Ohio Clothing was started in 2015 by a kid who grew up around Columbus, Ohio.
At 18 years old & a freshman in college at Ohio State Marion in 2014 I planned to transfer to Ohio State's main campus for my sophomore year. At the end of my freshman year though I failed a class last second & didn't have the credits to transfer to main campus anymore. A week after failing, while right outside of a Plato's Closet, I remember looking at my bank account with $10 to my name and realized things had to change. I decided to take a step back and just be a part-time student at Columbus State Community College for the time while working full-time & living back at home with my mom again. And it was the best decision I have ever made.
Shortly into the summer of 2015 after I moved back home I got a job at a local consignment shop that sold all Ohio locally-made products from different artists around the state. Mainly t-shirts - and that's what hooked me. A couple months into the job I asked the owner if I could sell my own shirts in the store and luckily was accepted. I bought $1500 worth of t-shirts to supply some of their stores and a few weeks later spent the remaining $1500 I had on more t-shirts. I was 19 - I figured, worst case scenario, I'm out all of my money and back to where I was just a few months ago. Worth the risk.
Then I got into some trouble with inventory - which has largely inspired the made-to-order concept the company is built off of now. Holiday season was about to hit and after analyzing and predicting sales I figured I needed $9000 worth of inventory to get me through the 2015 holiday season. At this point I was just lucky enough to have grandparents who were able to loan me the money, and grandparents who were told they'd get their money back in 2 months.
The week of Black Friday, 2015, all of the shirts were ready & I had the best sales throughout every store on Black Friday. I imagine the feeling I had then was equivalent to heaven because I don't know that there could have been any better feeling to experience. The very next day I was fired from the store, over what I felt was just a minor mis-communication, and I was forced to take the remaining $8000 of inventory out of the stores and into my mom's basement.
From here I was pretty much screwed and needed a few thousand more still to pay my grandparents back. I figured I might be best served in selling the remaining inventory so I started up a website and social media. I ran sales and promoted products for about a month until it got stale, but enough to finish off getting me the cash I needed to pay my grandparents back. I paid them back within the 2 months I guaranteed them. From here I realized I needed new inventory but no longer had the money for it. So I did what I had to do.
Going to Columbus State Community College full-time now to start 2016, I spent the last $500 I had over the next few weeks teaching myself how to screen-print shirts myself. I had a super make-shift set-up in my mom's basement and, after a LOT of trial and error, I finally was able to print my own shirts near the end of January 2016. Online sales doubled from December to January. Then again January to February. Then again February to March. Then near the end of March my mom & I got into a disagreement over what was next for me - she wanted me to focus on school, I wanted to focus on t-shirts - and I was forced to move out after choosing t-shirts.
I ended up in a 3 bedroom apartment with a friend in Upper Arlington. 2 bedrooms for me - 1 to sleep in and 1 to print the shirts in. 2 weeks after moving I quit going to college classes altogether (and failed every single class) and focused on t-shirts full-time instead. From this point, things were finally able to take off, and they did.
I moved 3 times within a year, each time for more t-shirt space. After a year of printing every single t-shirt myself though I was able to find a company, in January 2017, to start printing everything for me again now that I had high enough volume for it to be justified. I was able to really start being more creative from here (not having to spend entire days printing t-shirts). At the end of 2018 I finally sold the last shirt from the inventory that was first purchased in 2015.
The past few years have just been about staying consistent, improving, and creating efficient systems to make it possible to scale as a company. I still have a lot more to do but love being able to put the work in every day and love having people who continue to love the work being put out.