HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – Less than a year after opening, a New Mexico company is already selling their clothes all around the world. When you think about luxury fashion, cities like New York or Paris may come to mind, but two designers want to change that, starting a brand out of Hobbs.
“We looked at what’s trending in New York and what’s in Los Angeles, that’s good and all, but we don’t want to be like everybody else. We think this is something that makes us completely different. Nobody’s thinking about New Mexico when they’re thinking about a luxury fashion brand,” said Gapelii Brand co-founder Andrew Akufo. “We wanted to put it out there that you can achieve anything that you want to, even things you see on television and media in other bigger cities.”
Akufo and Toja Hodge are two of the minds behind Gapelii Brand, a high-end clothing company. The name ‘Gapelii’ is an acronym, standing for growth, ambition, prosperity, elevate, lifestyle, innovation, and influence. It’s something they hope will inspire other small-town New Mexicans to dream big.
“Being an oil field and gas town, there’s actually a lot of talent, a lot of people who have skills but they limit themselves, just based upon their environment,” said Akufo. A big root of the new business is helping their fellow community members. They use a portion of the proceeds to give back to those in need.
“Right now, we’re making sure we’re building it from the ground up and maintaining the origin of how the company was founded,” said Akufo. “We donate 10% of our proceeds back into the communities in which we serve.”
Depending on where a customer is ordering from, they look into what that community needs and then look into the non-profits or government entities that can help. With COVID-19 impacting communities around the world right now, one way they’re giving back is getting donations to places like food pantries and the United Way.
“We always want to make sure we maintain those grassroots and it’s really service before self,” said Akufo. “Both of us have been very involved in our local communities whether it be volunteering or just doing our part, whatever we can.”
Akufo says they hope the budding business takes off and shows the world there’s no limit at what New Mexicans can do. “We’re a start-up company, we’re really wanting the entire state of New Mexico to get behind us,” said Akufo. “We have big dreams, we have big visions.”
For now, Gapelii Brand is available online. They’re already starting to expand into Oklahoma City, the California Bay Area and the U.K., and hope to open a storefront soon.