By Douglas Miller
From Maryland flag scarves to phone cases and coozies, Route One Apparel’s products can be found all around campus and throughout the rest of the state.
The Internet-based apparel company started in Nov. 2010 when owner Ali Von Paris lost her job at the Thirsty Turtle, a College Park bar. Then a student, she decided to create jerseys with the phrase “Turtle Survivor” emblazoned on the front.
The sale of this item took off around College Park and this initial success helped support Paris’s early business ventures with Route One Apparel, according to employee Dan Smith, a senior marketing major.
The company doesn’t operate within their own stores, but they operate from an e-commerce platform at routeoneapparel.com.
“All transactions are either made online or in person at sales events that are held in plenty of different locations,” Smith said. The company frequently sets up at bars, festivals, concerts and other venues.
“We promote the company on many different social media platforms, and this is definitely the biggest part of our marketing efforts,” he said.
Even without a physical store, the local business is a major source of employment for Maryland students. They have ‘Street Teams’ that focus on sales and marketing, along with design teams that create the looks displayed on the various products.
“As a marketing major, I thought it would be important to work somewhere that allows me to be creative and implement marketing/sales strategies for a fun startup company,” Smith said.
Route One Apparel’s small and family-oriented feel makes it fun for students to get involved. The company and its environment create many lasting memories for the people involved, according to Smith.
“My favorite memory was Homecoming last year, when we went to all the different tailgate sports and were giving out products and coupons,” Smith said. “It was a great way to interact with potential consumers, Maryland fans, and my co-workers.
The company still operates out of College Park and gives back to the school that inspires many of its product designs.
“Route One put together a raffle basket for a Maryland Wishes, University of Maryland’s chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Mid Atlantic, basketball tournament,” Smith said.