Brian Verne and Mike Eppich graduated from Oberlin and Rollins colleges, respectively, in 2009, and found themselves without job prospects. The two Shaker Heights High School alum decided to take matters into their own hands: They founded
(short for Connection), an apparel company that seeks to unite people through athletics.
This year, CnXn has produced athletic wear for Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Cleveland Central Catholic high schools, as well as youth football and cheerleading teams.
"The branding strategy involves using an area code logo, beginning with 216, to create a shared element for individuals who reside in the same city or geographic region," explains Verne, who was a starter on the Oberlin baseball team. (Eppich was a pitcher at Rollins.)
The idea comes from a trend of professional athletes to display their area code somewhere on their equipment or body. (Professional football player Reggie Bush can often be seen with the numbers 619 written into his eye black.)
Verne and Eppich have made giving back a major part of the CnXn business plan. "We take 15 percent of the profit from each sale and donate it back to student-athletes who reside in the area code that is on the apparel," Verne says. "The consumer will constantly be reminded that his purchase can have a positive impact on a young student athlete in his hometown."
Right now, Verne and Eppich are actively looking for additional seed money to produce all of the performance wear in the CnXn collection.
Source: Brian Verne
Writer: Diane DiPiero