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Meet the man behind Boston's House of Culture clothing shop

Father and daughter team up to run Boston's House of Culture clothing shop
Father and daughter team up to run Boston's House of Culture clothing shop 02:11

BOSTON - Patrick Petty's clothing shop, House of Culture, in Boston's South End has been a staple in the city since 1991.

It started with his first store on Newbury Street as Culture Shock. That store incorporated different cultural elements.

"The thing about Newbury Street when I first came, we sort of added some flavor because it was very conservative," Petty told WBZ-TV. In 1998, he renamed the store House of Culture and in 2004, it was moved to Columbus Avenue, where it's been ever since.

Petty credits Boston's international population for much of his businesses' success. 

"The international kids were more exposed to different cultures, so that was the saving grace for us on Newbury Street, because that was probably 70-80% of our customers," he said, adding that they added to the diversity of the store's vibe.

"You could always look into House of Culture or Culture Shock and see a variety of people," Petty said.

He told WBZ it was difficult being a Black business owner at first. 

"Everybody, on face value, is not going to embrace us right away. People come with their own preconceived notions about the culture, about us," he said.

Petty first got his passion for fashion growing up with a father who was a pastor who wore suits a lot and a mother who loved wearing unique outfits and hats to accompany him. He went to college in London for fashion and after meeting the owner of Allston Beat, a store on Newbury Street at the time, he moved to Boston to help. 

"I came up here and the rest is history," Petty said.

He's worked with many celebrities and is the ongoing stylist for New Kids On The Block and the Wahlberg brothers. 

"Those are my main guys. They were always calling me to ship them stuff and then one day Donnie said that they were looking for a new stylist and he sort of gave me that break," Petty told WBZ.

Petty and the Wahlberg brothers met after Donnie stopped by Allston Beat on Newbury Street one day looking for trendy clothes for Mark and the rest of the band. 

"Things just went from zero to 100 really quickly. One day I'm in the shop and the next day I'm on a flight to London to go shopping for tour stuff," Petty said. They became such great friends that Donnie Wahlberg is the godfather of Petty's daughter Zoe.

Now Zoe is involved in the store. She's working to expand the business. 

"Who knew she was going to grow up and the roles were going to be reversed and she sort of like runs the show," he joked.

Petty's biggest piece of fashion advice is "wear what you like but take chances." He wants people to have an open mind when it comes to trying new styles. 

"I don't like when people come in the store and say that they're picky. I think picky people have no style because they pick the same thing all the time," Petty explained.

When it comes to advice for people looking to follow their dreams and become entrepreneurs, Petty said "you have to just go for it, don't over think it. When you ask somebody something, the worst thing they could say is 'No', but you'll never know if you don't try."

For more information on House of Culture, visit their website.

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