It all started with a hoodie.
Clothing company Ohio Against the World got its start when owner Floyd Johnson — aka Floyd From Ohio — wore a hoodie he made himself in downtown Cincinnati one Friday night about five years ago.
It caught people’s attention, so Floyd said he began producing more and more.
Floyd described the slogan as “a battle cry for the underdog.”
When the Buckeyes were underdogs in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama on Jan. 1, a fan in the stands was shown on the screen wearing one of OATW’s hoodies after a sack by Ohio State senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
“The message quickly spread and the company continued to grow. That’s what brought us here to this day with the momentum of the OSU game,” Floyd said.
Floyd is a Cincinnati native who wanted to relocate to New York, but he couldn’t afford school and didn’t have enough experience for the jobs he wanted, he said.
“I stayed in Cincinnati and continued to build a brand,” Floyd said. “This was a way for me to demonstrate my ability in marketing and design, but also to inspire other people.”
Brand manager James Sutton III said OATW “is about following your dreams without having to go outside your home. It’s about creating opportunity.”
Opportunity didn’t knock on New Year’s Day, though. It pounded.
“We were surprised,” Sutton said.
“We had to be resourceful because it happened on Jan. 1, which is still the holiday, so we couldn’t get back up to full operating capacity until Monday (Jan. 5). It affected our turnaround time, but we buckled down and got through it.”
Floyd said the brand’s website has seen a “dramatic” increase in visitors since the game.
The company sells T-shirts, hoodies and hats with the “Ohio Against the World” slogan capitalized and in bold. Shirts are about $30, hoodies are about $50 and hats are $40, on average.
The company also rolled out a new limited edition gray and black hoodie and a scarlet and gray raglan shirt on Monday to commemorate the National Championship game.
Their website background is what Floyd described as “a curation of artists, musicians, students, adults that we thought were good representations of our brand — people that weren’t afraid to live out loud.”
One of the musicians pictured is Cincinnati-based rapper Austin Puckett.
“It’s not just a clothing brand, it’s a lifestyle brand,” Puckett said. “I think it will definitely become more than just T-shirts at the moment … the people who make it are way more than just T-shirt makers.”
Meanwhile, it’s been consumer interest that’s taken the brand to new heights.
“The support has grown phenomenally,” Floyd said. “But I’m always aware of those that participated and encouraged me in my journey.
“Without everyone participating and purchasing a shirt, I wouldn’t be where I am at today.”