endeavors through various programs and partnerships. This financial assistance aims to support HBCU students in furthering their educational pursuits and attaining their academic goals.

Job Prospects for HBCU Students and Alumni

Besides its focus on philanthropy, Tones of Melanin also seeks to provide career opportunities for HBCU students and graduates. By engaging with the HBCU community and targeting these institutions, the brand opens up job possibilities in various fields, such as:

  • Fashion design and production
  • Marketing and media
  • Collegiate apparel sales and promotion
  • Streetwear and fashion accessories

By offering these career options, Tones of Melanin advances professional development and success among HBCU students and alumni. As a result, the brand not only creates fashionable attire for HBCU-affiliated individuals but also fosters economic growth and stability within the HBCU community.

Comparison with Other Collegiate Fashion Brands

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU clothing company created by founder and CEO Ashley Jones, has distinct differences when compared to other collegiate fashion brands such as those representing Duke, Harvard, and Yale.

One of the notable features of Tones of Melanin is its focus on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This gives the brand a unique cultural identity, enabling it to cater to a specific niche in the college apparel market. Conversely, popular collegiate brands associated with Duke, Harvard, and Yale primarily aim to represent their respective institutions.

Tones of Melanin’s product range includes summer shorts, jerseys, hoodies, and shirts, with prices ranging from $20 to $100. This pricing is comparable to other collegiate fashion brands, where similar products can be found within the same price range.

The brand has made history by becoming the only HBCU brand created by a HBCU graduate to be sold at major retailers such as Fanatics, Belk Stores, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. This unprecedented accomplishment has set Tones of Melanin apart from other collegiate brands and showcases the company’s potential for growth.

When it comes to the design aesthetics of Tones of Melanin, the brand focuses on creating one-of-a-kind designs that resonate with HBCU culture. In comparison, collegiate fashion brands for schools like Duke, Harvard, and Yale are more likely to follow traditional design elements in line with their institutional branding.

To summarize, some key differences between Tones of Melanin and other collegiate fashion brands are:

  • Focused on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
  • Unique cultural identity
  • One-of-a-kind designs that resonate with HBCU culture
  • Historical milestone as the only HBCU brand created by a HBCU graduate to be sold at major retailers

Overall, Tones of Melanin has made a significant impact in the HBCU clothing space and offers an alternative approach to collegiate fashion. The brand will continue to differentiate itself through its unique designs and position in the market.

Representation and Diversity

Tones of Melanin is a clothing brand founded by Norfolk State University graduate Ashley Jones that focuses on celebrating the culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through a fusion of streetwear, collegiate, and vintage fashion. The company aims to bring diversity representation to the fashion industry while highlighting the unique characteristics and values of HBCUs.

One of the key aspects of Tones of Melanin’s approach is their commitment to showcasing the wide range of HBCU culture-inspired items, from Florida A&M University “FAMU LUX” book bags to Virginia State University trucker hats. By offering such a varied inventory, the brand promotes inclusivity and allows customers to express their pride in their HBCU affiliations.

In addition to creating a space for HBCU representation in the fashion industry, Tones of Melanin also embraces university athletics. The company’s licensed collegiate wear includes designs supporting various sports teams, providing fans with fashionable options for showing off their school pride during sporting events.

Through her innovative designs, Ashley Jones has created a brand that bridges the gap between streetwear and traditional collegiate wear. Tones of Melanin not only allows graduates and current students to showcase their affinity for their HBCU, but it also encourages a broader audience to recognize and appreciate the importance of diversity and representation in fashion.

Future Plans and Goals

Tones of Melanin, an HBCU clothing company founded by Norfolk State University graduate Ashley Jones, has already made a significant impact in the HBCU community. The company’s mission is to design apparel that represents Historically Black Colleges and Universities while raising awareness and support for these institutions. As a Black and women-owned HBCU company, Tones of Melanin strives to be an advocate for HBCUs and their students.

In the future, Tones of Melanin plans to expand its reach and visibility, potentially seeking partnerships with larger retailers and e-commerce platforms. By doing so, they aim to make their apparel more accessible to a broader audience and increase sales. This approach aligns with their goal of becoming a modern-day revenue-generating marketing tool for all HBCUs, supporting their long-term growth and success.

One avenue Tones of Melanin may consider is appearing on the entrepreneurial TV show “Shark Tank” to secure additional funding and mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs. This exposure could help accelerate the company’s growth and solidify its position as a leading HBCU clothing brand.

Moreover, Tones of Melanin plans to continue its philanthropic endeavors, supporting various HBCU-related initiatives and scholarships. This commitment reinforces the company’s dedication to fostering a sense of community and uplifting the HBCU culture for years to come.

In summary, the future plans and goals of Tones of Melanin include expanding its reach, seeking partnerships, considering TV exposure, and maintaining its philanthropic contributions. Through these efforts, the company aims to elevate the prominence of HBCUs and provide a lasting, positive impact on their communities.