“The whole city is kind of on fire right now with the first playoff series win in 20 years. It’s just really awesome right now. To be able to be part of it in some small way it’s really fantastic,” said co-owner of Where I’m From apparel Ryan Napier.
Napier and his business partner Andrew VanderLind started Where I’m From just five years ago as an online t-shirt shop. Now, with full local licensing for Columbus Blue Jackets apparel, they’re working harder than ever.
“We’re working hard to fulfill all of the need and demand,” said VanderLind. “People are getting so excited. [There are] a lot of newer fans, which is awesome to discover how the Blue Jackets fever is really taking over, so we’re working diligently with our design team to for fill that need.”
This was their first year inside the Jacket’s official team shop inside Nationwide Arena.
“The timing really worked out awesome. We’ve been talking to the Blue Jackets for about three years probably. It makes so much sense, we’re located here in Columbus. We’re from here,” Napier added.
This season there are two racks of Where I’m From clothing inside the shop. For next year, they’re planning for a bigger, better, full wall display, but right now, it’s all about planning for the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“[We were] actually just having a conversation with the managers of the store here— talking about what’s been selling, what they’re hearing, some different concepts, so we’re going to be working over the next couple of days to really come up with some new awesome things for them for the next series,” Napier said.
“A lot of it is to celebrate the city and the accomplishment of the Blue Jackets,” VanderLind added. “Going this far is awesome, but they’re not done yet. I think that’s going to be a slight hint but… we’ll see… more to come.”
All of the Where I’m From apparel is designed and printed in Columbus. Napier and VanderLind also live here— they say that’s part of their appeal and success.
“This is actually the most popular shirt right here. It incorporates Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, 614. That’s what really does great. When you tie it into the city and connected to the people themselves— it’s different than just slapping a logo on a shirt that you can get from a national brand. We’re Where I’m From. We’re located here, and that’s what’s important to us and what we’ve seen that’s really sold awesome,” Napier explained.
“Another big thing that we’re really proud of is that all of our apparel is made in America,” VanderLind added. “It’s definitely not something you see very frequently around, and we’re very proud of that. It’s not as cheap as it could be, but it’s definitely part of the brand Where I’m From having everything made here in America is a big deal for us.”