OHIO Business Major Would Not Wait for Graduation< < Back to
While many college students worry about how to pay tuition and where they will land a job when they graduate, Ohio University business major Ethan Hodson found a way around those problems: He is building a fashion business even before getting his diploma.
There is something unique about Ohio University that allows so many creative individuals to thrive during their four years. Athens, Ohio is not a big city with Fortune 500 companies on each block, but some find it is easier to stand out where the competition is thinner.
In Athens, the sense of community is sometimes defined by professors who own local businesses, perform at open-mic nights or the students who anchor the local news or deejay at parties.
Even the clothes worn by students are sometimes made by their friends in their apartments and that is the reality for Hodson.
A humble beginning
Hodson had been dreaming of starting his own business since high school. After two months of rough drafts and countless sketches, he created the logo for “RAMBL,” his prospective clothing brand.
He started with only 25 sweatshirts, 20 hats, 14 T-shirts and eight pairs of joggers. He embroidered the logo on each article of clothing and lent them to friends as a test run during High Fest, an Athens’ block party during the spring semester.
Since his start in March of 2019, Hodson and RAMBL have made over 500 sales, including custom orders for friends and giveaway competitions on social media.
Outside of Athens, he has participated in pop-up shops in Columbus, Ohio by selling clothes during intermissions of concerts.
“I’ve done three total this fall and it’s mainly for me to sell and give out free product to a new audience in Columbus, and also to network and meet new people interested in this kind of stuff,” Hodson said.
Building a creative empire
Networking by word-of-mouth and social media are some of the most successful strategies for college students and millennials in general. Athens is home to a close-knit community of like-minded college students who are constantly networking, whether they realize it or not.
Along with networking, Hodson’s business classes have been preparing him for this career.
“I think college was helpful the first couple years because it allowed me to do what I want to do every single day for the first time and go through experiences that I chose for myself,” he said.
Taking business classes and extracurricular activities such as creating a website and accumulating equipment like sewing and embroidery machines have given Hodson the confidence to take his ideas to the next level, but he said his business is now getting in the way of his coursework.
“The most challenging thing has definitely been balancing school and the business because I’m putting RAMBL over school and class most of the time but I still want to graduate in May,” he said. “While Athens has been a great help with spreading the word, getting product out and having the support of friends, I would now say school is holding me back since I know what kind of business I want to build.”
“I’m inspired by everything”
Hodson is beginning to expand RAMBL into a behind-the-scenes creative partner helping clients take the next step into the digital world — still a clothing brand but offering other services as well.
The services offered by RAMBL are brand identity, creative direction, artist management and website design and development.
Hodson’s friends continue to model clothing for him and help promote his brand by sharing on social media and helping produce photo and video.
As the first chapter of RAMBL comes to an end, Hodson said he plans to move back to Philadelphia after graduation and further develop RAMBL with a team of creative friends.