N.C. A&T Alum Latrice Collins and her business Rated HBCU

Photo+Courtesy+of+Dallas+Weekly.

Photo Courtesy of Dallas Weekly.

Sydney Ross, theCulture Reporter

Rated HBCU is a licensed collegiate brand owned by NC A&T alum Latrice Collins. The brand sells licensed HBCU men, women and children apparel as well as accessories for over 20 licensed HBCUs

Inspired by her undergraduate experience at N.C. A&T, her goal was to incorporate the history and culture, as well as current cultural trends of HBCUs into a lifestyle brand for all HBCU students and alumni across the nation. For her, the HBCU experience allowed her to come into her own and taught her to take pride in herself and her peers.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today without the Aggie community,” Collins said. “We want people to talk about and to celebrate the history, the culture and the pride of HBCUs—not just at homecoming but every day!”

Before creating Rated HBCU, she worked as a certified public accountant for 11 years in Charlotte, North Carolina and for six years in Dallas, Texas. Having received a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia, as well as a master’s in luxury and fashion management from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she wanted to incorporate both of her passions into beginning a new career. 

Photo Courtesy of the Rated HBCU Instagram page.

Collins began her entrepreneurial journey in 2013. Coming from N.C. A&T she wanted to share the history, culture and pride of HBCUs that she experienced during her four years of undergrad. Thus, she began researching the industry and launching Rated HBCU as she learned along the way. 

She had no clue how to make a shirt, publish a book, or become a licensed vendor. To learn, she joined Facebook groups, watched YouTube videos and sought guidance from other entrepreneurs until the official launch in August 2017. She has seen that with time and perseverance, her business has taken off.  

“Sometimes I’ll go back and look at old designs and IG posts and cringe,” Collins said. “But, what I notice most is my growth in the past 3 and a half years.”

Collins is not only a successful business owner, she is also a published author of the children’s book, The Yard North Carolina A&T. After having her son in 2013, she wanted to find a book for him to teach him about her alma mater. 

Photo Courtesy of the Rated HBCU Instagram page.

In her search, she was disappointed to discover that not only were there no children’s books about the institution where she studied, there were also no HBCU owned nor Black-owned brands in the entire book store. She knew then she wanted Rated HBCU to help expose the next generation of children to historically black colleges and universities.

“Whether that’s reading our kid’s book to students or wearing one of our shirts, it’s all about exposing HBCUs to the next generation and keeping the HBCU legacy alive,” Collins said.

Since the initial launch, the brand has grown to include HBCUs from all across the country and continues to grow. Collins has big plans for the future—with one big goal being expansion. She hopes that Rated HBCU will grow into a multi-million dollar collection of brands that primarily sources products from black-owned vendors and hires black talent.

“In 2021, we’re expanding the list of HBCU licenses that we have,” Collins said. “We’ll be expanding our product offerings and adding Roll Call Rags to our collective to manage our non-HBCU licenses.”

Rated HBCU currently sells clothing items such as hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts and sweatpants ranging from children’s extra small to adult 4XL. The brand also offers items such as face masks, university lapel pins, jewelry, reusable shopping bags and so much more. 

To find Rated HBCU products and apparel, you can visit their website, as well as their Instagram and Twitter, and Facebook to stay up to date on all their upcoming releases.