UB student turns ambition into clothing company


Partially Normal Clothing Company started off as a joke, but soon turned into a business.

UB student Brendan Cox, a junior economics major, his brother Evan Cox, and Ryan Thompson, an integrated marketing communications major at John Carroll University, were hanging out when they thought of starting their own business. The idea of starting a clothing company was a conversation over winter break that later turned into reality.

“We were honestly joking around. We didn’t want to go back to school and I just said I really just want a T-shirt company,” Thompson said. “I’ve always wanted one and that’s literally how it started.”

The friends decided they were going to follow this dream. They brainstormed possible brand names and put different words together until they finally came up with a name they liked – Partially Normal Clothing Company.

The company is currently selling one T-shirt design and one hat design because they are popular products.

“T-shirts are a good way to do what we’re doing because they’re easy to get a whole bunch of them going at once,” Evan Cox said.

They also liked the idea of a T-shirt because it provides a large canvas with an endless possibility for designs on the front or back of the shirt.

“You can’t really put big artwork on other things, except for T-shirts and sweatshirts, so that’ll be mostly what we design,” Brendan Cox said.

As of right now, the company is selling to local customers: fellow college students, friends and people they know. However, all three members of the company are hoping to reach a larger audience.

The team wants to build their company up as much as they can, which they are working toward by marketing and networking on Instagram and Twitter.

They are open to hiring more people in the future to join their company and hope to have other artists create their next design.

The company is currently holding a Doodle competition for an artist to create a T-shirt design or drawing that could potentially be featured on their next shirt.

When they find a design that works for their brand, they will produce the designed shirt and feature the artist on their website. As they discover more artists through the contest, they will continue to feature more and more people on the site and produce more designs for their line.

“We don’t want it to be like we pay an artist to design something and then you never hear about it,” Brendan said. “We have the artist, that’s their shirt and they’ll get paid per shirt that is sold with their design. The artist will get full credit and have a featured page on our website.”

The three men collaborated on the first design. Each of them threw in ideas for what the image on the shirt should be. They finally agreed on a design and Brendan got to work drawing it out.

“Brendan was the one to draw it, and he drew it all in pencil, and then we scanned it and digitally rendered it in Photoshop, making it something that was printable,” Evan said.

The brothers met Thompson in high school. Brendan and Thompson were on their high school basketball team together for four years. Through that, they became friends and, later on, business partners.

Even though Thompson lives in Ohio, the distance does not seem to be a problem for the company so far. The team splits the responsibilities, so although Thompson is not in Buffalo, he is still an active member in the company.

“Ryan does the accounting stuff and marketing online and all the online stuff can be done no matter where you are,” Brendan said.

None of the members necessarily see themselves being in the clothing industry forever, but they do want to expand their business as much as possible.

The company plans on expanding on the products that they offer, potentially offering sweatshirt designs and socks in the future.

Miranda Albini is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com