Twins Tae-Vheon and Sae-Vheon Alcorn are far from average when it comes to involvement at the University of Kansas. The sophomores from Gardner, Kansas are a part of the track team, members of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, owners of a vintage clothing business The Vintage Hawks and committed business school students.
As first-generation college students, the Alcorn twins use their family's determination and work ethic to pursue their endeavors. They grew up with their two older brothers, late father Antonio Alcorn Sr., mother Stephanie Tisinger and stepfather Ray Tisinger.
Their mother came to the United States from Mandeville, Jamaica, at 13 years old. However, due to financial difficulties she was unable to attend college and decided to focus on supporting her family.
“Statistically speaking, we weren’t supposed to be here,” Sae-Vheon said. “I know our parents didn’t have these opportunities, but we do and hope to make the most of it.”
The twins found their passion for running track in the fifth grade. Their love for running continued throughout middle school and into high school, where the twins specialized in the 200M and 400M events at Gardner Edgerton High School.
College scouts quickly took notice of the twins’ speed, with Division I programs including Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and the Naval Academy expressing interest to both of the twins. Their strong ties to KU made the decision easy.
“KU was always our number one,” said Tae-Vheon. “Growing up and seeing just how successful our brother was at KU, it really inspired us. We saw first hand just how great the support system was at KU.”
The twins had strong ties to the Greek community before attending KU, because their older brother Stephonn was a member of Sigma Nu, as well as Student Body President in 2016. As high school seniors, they went through the recruitment process, and both decided on Beta Theta Pi.
“The house and the history was our petition,” Sae-Vheon said. “The academic success and meaningful culture brought us here."
After arriving at Beta Theta Pi their freshman year, the twins quickly learned the importance of time management as the responsibilities within their fraternity and other campus involvements added to their busy schedules.
“It is cool to see them balance such a busy schedule and stay involved at the house,” said Cade Gollier, a freshman Beta Theta Pi member from Ottawa. “They value their time at Beta and the university in general.”
Sae-Vheon currently serves as Beta Theta Pi’s vice-president of external relations, while Tae-Vheon runs the house’s Instagram page.
In the spring of 2020, the Alcorn twins saw a rise in popularity of vintage clothing in the community and started Vintage Hawks, an Instagram shop full of thrifted KU gear. The business began gradually, as the brothers spent their first few weeks going from thrift store to thrift around the Kansas City area buying anything KU-related.
A year later, Sae-Vheon and Tae-Vheon are CEOs of one of KU’s top vintage clothing accounts, with Vintage Hawks growing to over 7,000 followers on Instagram. The brothers began partnering with thrift shoppers from all over the Kansas City and Lawrence areas to help them acquire products.
“They are constantly working on getting the product and flipping it,” said Luke Stanford, freshman Beta Theta Pi member and community service chair. “They are the hardest working guys I know, plain and simple.”
This isn't the Alcorn brother's first encounter with social media attention. In high school, the two brothers each gained over a million followers on Vine. Tae-Vheon’s Vine account was similar to Barstool sports, posting funny sports related content, while Sae-Vheon’s Vine account served as a fan page for actor Dylan O’Brien.
Both saw this as a money making opportunity and started an LLC. They sold clothing to customers around the world using a method known as drop shipping. Drop shipping is a sales process where the seller is never in possession of their products. People would order products and they would be shipped directly from China to the buyer.
“In high school, teachers would have to tell us to get off our phones repeatedly,” Tae-Vheon said. “We’d always respond with ‘we literally can’t, we are making money right now.’”
The brothers plan to continue running Vintage Hawks until they graduate in May 2023, at which point they hope to sell the business to their fraternity to give younger students the opportunity to learn to operate a business. The brothers plan on pursuing careers in investment banking and private equity after graduation.