Former Cedarville student uses fashion startup to help inner-city kids
by Callahan Jones
It’s an exciting January afternoon at Inner City Impact (ICI), a mission to children in Chicago. The kids line up outside the door, eagerly anticipating the gifts they are about to receive.
It’s time. The kids enter the room, which contains table upon table of school uniforms, something required at all the area schools and are a rare and expensive commodity.
A young man, wearing a long-sleeve shirt emblazoned with a large flag logo, hands out the uniforms, excited that his years of hard work, preparation and ideas have finally brought his mission to fruition.
The man is Adam Muncy, a Cedarville native, former Cedarville economics major and founder of the philanthropic business startup, The Hounds Ltd. The company sells various clothing and fashion items and donates to ICI in different ways depending on the clothing item sold.
“When I was starting the company, I knew I wanted to pair with a mission that could get stuff done, a mission that could accomplish things without an issue,” Muncy said.
ICI was started in 1972 and reaches kids from preschool through high school with the Gospel in some of Chicago’s most impoverished areas: Humboldt Park, Logan Square and Cicero.
Children who go through ICI programs have a higher chance of graduating high school and going to college than the average inner-city kid. It is among the leading experts in Christian inner-city
ministry and already has the correct infrastructure in place to distribute clothing and other items to kids in need.
Throughout his life, Muncy volunteered in multiple ways at ICI, including being a counselor at summer camps. Because of this experience, he knew it was the perfect organisation for The Hounds to partner with.
Chief Operating Officer of ICI and a Cedarville alumnus, BJ Bechtel, said Muncy has been an incredible blessing for the organisation and has been willing to help them in whatever way they needed.
“He comes and says, ‘Hey, how can I help you?’” Bechtel said. “He asks and then he gets it done.”
One example of how The Hounds and ICI work together, is the main fashion product of The Hounds, the navy-blue Uniform Oxford with special red stitching which drew inspiration from Adam’s time at Cedarville.
“When I was at school, these Oxford kind of shirts were basically uniforms for many of the guys there. They wore them every day,” Muncy said. “So, when ICI came to me and said, ‘Hey, we need these uniforms,’ everything just clicked.”
Whenever a customer purchases a Uniform Oxford from The Hounds, the company donates a school uniform to ICI for them to distribute to a child in need.
“Some of the families here can’t afford new uniforms, so they usually have to rely on hand-me-downs of the same uniform,” Bechtel said. “However, all the schools recently switched from white uniforms to grey. So, a lot of these kids don’t have uniforms that they’re required to have.”
Muncy attributes part of this opportunity to serve others to his time at Cedarville.
“The idea started at Cedarville,” Muncy said. “We talked about philanthropy and business in a class which planted the seed that grew into what The Hounds is now.”
From there, Muncy said the idea for the business quickly took shape. He had been incredibly involved in fashion throughout high school, mainly taking in the passion from the skater scene.
“You have all these guys, who all love to skate, but all have their own sense of fashion,” said Muncy. “Some were punk, some were goth, some were more clean-cut.”
Muncy then developed his own “unique yet sharp” sense of style. His passion for fashion was increased by a stint of time working at Sunglasses Hut, where he realised he could recognise what complimented other people’s own looks and could sell fashion products to others.
Cedarville professor Daniel Sterkenburg, who taught the class that inspired Muncy, said he’s not surprised with the direction Muncy went. He said Muncy obviously had a heart for philanthropy in the time he was here.
The Hounds Ltd. began on May 31, 2016, with the launch of its first product: the Camping Tee.
“We launched the tee almost as an afterthought, using an old logo we had that we thought would look good on a T-shirt,” Muncy said. “Then we were surprised to sell 50 in two weeks. And since then, we got to send over 100 kids camping last year.”
For each Camping Tee purchased, The Hounds sent an inner-city kid on an overnight camping trip in nature with ICI. It is an experience incredibly rare and precious for many.
“Lots of these kids are so poor they’ll never be able to get out of the city center,” Bechtel said. “We provide these trips to give kids the opportunity they won’t have otherwise.”
This past year, Hounds Tees paid for one percent of the ICI summer camping program. Muncy said he would like to see that number increase over time.
Muncy wants to help the people that manufacture his clothing as well. The Tees are made in the United States and printed in Indiana in manufacturing facilities that pay their workers well. The Oxfords are manufactured in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
“The manufacturer for the Oxfords is partially employee owned and is completely legal in its practices,” Muncy said. “I flew down there last spring to make sure the manufacturer was in line with how we do things. They passed with flying colors.”
Muncy said this kind of manufacturer, one that takes care of its employees by paying them well and gives them good working environments, is harder and harder to find. He also said he is looking for more manufacturing options within the United States for future products that would be easier to produce.
Overall, the future seems bright for The Hounds Ltd. and the work it is trying to accomplish. The company just released a new long-sleeve tee and will give a pair of winter gloves to a child through ICI for every long-sleeve purchased.
The company also participated in a trade show in Columbus and launched a one day pop-up shop in Grand Rapids, which received positive feedback for its products and the mission it is aiming to accomplish.
“I want to help people look great with great clothing,” Muncy said. “But most importantly, I want to help Inner City Impact and future partners spread the Gospel as well as they can.”
Callahan Jones is a sophomore journalism major and a writer and the Web Content Editor for Cedars. In his free time, he enjoys drinking coffee, collecting headphones and playing Magic: The Gathering competitively.