Hot Topic: A Love Story

“It’s  NOT  a phase, mom!”

“It’s NOT a phase, mom!”

I make the statement at least once a month that someone should do a project on Hot Topic for their business class. I mean, wow, what an evolution. I’m not in any business classes, but I thought who better to point out the way that Hot Topic has grown and changed along with us than me, myself, and I? And it is almost Valentine’s Day, after all. This one’s for you, fellow old folks!

Gone is the smell of must and plastic friendship bracelets. Gone are the doors with the logo that was made to look like dripping blood. There is no longer metal music blaring over the speakers, and while there is still a t-shirt wall, it’s now mostly cute, funny, and sweet tees.

I spent the better portion of my middle school angsty teenage years wandering the halls of my local mall. My best and I were s0o edgy. We would have one of our parents drop us off to see a movie where our feet would stick to the floor and we couldn’t have loved it more. After the end credits we would walk aimlessly through the mall, usually ending up in Hot Topic to peruse the mesh and lace tops, flame boots, and new chain wallets. I had colorful jelly bracelets on up to my elbows, and two mismatched earrings because #punkrockforever. We almost always left with a new punk band tee from the iconic t-shirt wall; Good Charlotte, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Cute Is What We Aim For…the list goes on. It was while perusing the body jewelry in the locked cases that I decided I would one day have my septum pierced.

My punk self felt much more at home within the weird smelling walls of Hot Topic than I ever did in the likes of, say, Abercrombie or Hollister. As I got older and was able to drive, as my tastes changed, Hot Topic faded from memory and wasn’t a store that I frequented any longer.

Don’t worry, they still have tees

Don’t worry, they still have tees

Somewhere along the way, however, Hot Topic grew up with me. What was once a place that struck terror in the hearts of the preps is now a wonderland for fandoms and pop culture of all types. It is now well-lit, sans-musk and downright bubbly.

With a little research, I learned that Hot Topic has been female operated since around 2000, and was actually the same woman that launched Torrid. Now Hot Topic has successfully launched BoxLunch which all my fellow nerds will know and love.

As the youth of America changed so too did Hot Topic. They somehow re-branded without ever actually re-branding. Without knowing their sales statistics or what it looked like from the inside, I would say that this is a great example of retail success.

What was once a staple of counterculture is now a staple of popular culture, Hot Topic, we stan. (Am I doing this right?)

This is 0% sponsored by Hot Topic, but hey, if you are reading this, find me via the contact button.