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Triple Nikel: Beyond a Veteran-Owned Clothing Brand



Triple Nikel is more than just a veteran-owned clothing line. This brand stands out with its unique look and is driven by advocacy and inclusivity. Their recent launch in Kohl’s nationwide has made the brand even bigger.


Triple Nikel was founded by four Army Veterans – Ruben Ayala, Rod Graham, Christopher McPhee and Curtez Riggs. The name of the brand has a special historical significance. “The idea came from our forefathers. All the founders in the company, we all started as paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne Division. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was the only airborne unit that people of color could serve in when the Army was segregated,” Ayala explained. This test unit during World War II went by the nickname ‘Triple Nickels.’ “It was only fitting to create a company that amplified stories of those who came before us.”


Triple Nikel has seen great success and popularity among the military community since its inception. In 2022, the veterans announced that their line had been picked up by Kohl’s. “The launch was an organic evolution between Kohl’s and Triple Nikel. It was a classic Rocky story where one of the largest retail stores in America provided a young up-and-coming clothing brand an opportunity to tell its story to thousands of people,” Ayala shared. The veterans worked tirelessly to make the launch a success. The first time Ayala walked into Kohl’s and saw their apparel on display, he was shocked. “Everyone who came into the store and saw the Veterans Day display had an opportunity to see Sergeant First Class Cashe. It was a true triumph. It was a validation that Triple Nikel is doing the right thing and having positive effects at a nationwide level.”


Despite the monumental success of the launch, the veterans celebrated in a minimal way. McPhee shared, “Honestly, the celebration was minimal. We did not have a big party or anything like that. However, we received messages of congrats from our family and close friends. We gave each other high-fives and went back to work. Distributing 26,000+ apparel items to 600 stores across America is a big deal. So, we celebrated during the moment and humbly admired our work. Then, we opted to direct our energy towards executing our business objectives for 2023 and beyond.”


From the beginning, Triple Nikel was determined to avoid utilizing stigmatized visuals on their clothing. The founders wanted to take a different approach than other popular veteran-owned apparel companies. This approach has paid off, and the future for Triple Nikel is bright. McPhee shared, “For the future, we look forward to fulfilling another purchase order for Kohl’s and hopefully increasing our store distribution from 600 to 1200 stores. Hopefully, our 2022 partnership with Kohl’s will spark B2B relationships with other major retail stores like Target, Scheels or Buc-ee’s. Whatever the future has in store for us, Triple Nikel will be ready.”



In conclusion, Triple Nikel is a unique brand that is driven by advocacy and inclusivity. Founded by three Army veterans, the brand’s name has a special historical significance. The recent launch in Kohl’s has made the brand even bigger, and the future for Triple Nikel looks bright.

Marine Corps Veteran-turned-entrepreneur Eric Mitchell is a world-leading sports media expert and TV personality regularly featured in leading outlets and publications from BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg, CNN, RollingStone, GritDaily, and more. President of LifeFlip Media and Editor in Chief at NFT Today Magazine, Eric is known for his wildly entertaining signature blend of snark + industry expertise.

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