Roots: Michael Hitsman
Owner, Hitsman men’s clothing company
Michael Hitsman, wearing one of the ties from his Hitsman men’s clothing collection, founded the company while attending The University of Oklahoma, where he is a senior. INSET: Hitsman ties are available in a variety of designs and materials, including wool, silk and corduroy. The ties can be purchased in Tulsa at Travers Mahan.
Vital stats: Graduated from Victory Christian School in 2007; now living in Norman and attending The University of Oklahoma as a health and exercise sciences major.
Now: 23; recently launched his own men’s clothing company, Hitsman, which has attracted local and national media exposure. Hitsman products, which include men’s ties and bowties, are offered in seven stores nationwide, including the latest in Alabama. Hitsman’s company was also featured as part of Pop Up Shopping in the Tulsa downtown Deco District from Nov. 30-Dec. 30.
Why did you decide to create your own clothing company?
Starting my own brand created a way for me to bring to life styles that I wanted to own but could never find in a store. It served as my creative outlet and a way I could share my style.
What inspired you to create the company, and what is the inspiration behind your designs?
My inspiration really comes from my own personal taste. In my own clothes, I tend to mix different styles and create my own look. Picking and designing fabric lets me mold products in every way possible to fit the lifestyle I have in mind.
What was involved in getting your company started, and what was the most challenging aspect?
There is a lot that goes into starting a company, and specifically a brand. Of course, I had to do all the paperwork and set up the official entity, but there is really a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into the process. With a brand, you are developing an image from day one. Each season is a development in the lifestyle you are trying to create with your products.
As a student at The University of Oklahoma, how do you balance running a business and attending classes?
Developing a balance takes a lot of work. Through the last couple of years, I’ve learned to be as efficient as possible with my free time. When the work piles up during certain times of the year, I spend a lot of late nights making sure all the pieces are coming together. I enjoy the challenges that come along with running the business and my class work because I’m passionate about them.
What Hitsman recognition are you most proud of?
Being featured in GQ was certainly an honor. I’ve also been really excited about the various press I’ve received online. Menswear blogs are taking a strong lead in shaping the style and direction of the men’s clothing market, so their recognition is a good indicator that you’re doing something right.
Where do you see the future of Hitsman, and what would you like to accomplish?
Hitsman will certainly be going strong in the future. Neckwear is just the beginning of what I see the brand creating, and I’m excited to bring new products into the mix. Regardless of what products Hitsman sells, I want to make sure that each one is a quality piece that will stand the test of time.
Although you’re living fairly close in Norman, are there things you miss about being in Tulsa?
I really see Tulsa as home. I’ve lived there nearly my whole life, and I have so many memories there. Also, the growth in Tulsa is exciting and the people are energetic. It’s a great place to be in Oklahoma.
How do you feel Tulsa helped shape you and prepare you for your current business and the success you have achieved?
My family and friends contribute a lot to my success on a daily basis. Their help and support make my time in Tulsa special.