“When I wear the shirts out, people will come up to me and ask where I got it,” he says. “Then I have to say that I actually own the company, and it’s embarrassing.”
Luckily for Kubinski, the T-shirt line, which offers a multitude of ways to declare your love for Cleveland, sells itself. (And it doesn’t hurt that his business partner, Jeff Rees, works full time as a salesman.)
CLE Clothing Co.’s biggest seller, “Browns Love,” replaces a heart with a football helmet, and the company’s “Heart of It All” shirt is frequently sold out. One offering a nostalgic nod to the Richfield Coliseum has also struck a chord with customers.
Kubinski and Rees see CLE Clothing Co. as “sort of a hobby — a creative outlet for weekends and nights.” The two 29-year-olds came up with the name for the company last year after seeing CLE on airport luggage tickets and started brainstorming.
“We sit around drinking beers or go to bars to come up with ideas,” Kubinski says. “I write everything down — even on coasters. I have a nice collection of those.”
After Kubinski, who works as a graphic designer, comes up with a basic layout, he and Rees post their creations to their MySpace page. There, they let fans vote and comment on their favorites with the goal of printing a new shirt each month.
“The city is actually on the verge of becoming something really cool,” Kubinski says. “We want to be a part of that. We want to spread Cleveland pride one T-shirt at a time.”
To purchase CLE Clothing Co. T-shirts, visit cleclothing.bigcartel.com.