RACINE, Wis. - From homeless and jobless to opening their own store, a Racine couple never gave up on a dream of a better life.
Regal Society Lifestyle recently celebrated one year in business. The owners overcame immense adversity to get here.
"We try to brand everything that we do," said Deonte Cottingham.
Cottingham uses heat to press his brand onto T-shirts.
"Of course, we’re going with purple and yellow," said Cottingham.
The Lakers fan and his wife own the store located on Villa Street and offer a variety, from formal to comfort wear. No matter what people purchase, the couple wants customers to feel empowered.
"You’re not alone in the battles that you face," said Cottingham. "Everyone has a story to tell."
The story of Cottingham’s clothing store vision began with a battle.
"It just messed my spinal cord up," said Cottingham. "Herniated three discs."
In 2017, he injured his spinal cord at work. He had multiple back surgeries and wasn't able to work. The family fell on hard times and lost their home.
"I really went into a dark place," said Cottingham.
The couple had experience designing clothing, saved up money and opened a brick and mortar store.
"We knew we wanted to do it, and we were going to make it happen," said Cottingham.
Regal Society Lifestyle is working to uplift the community and area designers. The space has become a collective of Black-owned brands.
"My great-grandmother, grandmother and my mother also sew," said Cottingham.
Cameron Thomas-Walker designs and sells his formalwear at the store.
"The neckties, the bowties, the vests, I made this one," said Thomas-Walker.
"If there’s something you really want to do. Something you really want out of life, then start setting those daily goals and push yourself to achieve that," said Cottingham.
The Cottinghams say the brand is also designed to lift people up and teach self-love.