Destanni Henderson was left alone with her thoughts.
Like every other athlete across the country in March 2020, the pandemic ended his second basketball season before the NCAA Tournament. South Carolina had just won its fifth SEC Tournament Championship in six years, with Henderson being named to the All-Tournament Team.
All of that was gone, however, with the emptiness of the courtyard leaving much to be desired. So Henderson took it as a sign.
“I’ve always been into fashion and things of that nature, but what really, really forced my hand was when COVID first happened, because everyone in the world and basketball kind of stopped,” she said. “I was just wondering…I have so much free time, like, what can I do?”
Fashion and starting a clothing line were first on the list as she shifted her focus from athletics to creativity. From there, Clothing by HP was born. Two years later, Henderson’s business Instagram account has 12,800 followers and two articles sold out on the company’s website.
The HP stands for “Hennything is Possible”, which is a play on Henderson’s last name. “Henny” became a way to differentiate her from the other Destiny (Littleton) on the team. The mantra is not only displayed on various clothes, but is a testament to Henderson’s success as a businesswoman.
“I’m really proud of Henny for what she’s done starting a business in college, a clothing business to boot,” said Gamecocks center and teammate Aliyah Boston. “It’s quite difficult and she did a great job. You see people around town wearing his clothes. …She’s making money off of something she loves and is passionate about, so I’m really happy for her.
Before starting his business, Henderson searched for answers while coming up with ideas and concepts.
She drew her own designs while researching reputable manufacturing companies and designers, with Instagram being a key resource in the process. However, starting his business came with a few hiccups.
When he asked for help, Henderson was surprised how few people were willing to offer advice and feedback on how to start a clothing line. She didn’t take it personally. Sometimes that’s how business is.
“At the end of the day, I can say that I did it myself and really didn’t have any help doing it,” Henderson said. “So far everything has gone well and worked out to the best of my favor.”
About three months after coming up with the idea to start a clothing line, Henderson found a manufacturing company and received his first garment. It was a pair of plush, colorful sweatpants, called comfy sweats, with one leg purple and the other gold as a nod to late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Henderson seeing his dream come to life was a weight lifted from his shoulders. With little guidance, she saw that starting a business was possible. The next step was promotion and advertising.
spread the word
Social media has its pros and cons.
As a college student trying to get her business started, Henderson took advantage. The Gamecocks’ main guard has over 94,000 followers on Instagram and over 54,000 followers on Tik Tok, essentially free publicity for his fledgling business.
Henderson was posting photos and videos of her wearing her brand, and inquiries about where to buy the clothes ensued. This led her to create a distinct social media presence for her line as word began to spread.
“I just started forming relationships with people who would carry my stuff,” said Henderson, whose famous supporters include rapper DaBaby and singer DaniLeigh. “Give it to them for free, of course, to wear it too, and post it, tell your friends, and tell everyone who follows them.”
At the time Henderson launched his clothing line, athletes couldn’t capitalize on their name, image, and likeness. Although she didn’t see any feedback on her products, she continued. It would be worth it in the end, she told herself.
“She was just doing this foundation for herself because she knew at some point she might sell her clothes,” Gamecocks junior guard Zia Cooke said. “I think it’s just – it’s a Wonder Woman move right there, to be able to start your business just because you know one day you can attack it and go ahead and sell your clothes. “
That day came on June 30, 2021 when the NCAA passed a NIL bill that allowed student-athletes to earn money through their name, image, and likeness. After almost a year of building his business, Henderson was finally able to profit from his work.
“I feel like the earlier I start, the better it is for me, because I already have something to do,” she said. “I’ve been doing it for a minute already, so it was really good…because I could really start making money from it.”
Clothing by HP offers a variety of items ranging in price from a $55 “HPU World Champ” Hoop t-shirt to a $150 red skeleton zip-up jacket, one of Henderson’s favorites to date. . Much of what she does is inspired by her own personal style, the fashion trends she sees on social media, and feedback from those who comment on her Instagram posts.
On the field, Destanni Henderson has a Gamecocks-leading 122 assists on the year to average 3.7 per outing for the team. Off the court, the 5-foot-7 Florida native is her own one-woman team.
Without making the clothes, Henderson takes care of everything herself. After receiving the finished product from an overseas manufacturer, she began sending orders through FedEx. USPS is now connected to its website, making it easy to create shipping labels. The young entrepreneur packs each item, creates the labels and ships them every other day.
Orders take one to three days to process before shipping, or an additional three to 14 business days, according to the Clothing by HP website.
The business and being in the middle of another deep NCAA tournament in addition to being a student has kept Henderson busy, especially this time of year, but she’s handling it well. As a criminal justice major, she only has one two-hour class on Mondays which she will complete in the next two weeks. The extra time allows her to devote more energy to continuing to grow her brand.
“I’ve seen them all over the world,” Cooke said of Henderson’s clothes. “I saw them on TikTok, people tell me how they can get her clothes. I think it’s going to be an eternal mark for her.
Eventually, Henderson would like to have a physical store where people can view the designs and clothing in person. Whether in Colombia or his home state of Florida is yet to be determined. For now, she’s going to enjoy what could be her last season with the Gamecocks and see how far HP’s clothes can go.
After all, Hennything is possible.