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How Ohwell built a Streetwear Brand to Inspire Social Activism

Shopify Success Story

ohwell-skyline-tee

Shopify Success Story

How Ohwell built a Streetwear Brand to Inspire Social Activism

ohwell-skyline-tee
 Jon Ohwell

Jon Ohwell

Founder

ohwell

Ohwell is a streetwear brand that uses satire to spread social activism. It’s also an outlet for me to voice some of my personal experiences.

🇺🇸 Based in Washington D.C Metropolitan Area

📅 Founded June 23, 2016

🏆 1 Founder

💵 Monthly Revenue = NA

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Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Jon Ohwell and I am the creator and owner of Ohwell. It is a social activism brand that uses satire to speak on relevant issues. I am originally from the Virginia Beach 757 area but I am currently living in Northern Virginia. I do a lot of traveling between Virginia Beach, Richmond, Nova and Washington D.C. 

What inspired you to create the business?

Growing up I was inspired by the culture of streetwear and the idea that if you didn’t fit in with the crowd you can create your subculture. I remember when The Hundreds first began Bobby and Ben Hundreds just wanted to start a clothing company to voice their opinions through great design and blogging. I immediately fell in love with that idea because I always felt that my voice wasn’t heard especially being a minority. 

As I grew older I took an interest in design and learned how design can impact culture and influence opinions, I looked at previous graphic designers such as Carolyn Davidson (designer of the Nike logo) and saw how she branded the largest fashion sports industry and how it has influenced so many people till this day with a simple swoosh design. 

I wanted that same influence through design to help raise my voice on issues that I believe are important and to also give people who felt like they weren’t being heard or represented correctly. 

One of my designs called “Life” is a suicidal awareness collection, I want people to take mental health more seriously and raise awareness to help people understand that it’s ok to ask for help. The “Life” collection profits are donated to help provide resources to help victims of mental health to seek help.

Walk us through the process of creating your first product.

My design process always starts with research and development because some of the topics I touch on are political. I have to make sure that the research and data I use are correct and accurate before I send one of my designs off to print.  If the information is incorrect on my designs it will take longer for my vendor to print the shirts because of the print on demand process.

When I first began my manufacturer search I looked in my local area but ultimately ended up doing a simple google search and found one. I was able to submit a few of my designs and set up a sample order account, this allowed me to test out different fabrics and clothing items as well as print and embroidery quality.

What was the process of launching your business like?

I officially launched my website on April 5th 2018 with about 15 different graphic t-shirts. I am using an ecommerce platform (Shopify) with built in back end support for taking orders as well as shipping them out. When I launched the site I heavily relied on social media marketing to spread the word for my business, currently, I still use social media but I am doing pop-up shops at large venues to build a community around my product. I believe meeting your customers and putting a person behind the brand is much more powerful than reading it over a computer screen.

What are some of the most effective ways that you acquire and retain customers?

The most effective way to attract business in my opinion is word of mouth. People are more likely to buy your product if they meet you in person because they can gage who you are as a person. My number one goal is to create a community around my product because of the message my clothing company conveys, however, I also use social media to my advantage as well. Instagram and Facebook have good marketing tools that allow you to set up filters that direct your product to your preferred audience.

Which Shopify Apps are most important to your business?

I use a few different Shopify apps that help promote my clothing, some of my favorites are email marketing, social media, print on demand, and analytics. Email in my opinion is still one of the best ways to keep in touch with your customers because customers who purchased from you previously are more likely to purchase again. I also enjoy Shopify’s Social Media feature that links all my store products to Instagram, it makes it easier for customers to purchase on Instagram. Print on demand is also very useful, because my business is still in the beginning stages it isn’t very effective for me to keep inventory which helps me save money on products that I don’t sell a lot of.

What have been your greatest sources of inspiration?

My inspiration comes from a few different places. I listen to The Business of Hype a lot, which is a podcast that interviews entrepreneurs who established themselves in the fashion/business industry. Business of Hype does a really good job explaining the foundation of what it takes to start your own business. The interviewees talk about their experiences and struggles as a business owner and how they’ve grown from those experiences. 

I am also currently reading “This is Not a T-Shirt” by Bobby Hundreds, this is a really good book that goes into depth about how Bobby and Ben Hundreds started their clothing business and the business decisions they had to make to keep their business going for sixteen plus years. 

Banksy is another one of my big inspirations, I always admired his way of mixing political activist messaging into his graffiti.

How are things today and what are your plans for the future?

Currently, Ohwell sells a variety of t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters, hats, and socks. I recently experimented with shoes so that’s a possibility in the future. At the moment I am the only member of Ohwell but future partners are welcome if they share the same goals and vision.

Where can we learn more?

You can learn more about OHWELL at ohwellclothing.com.

I have an “about us” section where you can learn about some of the inspiration behind the name.

I am also on social media @ohwell_offical for Instagram and Twitter.

You can reach out to me directly at [email protected]

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