Cincinnati-Based BlaCk OWned Secures Licensing Deal With University Of Cincinnati For Exclusive Apparel Line
An apparel company rooted in Cincinnati, drawing inspiration from the founders’ upbringing in Cincinnati’s urban neighborhoods and his collegiate experience at a predominantly white university, is having a full-circle moment after securing a licensing partnership with the University of Cincinnati.
Cameron Means launched his apparel company BlaCk OWned in Cincinnati in 2011. With love for his city in mind, Means discovered that “BlackOwned energy” is needed in all communities across America.
“Our brand thrives at the intersection of Fashion and Black Excellence,” Means says.
“Our Mission is to promote Black Ownership while challenging societal inequities through our garments and storytelling,” states the website.
Early this month, BlaCk OWned Outerwear and the University of Cincinnati announced a partnership that gives BlaCk OWned the rights to produce unique apparel with the University’s brand for sale to the Cincinnati community. The five-piece collegiate collection includes a varsity jacket, a varsity crew neck sweatshirt, a jogger/short combo, and two graphic T-shirts.
View this post on Instagram
The items are coming just in time for the University of Cincinnati’s homecoming next month and align with Means’ vision for the Black community.
‘Since 2011 BlaCk OWned has been a vision board for the Black Cincinnati community,’ he TELLS BLACK ENTERPRISE. ‘We didn’t just tell people Black businesses were essential, we want to show them, even remind them.’
Located in the heart of Cincinnati’s downtown district on 822 Elm Street, BlaCk OWned is proof of how serving as a resource to your community builds security within the culture.
“With a name like BlaCk OWned, there’s no holding back. It’s progressive,” Means shares. “As a result, we have become a big part of the weaving in that the Black community is establishing in Cincinnati.”
Now, with the University of Cincinnati behind him, Means is ready to expand his brand’s reach and show the world that ownership is an option for the Black community. With a five-year deal in place, Means notes the time he has to perfect a collection he already believes is some of his best work yet.
‘From a design standpoint we are preparing to deliver our best capsule yet,’ Means declared.
“What makes this partnership unique is that it’s a five-year partnership which allows us to build on the opportunity for years to come,” Means says.
Major brand partnerships are nothing new for BlaCk OWned. The brand has secured licensing deals with the Cincinnati Bengals, FC Cincinnati, BET, and now The University of Cincinnati.
View this post on Instagram
With Means being all about pouring into the Black community, he offers some advice to other entrepreneurs looking to scale in partnerships.
‘Relationships are important to have, and don’t be afraid to ask,’ he says. ‘We’re in business to take risks and asking is usually the lesser of all risks.’
“It’s also important to go to the company you would like to collaborate with a plan. Show them that you are capable of producing a quality project using your resources that will add value to their brand and yours. It could also be beneficial to get a few scaling businesses on the résumé before going for a big brand name. Once you have the contract, always deliver,” says Means.
Meanwhile, the University of Cincinnati is expressing its pride and excitement with the partnership and how it will connect with the local community in new ways.
“We are very intentional in the companies we grant a license to manufacture and distribute products with the University’s brand, and this is a unique opportunity to work with a local company that produces high-quality apparel with unique designs inspired to connect with the community and celebrate their pride and passion for Cincinnati,” Martin Ludwig, associate vice president for Trademark Licensing at the University of Cincinnati said.