UMD graduate's senior project becomes clothing business

By KBJR News 1

March 3, 2014 Updated Mar 6, 2014 at 7:31 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - For any student sick of school, this just might be your inspiration. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth has found his senior project is paying off, quite literally.

Spencer Johnson is the creator of Sota Clothing, a one–man business dedicated to the place Johnson calls home, selling t–shirts and pint glasses showcasing the last part of the state's name.

"We've pretty much sold to every state so far," said Johnson.

Johnson estimates that he's sold more than 2,500 of his products on his website so far and says about 75-percent of his sales come from Minnesota.

"I think people just like to represent where they're from," said Johnson, "Especially when you're from the Midwest, saying you can survive a winter and you're not out in like 70 degree weather every day."

The concept for Sota Clothing began at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

"It was Senior Design Studio Two. We had to come up with a company and do all the branding," said Johnson of the beginning stages of his design, "Then after presenting it, that's when people asked if I was making them."

UMD graphic design professor, Rob Wittig, was Johnson's Senior Design Studio Two professor.

"We're really proud of him," said Wittig, "I do remember him showing some of the earlier versions of some of the little trailer videos that he'd made in class and all the [student's] eyes got big and you could tell just looking around the class that, [they thought] 'oh this is really strong work.'"

Johnson says eventually he'd like to sell his photography on the site.

If you'd like to check out Sota Clothing, click here.

Jennifer Austin
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