“Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air”
-DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Jimmy Randle had the passion and natural talent to take him all the way to the National Football League (NFL). He got his start at West Texas A&M, but connections landed him here at Arkansas Tech University. He had a football career, a car and didn’t need to work. Some might say he was living like a prince.
But soon all of that changed; his life flipped upside down.
After transferring to Tech, Randle discovered regulations prevented transfers from playing immediately for their new college. After a year of waiting, Randle was ready to hit the field; he was benched for another season because his grades and class record didn’t please the kings that were the administration.
Randle now had a broken down car, no tangible football career and little hope to hold on to.
“It was worse on top of worse,” Randle said. “It was pretty bad, but something in me just told me to keep going.”
With help from his mom, Randle got his car fixed and from there he was able to make his way back home to Houston, Texas. That summer he ran into a high school friend, Drew Parker, who was selling vintage clothes. He asked Parker if he could “get in on that deal.” This gave Randle the opportunity to “make a little money but it wasn’t enough to pay for the car” which broke down again when he got back to Tech in the Spring of 2014.
Randle was back to no car, a minimum wage job, no football and family hundreds of miles away. Randle remembers walking down the road one day, “it was like in the movies, where the car drives by and that big puddle of water gets splashed on the guy.”
“That was me,” Randle said.
Randle recalls that out of nowhere he remembered the book “Relentless,” by Tim S. Grover. The book “changed his life” to the point where he started saving money, got a car and he realized he had to stop feeling sorry for himself.
Randle started changing his life around. He went from being a kinesiology major to a broadcast journalism major. His friend Drew commissioned Randle to take pictures and video of the clothing they sold and the business began to increase its sales. Things were looking so good Randle and Parker joked about opening up a store.
“He graduated with a business degree,” Randle said, “So he handles the business side of things. I major in broadcasting so I handle the pictures and videos.”
By the fall of 2015 business was going good and Randle had saved some money, so when Drew said he found a place for the business they split the cost and bought the building for $36,000. After fixing it up and setting up the merchandise, they called their connections made in college and luck started to come his way.
Despite the positivity coming his way, Randle began to attract negative attention. The booming business had friends asking for money and soon Randle had to cut them off. He even lost a girlfriend due to time restraints the business caused. However, he didn’t lose sight of the goal: a growing business.
“I got a vision I want to achieve,” Randle said. “I just see something; it feels right.”
Though football is a thing of the past for him, it was football that brought him down this path. Randle is still making his dream come true; his dream just changed. Randle became the prince of Imperial Houston clothing store.
“Things can get better,” Randle said.
Imperial Houston opened its physical location and sells late ’80s, early ’90s fashions, including brands from Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. Their icon is an ’80s old-school cell phone. To see some of its pieces, go online to www.imperialhouston.com or visit them on Facebook at Imperial Houston.