NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Losing your parents at 6 years old can be crippling for anyone, but not for one young, central Indiana man. The events of his past are shaping his future as an online affordable fashion innovator.
The life of Robert Jones could easily have gone astray when his parents died in a murder-suicide just days after his sixth birthday.
“I can vividly remember the events of that night. I can see it," Jones said. “We started hearing gunshots and screaming.”
“I’ve taken them back to that street to drive through, didn't stop or anything," Jones's grandmother said.
Robert, his brother and his parents had just returned home from their grandparents’ house on February 5, 2005. Jones said his parents had a fight, and the argument spilled into his bedroom. He can still picture her.
“Stabbed multiple times, shot multiple times," Jones recounted.
Police reports said Robert's mother, Indiyia Jones, ran to a neighbor’s home screaming that her husband was trying to kill her family. She and a neighbor tried to get away in his truck when her husband stepped in front.
“He shot her while she was driving down the street," Jones said motioning to his childhood street of Creekshore Lane.
The neighbor got away as his father went home to summon Robert and his brother, Rylane, to the kitchen.
“My father said that he loved us and would see us again one day," Jones continued. “We took off running. He shot at my brother, and missed him, and then he proceeded to shoot himself.”
“Every night we had a crying spell. This went on for three years," his grandmother said.
The Jones boys were left in the care of their grandmother. She raised the two in Noblesville, and the boys were left to live up to her standards. Teachers in school began calling the pair "The Good Smelling Twins" because of the cologne scent that followed the well-dressed duo.
“So you were putting cologne on them when they were six?" FOX59 asked. “Oh yeah! Absolutely!” his grandmother laughed.
At Noblesville High School, Jones took an entrepreneur class taught by Don Wettrick. He began blending the sense of style he got from his grandmother with his passion to help others. Jones created the online fashion channel Gentstyle, which shows people his age how to dress well on a budget. His videos often feature fashion for a professional wardrobe, and most of his shopping comes at Goodwill or discount department stores. He shows people what to look for, and how to tailor old clothes to look modern.
“Your overall presentation has to be perfect. You have to look good, groomed right, smell good, help you bring opportunity to yourself," Jones said. “You could go to Goodwill, and find a $10 suit, get it tailored, and you're going to be in about $40, and you'll have a really nice looking suit.”
“In a very crowded market of guys with ripped abs on Instagram, people with this mindset, back ground, and this wanting to be professional, he's in a league of his own," Wettrick gushed.
Wettrick is hoping to employ Jones, but admits he may not be able to afford him once he is discovered. Aside from teaching at Noblesville, Wettrick is the President of the Start Ed Up Foundation.
"We get students to look for opportunities, and think like entrepreneurs," Wettrick said. “Ten years from now I see Robert being his own media personality.”
Jones is hoping to expand his brand and trying to network with mentors as we speak. If you want to learn from him, you can head here to his YouTube channel.