Joseph Hines (The Standard)

Joseph Hines is co-founder of The Standard, a men’s organization that helps high performers network with other likeminded individuals.

Born in Chicago but raised in Marietta, Georgia, Hines recalls his childhood as being relatively normal.

“It was very peaceful for the most part,” Hines says of his upbringing.

“There were a couple bumps in the road, but overall my childhood was not chaotic.”

Growing up, Hines’ father was not around, but his mom worked tirelessly to ensure Hines’ future would not be adversely affected.

For context, most days Hines’ mom dropped him off at school at 8 A.M., but due to her work commitments and a long commute, she couldn’t pick him up until 9 P.M.

Whereas some of his classmates would head home after school was out, Hines needed to find something to occupy his time.

He quickly became enamored with game of basketball, finding the sport to be an outlet and a distraction from whatever was going on in his life.

“Basketball practice always ended at 6 P.M., so for the next couple hours I was still in the gym getting shots up, to the point that I became really good friends with the janitors,” Hines says.

“Basketball not only helped pass the time, but it was a getaway from anything that was going on at home. It gave me focus, something to strive for, and a level of structure and discipline that normally would have been given from a father.”

Those countless hours in the gym afforded Hines tranquility, but they also resulted in Hines becoming a standout on the hardwood.

Going into his junior year of high school, Hines was already drawing interest from universities across the country who were interested in recruiting him for their basketball team, but before his junior campaign began, Hines broke his arm, twice.

“In both cases it was a double fracture, and the second time I broke my arm, my bone came out of my arm,” Hines shares.

To remedy the freak accident, Hines needed to have surgery on his arm, but when the operation was over, Hines had no feeling in one of his hands.

Doctors attributed this to nerve damage he had sustained, a setback that would derail his ability to perform on the basketball court.

“I ended up playing my entire senior season with one arm,” Hines says.

Understandably frustrated by the limitations his injury caused, Hines’ future as a basketball player was unclear, and then one day he showed up for practice, and the love for a game that had carried him through all those nights alone in the gym had suddenly vanished.

“At that moment, being a basketball player started to feel like work,” Hines says.

“It was a weird feeling, and I didn’t know if I even wanted to play basketball anymore.”

By the time his senior year ended, the game of basketball was no longer in Hines’ purview, but fortunately Hines had shifted his focus onto other ventures.

That next fall, Hines enrolled at Georgia Southern University, which was three hours away from his hometown.

When he first arrived on the Eagles’ campus, Hines wasn’t very involved in student affairs, but he later joined a leadership group that would alter the trajectory of his career.

That’s because in this particular group, all the mentors wore suits, but they didn’t don their most dapper attire strictly for events or special occasions.

Rather, they consistently dressed with intentionality, and the responses their outfits elicited captivated Hines.

“I remember one time when a handful of mentors walked into the dining hall wearing their suits, and it was as if time stopped,” Hines recalls.

“The lunch lady stopped serving chicken, girls stopped eating at their tables, and it was then that I became fascinated about what caused that response.”

In fact, Hines was so enthralled that post-university he began pursuing men’s fashion, a space he has been in for the last decade as his company, Affluent, consults professionals across several industries, the aim being to outfit their clients in menswear that sets them apart from everyone else.

Today, Hines, along with Hafeez Baoku (host of The Roommates podcast), also owns and operates The Standard, an organization committed to helping men level up stylistically, socially, and financially.

Since The Standard’s inception in early 2022, the group has already amassed over 500 members, all of whom bring their unique skillsets to an organization that thrives off each person doing what they can to bring value to their peers.

Unlike other men’s groups that collect an entrance fee and then offer little ROI on an individual’s investment, The Standard proactively creates opportunities for their members, something Hines says was a strategy he and Baoku sought to implement long before the organization came to fruition.  

“We wanted to develop a space that was unique, both in terms of the people who are part of The Standard, and in how we could bring value to each person who joined,” Hines mentions.

“And what we learned after the first year is that the DNA of the men of The Standard is relatively the same, with regard to their mindsets and what they’re trying to achieve. That’s why our organization has been so effective, and why it has enriched the lives of the guys in The Standard.”

Moving forward, The Standard, much like Hines, will continue to evolve.

Hines is optimistic that The Standard will become the new Soho House, another private members club that because of its stellar reputation is able to attract and retain premier talent in a variety of industries and professions.  

“I see The Standard becoming something where we have partnerships with the top luxury restaurants and hotels, and our members will have private access to them because they embody the characteristics that we stand for,” Hines explains.

“We already have some of the top performers, both in terms of entrepreneurs and those working in corporate America. Over time, this will allow our organization to become the pinnacle of networking and community. Money will also circulate throughout The Standard and that will make more high-caliber people want to be a part of this movement.”

At present, The Standard requires those wishing to join the organization to go through a formal application process, and while the requirements for entry aren’t as strict as those of Soho House, Hines and Baoku want to maintain the quality they have already cultivated within the community.

Of course, as with any venture, The Standard has received pushback from applicants who find it hard to justify the costs associated with admission, or who want guarantees that their investment will yield an ROI.

As someone who has spent the last decade building a network and surrounding himself with top-tier men, Hines doesn’t try to convince outsiders of The Standard’s legitimacy.

He has already invested in himself and experienced the positive effects, which is why he confidently proclaims that people either believe in the power of community, or they don’t.

“The Standard isn’t a sales pitch. We don’t feel the need to convince people to join,” Hines remarks.

“We are who we are. The value is there, and if that resonates with people who are considering joining, then we welcome people to apply for membership.” QS


Today’s post is sponsored by:

Graham Riley and his team at Maverrik North America help entrepreneurs and business owners increase their reach on LinkedIn, which in turn generates more revenue.  

If you’re looking to expand your presence on LinkedIn, then get in touch with Graham today by clicking the link above, or by scanning the QR code in the accompanying image! 


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