In the summer of 2018, an Ohio State student set a goal to be his own boss someday. Almost a year later, he is the CEO of his own retail company.
Chad Porter, a second-year in economics, founded a high-end retail establishment, Chvd Justin, in mid-February. This week, he released his first product, the “wearpack,” a bag that can be worn as a backpack, vest or detachable pouch.
Porter said he was inspired to create the wearpack after seeing a need on campus for bags that were functional as well as stylish. The versatility of the bag offers customers a way to “comfortably wear whatever you need,” Porter said.
Reflecting on his yearlong journey of building his business, Porter said he never thought he would be designing accessories.
“I had no prior design experience,” Porter said. “After I knew I wanted to create [the wearpack], I had to teach myself how to design, sew, embroider and a bunch of other stuff that came along with this.”
Porter said he spent five months in Jones Tower hand-stitching seven prototypes before coming to his final design of the wearpack. After finalizing the design, Porter sought out creative help from a fellow student, Mamadou Djigo.
“I’ve always respected [Djigo’s] opinion and style, so I wanted to bring him on as creative director of the brand,” Porter said.
Djigo, a third-year in architecture, said he originally wanted to help support Porter’s brand, but was excited to come on the team as creative director. He said he plans to bring his vision and design skills to the table going forward with the brand.
This first release is only the beginning for the wearpack. Porter said he plans to release several versions of the bag in the future with more advanced designs.
The brand will also offer clothing in the future with the help of Djigo, which will spark the establishment of a brick-and-mortar Chvd Justin store.
With a fashion minor, Djigo said this experience will help him as he breaks into the fashion industry after school.
To legitimize his business and protect his designs, Porter recently received his business license and is in the process of getting the wearpack patented. Porter is also working with a manufacturer to begin mass-producing the products.
Porter said this process has been a learning experience, but is overall rewarding.
“I’m happy I’m doing what I said I was going to do,” Porter said.
The brand can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @chvdjustin.