My name is Alex Harris and I was born and raised in Cleveland. I have lived in the same house and neighborhood for 22 years and earned my degree from Cleveland State University. I chose Cleveland State because I wanted to continue my education in Cleveland. I love the area and nothing was better than going to school downtown and getting to experience the city and culture every day.
Starting a company or business is no cake walk at all but starting one in Northeast Ohio makes it easier.
January of my senior year I decided to start a small clothing company called Family First Clothing Co. Starting a company at the age of 21 was something that people found peculiar; however I quickly made an impact in the Cleveland area. Starting a company or business is no cake walk at all but starting one in Northeast Ohio makes it easier. Not only are there plenty of local brands that share Cleveland as a home, but it’s almost like a brotherhood where all support each other. Many brands in the clothing industry come from NYC, Chicago, or LA but I am proud to say my brand calls Cleveland home. You will never find people who are more passionate about their city than here, and if businesses can tap into that they can make a name for themselves very quickly. Some companies do it by making Cleveland specific products and some do it by becoming a staple for the community.
To anyone looking to start a company or business in this area I highly recommend building relationships with people who are involved in the city’s culture and the community. There are so many local shops, companies, and brands that are more than willing to help where needed or simply sell your goods in their stores. Such stores likeNative Cleveland over on Waterloo, Next , which has many locations in the Cleveland area, and Heart & Sole located in Coventry. These stores are just a few in a long list of businesses that call Cleveland home and are household names in the fashion industry here.
Cleveland is a place where the people or businesses that show an interest in the city’s sports, art, and overall culture really make an impact. If your brand, company, or product is out and about in Cleveland people will take notice.
How I have built my company isn’t the way that everyone will do it but it has worked for me so far and that’s by getting involved and enjoying all Cleveland has to offer. You can most likely find me downtown for every Browns game or every weekend in Kamm’s Corner, Lakewood, or Ohio city.
These companies or businesses that call Northeast Ohio home are truly here to stay. It’s almost like a movement of people, brands, businesses, and companies who are proud to call this place home and aren’t afraid to show it. I embrace being a part of this movement because 10 years down the road I would like to look back and know I was a part of something bigger than just selling hoodies and hats. There is something so organic and real about what’s happening around here and I love it.
I live in Berea, Ohio where I run my clothing company, Family First Clothing Co. I am also an executive recruiter for Midland Consultants in Middleburg Heights during the normal business hours. Follow on Twitter @Fam1st_Clothing for everything up-to-date on the company and check out my blog at www.fam1stblog.org!