By KC Longley
Starting in November, senior and entrepreneur Tyler Hobel will have his own space in Southpark Mall dedicated to his business, Bloom Clothing Company, after winning retail space rent-free for six months.
A fourth year student majoring in Organizational Leadership, Hobel has owned Bloom for a little over a year. Opening a business while in college wasn’t the plan for the soon-to-be spring graduate, but Hobel isn’t one to turn down a challenge.
“When I was driving home from one of those pain in the butt days, I saw a ‘Save the Bees’ sticker,” Hobel said.
When he looked up the meaning of the sticker, he found the Honeybee Conservancy, a non-profit organization that works to sustain the honeybee population, and he was instantly hooked.
The next morning, on July 25, Hobel came up with the concept of a clothing company where proceeds went back to the Honeybee Conservancy. Every minute of the next two days consisted of planning the company he would create. While at home in the evenings, Hobel contacted people for help and arranged who he could work with to make it happen. Two days later, Bloom officially launched.
“I knew I wanted to symbolize flowers coming up and a rebirth of bees, but in a relating to flowers way, because I really like floral patterns,” Hobel said, explaining how he chose the business name.
In those 48 hours, Hobel spent about $2,000 on his initial investment and under $200 on the business license. Starting simple, the first product was a t-shirt with the brand logo, offered in three colors from sizes small to extra-large.
“I dropped half of my savings on the clothing. I dropped money on the business license, trademarking the name in Ohio and then in the country,” Hobel said.
Now, a year later, Bloom offers not only multiple clothing options but products like bath bombs, lotions, bracelets and stickers as well. His latest products are a cropped hoodie and a floral long sleeve shirt.
The growth of his business inspired Hobel to apply for the Battle of the Pop-Up, a contest to give local entrepreneurs the chance to showcase their business rent-free for six months from Nov. 1 through April 30 of 2019 at a booth in the Southpark Mall. Hobel decided to give it a shot and applied on a whim.
In early July, Hobel found out he was in the running and would need to come in for an interview.
When Hobel finally got his chance to pitch his business, he was met with a panel of individuals sitting in massive office chairs, which Hobel described as “intimidating.”
The interview proceeded “Shark Tank” style with Hobel showcasing his products with wooden crates — the way he does when he does pop-up shops throughout Cleveland.
Hobel passed his product around and explained what each item meant and the work that went into it. He told them what was unique about his product and what would separate him from other businesses in the mall.
As the interview progressed, they asked Hobel if he would be interested in a storefront instead of a booth. Like any good businessman, without knowing if he could make that happen, Hobel said yes, making up reasons why it would work out. Unfortunately, due to other competitive bids, Hobel was not offered a storefront, but in the end won what he originally applied for.
About a week later, Hobel got the call informing him that he was a winner and would be receiving a 9×6 booth in Southpark Mall. In addition to the booth, Hobel was paired with two designers to help him prepare for opening in November.
After his first day of business on Nov. 1, the grand opening of Bloom in Southpark Mall will be Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4.
“I am going to try and get it as packed as possible,” Hobel said, sharing that his grand opening will have many sales and giveaways.
After a year of hard work, Hobel is hitting goals he didn’t expect to hit until at least 2019, including the ability to handle international orders due to the high volume of requests. He can now ship to 240 countries, including the U.S. and territories. Before this month, Hobel could only ship to 48 states within the U.S.
“You’re stopping your own success if you don’t do it,” Hobel said.
Hobel gets just as excited when someone orders one shirt as opposed to multiple. Hobel mentioned that at one of his pop-up shops, a little boy got excited over a Bloom sticker.
“Someone got excited about something that was created out of my head, and that’s the exciting part,” Hobel said.
Whether it is selling small stickers for $2, being able to handle international orders, or seeing a picture of a random stranger from miles away wearing one of his products, Hobel finds joy in any form of growth in his business.
Bloom has excelled farther than Hobel thought it would by this point. However, that doesn’t mean Hobel has lost the spark of determination he had at the beginning of this journey.
“Everyone can say they’re passionate about something, but the word is kind of saturated, and it’s lost its meaning. I’m passionate about Bloom, but there is something different—I have a need for it,” Hobel said. “I don’t see it happening any other way. This is something that has bloomed, and I need it to take off.”