The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE students share their soles in sneaker boutique

By Marley Malenfant/se news editor

Steven Nguyen, one of the four owners of Shogun Store, makes sure the displays are tidy. The clothing and sneaker retailer is located in Fort Worth on University Boulevard.  Photo by Brian Koenig//The Collegian
Steven Nguyen, one of the four owners of Shogun Store, makes sure the displays are tidy. The clothing and sneaker retailer is located in Fort Worth on University Boulevard. Photo by Brian Koenig//The Collegian

Four former SE Campus students have combined their interests in hip-hop and sneakers into a new business.

Shogun shoe boutique in Fort Worth is run by Viet Le, Steven Nguyen, John Hoang and Keith Tran, who wanted to spread their appreciation for sneakers and the hip-hop culture.

The store even carries its own clothing line called Fur Face Boy.

Nguyen said the Fur Face Boy brand is based on pop culture references they saw while growing up.

“The Fur Face Boy ideas come from our childhood,” he said. “You look at the shirts and you see a shirt resembling Michael Jackson or A Tribe Called Quest or Jordan sneakers. That’s just different things we grew up on.”

Le said having the boutique in Fort Worth is a way of bringing people who love sneakers to the Tarrant County area.

“When we go to New York or Los Angeles or Chicago, we look at these shoe shops and go, ‘Man, that could be us,’” he said. “We thought about where we should put the store. We wanted it in Arlington, but the real estate is too expensive, so we went to Fort Worth instead.”

Le said running the boutique can be difficult when having other tasks at hand.

“It’s a pain in the ass to do this sometimes,” he said. “One of our partners is in banking, so he helped us get a loan. We had contractors screw us over, and we had to deal with the city. I look back, and I could have saved more money, but every day is a learning process.”

Le has worked on SE Campus in desktop support since 2000. He graduated the same year with a bachelor’s in information systems. He said the boutique is like a dream come true.

“We all have nine-to-five jobs, but this is what we grew up loving,” he said. “We grew up watching Michael Jordan, and I have been collecting his shoe since the sixth grade. You look at New York and California, and we feel like we need to step our game up.”

Nguyen said his time working in other businesses prepared him to run the Shogun boutique.

“I was working at a networking company and the Apple Store, so that helped me with the retail business,” he said. “Working for Apple is crazy. They really focus on customer service.”

Nguyen said Shogun doesn’t have any outside revenue.

“We have no sponsors, yet we all have nine-to-five jobs. I guess you could say we sponsor ourselves,” he said. “We just focus on this store. We just focus on the T-shirt brand and just go on from there.”

Hoang said he wants Shogun to stay in Fort Worth.

“I would like us to stay local, but I want the clothing brand to expand,” he said. “This is our home, and we don’t want to go anywhere else.”

Hoang said for the business to get anywhere, revenue needs to come in before anything else can be done.

“Making money — that’s what being successful is about,” he said. “I want out-of-towners and more customers to come by, but it’s pointless if you’re not making money.”

Tran said the four were close friends before they became business partners.

“We all knew each other about eight years. Viet and Steve knew each other since the seventh grade,” he said. “We all love sneakers. I know Viet has a collection of shoes he never wears just sitting in his closet. But this is what we love doing.”

Ha Mai, Fur Face Boy designer, said money isn’t the reason he does the clothing line.

“It’s just all I wanted to do. I just want to be happy. This is more important than money to me,” he said. “I see people hate what they’re doing. I tell you now, I haven’t made a ton of money. I just do this for the love.”

Shelly Ngo, SE student, said Fur Face Boy is a unique brand.

“The design is different from what you would normally see in other stores,” she said.

SE student Colorado Fails said originality is what makes Shogun stick out from other shops.

“It’s all about creativity,” he said. “The exclusive pair may cost more, but the shoe feels better, looks better and the packaging is better.”

SE student Karim Saheb said he likes people supporting Shogun.

“It’s very elegant. I’m from Finland, and we have stores like this,” he said. “So it’s nice to see people come together and show love to the art and clothing.”  

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