WESTPORT, Conn. — It's not many businesses that start during one's junior year of college but that's what happened with Only New England , a new apparel brand started by Westport native Paul Bowlin and Wilton's Charlie Schaefer.
The clothing line -- unisex short and long-sleeved T-shirts and sweatshirts -- formed last spring when Schaefer and friend Madison McCormack were skiing at New Hampshire's Cannon Mountain. Conversation on the chairlift turned to how to combine their passion for entrepreneurship with action and adventure.
Bowlin was soon pulled into the idea.
Since all three grew up in New England, they came up with the idea of combining clothes they love to wear with their love for the area's hidden treasures that have long been a part of their lives.
After spending their senior year creating content, developing marketing plans, launching social media platforms and building a website, their Only New England brand was born.
The website had a soft launch in late April, with the three -- now that they've graduated -- going full steam ahead with sales, marketing and production.
Schaefer, the VP of Marketing, creates the designs, Bowlin does the social media and McCormack acts as President. They do direct to garment printing via Scalable Press which allows them to print full photos of locations on their shirts.
What makes them stand out -- aside from promoting off-the-beaten-track locales -- is that the company is interactive, providing locations for consumers to visit and tying those locations to the clothes.
"This creates a bond between us and the consumer, and we believe that is a very special thing," said Bowlin.
"We're offering people an opportunity to get out and have a positive experience at these locations."
So far, top sellers include the Ocean Drive Cliffs Tee, which is inspired by a cliff jumping spot located in Newport, RI followed by the Goggles Ridgeline Tee (inspired by skiing and snowboarding in New Hampshire's White Mountains), and the Skipper Tee, which is part of the brand's summer collection.
Coming soon: A women’s line of apparel consisting of V-necks, Ts, and Racerback tank tops.
Only New England is also focusing their summer line on the number of sharks located off of the coast of Cape Cod. And, they'll soon be adding hats, tapestries, koozies, and stickers in the near future.
Go to www.onlynewengland.com for more information.
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